Four Times Survivor Was Like a Horror Film

In the wake of the ear bug that will haunt all of our nightmares for seasons to come, many in the Survivor community have compared the scenes of Jennifer with the bug in her ear to a horror film.


Which got me thinking, what other story lines in Survivor were reminiscent of a scary movie? Admittedly, I am not much of a horror fan, but the four below instances still managed to stand out. If there’s a horror buff in your life, perhaps this is the way you can get them to finally watch Survivor.

4. Outcasts Return From The Dead


The Outcast twist is like the I Know What You Did Last Summer of Survivor. The contestants have “killed” their tribe mates, only to have two return and kill them off one by one. Lil gets her revenge on Savage and then knocks out the rest of his cronies, while Burton is able to blindside Rupert and most of the Drakes that blindsided him. Sure, the scrappy survivors are able to eliminate one of their killers, but it’s the quiet one they underestimate that has the most blood on her hands.

And of course, it ends with the perfect Last Girl.

Sandra Is a Badass
Never say die.

3. Mike Skupin Kills Pig, Falls in Fire

For many years, Skupin was remembered as the guy who fell in the fire. Then he was briefly remembered as the guy who fell in the fire and came back and was very clumsy and thought he would win. Now it looks like he might be remembered for something we’re not going to discuss right now.

Back when Mike Skupin was merely the bombastic wannabe leader of the Kucha tribe, he decided he wanted to kill a pig for the tribe. And kill a pig he does. Not only that, but he smears the pig’s blood on his face. Now, for a vegetarian such as myself and newly relevant Kimmi Kappenberg, that’s almost enough of a horror film.

But then nature got its revenge. The Australian Outback did not take kindly to the unnecessary slaughter of its fauna, and happened to find a way to remove Mike. While tending to the campfire, smoke surrounded Skupin until he passed out, falling in and severely burning his hands. He became the first medical evacuation in Survivor. And though Andy has prophesied that Tai Trang will fall victim to The Happening, it was Skupin who fell first.

2. The Saga of Brandon Hantz


The absolute horror story that is Brandon Hantz started as more of a quiet thriller than a slasher flick. It’s one of those horror films that tries to be about more than jump scares: a thinker, if you will. The first chapter in the Brandon Hantz tale features subtext about the patriarchy and fragile masculinity. It was so successful in creeping people out that a sequel was green lit. But as is the case with many sequels, they went too broad the second time around. Any message was lost with the monster going bigger and louder. Though the climax of this horror story certainly frightened many, it was clear that the audiences wanted no more. Production has stalled indefinitely on the franchise.

1. Crazy Matthew Von Ertfelda

Matt von Ertfelda with machete

I’ve mentioned this storyline before  in a similar context, but it’s worth discussing again. Because Matt really comes across as the killer in some sort of found-footage documentary of people stranded in the Amazon. Even early on, before the gendered tribes were swapped, Matt wanted to make sure the eyeballs didn’t go to waste on a fish the men had caught, horrifying his tribe mates as he pops an eyeball into his mouth. But that was just the beginning.

After the merge, everyone starts to get a little antsy. Sure, some of that is due to the length of the game, but the real reason people are nervous is  because of Matt and his machete, which he seems to sharpen for hours on end.

Rob Cesternino talking about Matt and the machete

Production plays up the horror movie aspect of this by the perfect score each time Matt sharpens the machete. Deena even refers to exercising a 5150, a California statute regarding someone being a danger to themselves or others. And then of course is the classic articulate serial killer vibe Matt gives off. His mom scolds him for being too formal, he speaks like an alien trying to learn about our world, and he’s a foodie.

But it all comes back to the machete.

"Matts creepy. He's creepy"
“Matt’s creepy. He’s creepy”