The Inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge

Logic may dictate that October is the month for a horror movie challenge, but, fortunately, horror films are scary no matter the month. With classes letting out, and temperatures rising, what better way to end that long summer day than cooling off with an ice-cold horror flick? And what better to go with a horror movie than a side of sci-fi?

Enter the inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge.

The month of June is now dedicated to all things that go bump in the night, plus those films that ask the question, “are we alone”? Better yet, Cinefessions hopes you join along for the fun!

Please note that the inspiration for this idea comes straight from the DVDTalk Forum’sOctober Horror Movie Challenge” and “Summer Sci-Fi Challenge”. I am essentially trying to take those two challenges, add to them, combine them, and move them to June.

Here are the official rules of the challenge:

GENERAL
-Participants earn points based on the number of horror and sci-fi films/TV episodes they watch in the month of June.
-The inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge runs from 12:00 am on June 1, 2012 until 11:59 pm on June 30, 2012.
-The Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge only allows participants who can be truthful. It runs on the age-old honor system, and “cheating” can ruin the fun for everyone, so only participants who can follow the guidelines are asked to participate.

LISTS
-Because Cinefessions does not have a convenient message board, all participants will be required to create a Tumblr, WordPress, or Blogger blog to share his or her list.
-If a participant already has a blog of some sort, they should create a new blog post entitled “Inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge – [Username’s] List”. For example, my blog post would be “Inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge – Psymin’s List”.
-Once the participant has created this post, he or she will edit that ONE POST with updates to the list as the month progresses. This is to keep everything clear and to the point.
-Lists should be numbered. Each film and TV episode worth 1 point (explained below) should receive its own line and number. For 30-minute TV episodes or short films, you should combine as many as required for one point onto one line and give them all one number. A basic example list might look like this:

  1. The Mist
  2. Friday the 13th
  3. The Twilight Zone, S1E1/The Twilight Zone, S1E2
  4. Short Film 1 (30 mins)/Short Film 2 (10 mins)/Short Film 3 (20 mins)
  5. Star Wars Episode IV

-All participants should send a link to their lists to Cinefessions via email (psymin1[at]yahoo[dot]com), through twitter (@psymin1), or by leaving a comment with the URL here.
-The only requirements for the lists are the titles and numbers. I also ask that participants denote when a film is following the weekly theme for ease of scoring. Participants should feel free to spice up his or her lists however they want, including links, reviews, scores, denoting first time views, and so on.
-It is also important that all participants attempting to complete the checklist include the checklist in that same blog post.

SCORING
-Each feature length film (60 minutes or longer) is worth 1 point.
-Each 30-minute TV show (original airtime with commercials, not actual runtime) is worth 0.5 points. Two 30-minute TV episodes, or one 60-minute TV episode, is worth 1 point.
-60 minutes of short films equal 1 point.
-Commentary tracks count the same way if they are commentaries on horror or sci-fi films. Other special features, however, do not count for this challenge.
-Documentaries about horror and sci-fi films count the same way.
-Every sub-genre of horror and sci-fi counts. Use your best discretion, check IMDB, or ask if you’re uncertain if a specific film or TV episode should be included.
-Horror themed and sci-fi themed episodes of TV series count, even if the series isn’t normally a horror or sci-fi program (for example: a ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episode of The Simpsons).

ADDITIONAL SCORING
-Each participant is allowed 3 Wild Cards. These are for films that just miss the horror or sci-fi genres. Use your best discretion.
-Watching films that fall into the weekly themes (explained below) count double for that week (example: 1 feature length film would equal 2 points). This ONLY counts for feature length films, not TV episodes or short films equaling 60-minutes.
-Any participant that completes the checklist with no doubles (explained below) earns 30 bonus points.

WEEKLY THEMES
-Each of the 5 weeks that the challenge runs will have its own theme. Below is a breakdown of each “week” (credit to Wikipedia for most of the following descriptions):

Week One – 12:00 am on Friday, June 1, 2012 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 3, 2012:

  • Sci-Fi/Horror Films: Let’s kick off the Challenge right by combining both genres of the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge! Films that fit this theme should be a combination of both the science fiction and horror genres, not one or the other. (ex: The Thing, The Fly, Alien series)

Week Two – 12:00 am on Monday, June 4, 2012 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 10, 2012:

  • Slasher Films: Week 2 is dedicated to everyone’s favorite horror subgenre, the slasher film. Films that fit this theme usually have a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a number of victims in a graphic, violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe. (ex: Friday the 13th, Halloween, Black Christmas)

Week Three – 12:00 am on Monday, June 11, 2012 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 17, 2012:

  • Alien Invasion Films: Week 3 warns us of approaching evils from outer space. Films that fit this theme include movies where extraterrestrials invade Earth to exterminate or replace human life, enslave it under a system of colonialism, harvest humans for food, steal the planet’s resources, or simply just destroy the earth. (ex: War of the Worlds, Signs, The Day the Earth Stood Still)

Week Four – 12:00 am on Monday, June 18, 2012 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 24, 2012:

  • Creature Features: Week 4 attempts to combine horror and sci-fi yet again, and most will want to look toward the 1950s for some of the best examples. Films that fit this theme will have stories that center on a struggle between humans and one or more monsters, usually of the giant variety. Participants can also count the Universal’s monster movies in this theme, but not zombie or alien films. (ex: Godzilla, Dracula, Cloverfield)

Week Five – 12:00 am on Monday, June 25, 2012 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 30, 2012:

  • Pandemic Films: The Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. Films that fit this theme contain a highly lethal disease, usually man-made, that threaten or wipe out most of humanity in a massive plague. This includes, but is not restricted to, zombie films. (ex: Night of the Living Dead, Outbreak, Contagion)


CHECKLIST
-This checklist contains 30 items (one for each day of the challenge), and can only be filled in with feature length films. Participants should put an “X” into any item they complete on the checklist, and list the film after the fact (optional). No duplicate films allowed, meaning the checklist should contain 30 different films.

Example: -X- Hitchcock Film (Psycho, 1960)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film from each specific sub-genre:
— Comedic Horror (Film, Year)
— Comedic Sci-Fi (Film, Year)
Cyberpunk Film (Film, Year)
Dystopian Film (Film, Year)
Giallo Film (Film, Year)
Psychological Horror (Film, Year)
Space Opera (Film, Year)
Splatter Film/Gore Film/Torture Porn (Film, Year)
— Supernatural Horror/Ghost Film (Film, Year)
— Time Travel Film (Film, Year)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film that falls into each of the following years:
— 1900 – 1939 (Film, Year)
— 1940 – 1959 (Film, Year)
— 1960 – 1979 (Film, Year)
— 1980 – 1999 (Film, Year)
— 2000 – 2012 (Film, Year)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film that fits into the following categories:
— Watch a Documentary (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film Based on a Novel (Film, Year)
Watch a Film Based on a Video Game (Film, Year)
Watch a Film that Appears on the Video Nasties List (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that Contains an Evil Animal (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that Contains an Evil Child (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that Contains an Evil Doll/Puppet (Film, Year)
Watch a Film that is Currently in the Criterion Collection (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that is “Not Rated” or “Unrated” (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that is Rated “X” or “NC-17” (Film, Year)
Watch a Film that was Nominated for an Academy Award (Film, Year)
— Watch a Foreign Film with Subtitles (Film, Year)
— Watch an Animated Film (Film, Year)
Watch an Anthology Film (Film, Year)
— Watch a Remake or a Reboot (Film, Year)

WINNERS
-All lists must be finalized by 11:59 pm on July 2, 2012. The host – me, Branden of Cinefessions – will tally every list, and is the final judge on counts. Note that I am not eligible for prizes.
-The participant earning the most points – again, based on the honor system – wins the challenge.
-The participant who scores the most points will win…something at the end of the challenge. Note: Cinefessions is not wealthy, therefore the prizes will not be great. The real prize is spending the month watching great horror and sci-fi films.
-The participants with the second, third, and fourth most points (if applicable) will be put into a random drawing to win a separate, lesser prize. The winner of that prize will be randomly chosen.
-Again, the prizes will be very minor. This challenge is really just for the fun of trying it.

If you plan on joining in, please leave a comment here, or contact me on Twitter letting me know to expect the link to your list! The more people, the more fun to be had.

When discussing the challenge on twitter, use the #CSSC tag so that all participants can easily join the conversation.

Thanks for reading.

Frequently Asked Questions for the inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge:

  • Do I have to stick to the weekly themes or the checklist?
    No! The weekly themes and the checklists are just for additional fun. If you happen to watch a film that falls into one of the themes, it counts for double the points. If you fill in the entire checklist throughout the month, you score 30 bonus points when all is said and done. But, no one is required to stick to the weekly theme.
  • Can I fill in two checklist items with one film?
    No. This checklist – which is different than most DVDTalk checklists – cannot have duplicates. There should be 30 separate film that fill in the checklist in order to receive the bonus points.
  • Am I required to write a review of each film?
    Not at all. The only requirement on the list is that you list each film/TV episode you view. If you could add the date you viewed it, as well as some marking denoting whether or not it fits the weekly theme (in your opinion), that would be an added benefit.
  • What does the winner receive at the end of the month?
    The participant with the most points earns a small prize, to be decided by me later. Chances are it will be an Amazon Gift Card of some sort. The second, third, and fourth place contestants will be placed into a random drawing, and ONE of those three participants will also earn a prize, but of lesser value than the first place winner.
  •  Who has final say on all decisions of the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge?
    Me, Branden (psymin), will make all final decisions regarding whether a film counts for the weekly theme, the points awarded, and so on. This is all for fun, so I don’t expect any problems with this.
  • When is the final list due?
    The finalized lists are due by 11:59 pm on July 2, 2012. Whatever films are listed on everyone’s list are what count; no more, no less. Make sure you finalize everything by that time so you get credit for each film watched during the month.
  • Is Film X considered a Wild Card? Does Film Y fall into the weekly theme?
    Just ask me, and I’ll find out. If I don’t know off-hand, I’ll ask for a consensus opinion among the participants via twitter.
  • What is the twitter hashtag for this Challenge?
    #CSSC – the acronym for the Challenge. Use this to tag any posts that fit the challenge so everyone can find them, and they can breed some discussion.
  • How do I contact the host?
    You can find me on twitter @psymin1.

Official Participants:

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions

Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.