The Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge

The weather is warming up, and classes are finally letting out, which can mean only one thing: it’s time for the return of the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge! Those that joined in last year will be familiar with this challenge, but we’re hoping to bring in a lot of new faces this year, with more prizes, more points to be earned, and more fun to be had all around.

The Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge is all about having a good time with some friends while watching as much horror and science fiction during the month of June that one can stomach. The best part about the whole thing is that even if you plan on only watching a few sci-fi or horror films during the month, you are still invited to join in and, best of all, win some awesome prizes! Unlike last year, Cinefessions has been able to gather up some giveaway material, and the big prize this year (if the challenge garners at least 25 participants) will be a giveaway of the winner’s choice to the best cult horror and sci-fi distributors out there, Scream Factory! You can find out the details on the giveaways below.

If you are interested in the final results from last year’s challenge, take a look here. The main objective of this challenge is to have fun, and though there are some great prizes this year, it’s still really about just having a good time with our favorite genres.

This challenge is nothing without its participants, though, and that is where you come in. Though the official rules below may look daunting, I can assure you this is just for fun, and is really easy to join in on. All you need is a blog of some sort to post your list (Tumblr works great and is quick to set-up), and the ability and dedication to update that blog post throughout the month of June with the movies that you watch. Your list can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them, I just ask that they have the titles of the film, are numbered, and list the date you viewed said movie so I can easily add up the scores throughout the month. These three features will make it infinitely easier for me to keep track of the Challenge throughout the month of June.

Interested in joining? Great! Take a look at the rules below, which have been added upon and improved since last year, and then follow me on twitter, email me, or leave a comment below and let me know to expect the link to your list. Take a look at my list from last year to see a simple version of how your list could look. As the rules state, though, this is all about being truthful, and anyone that cannot abide by the honor system is asked to stay out of the Challenge as it will ruin the fun for everyone involved.

Please also 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 Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge runs from 12:00 am on June 1, 2013 until 11:59 pm on June 30, 2013.
-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 message board, all participants are required to create a Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, or other blog to share his or her list.
 If the user can make a Facebook note work for this, that would be acceptable as well. It just needs to be editable over the span of the month.
-If a participant already has a blog of some sort (or once they create a new blog), they need to create a new blog post entitled “Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge – [Username’s] List”. For example, my blog post would be “Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge – Branden’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 the 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 in order to qualify for the bonus points at the end of the month.

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 unless they are feature-length documentaries in their own right (for example: Rob Zombie’s Halloween making-of feature, which runs over 3-hours in length).
-Documentaries about horror and sci-fi films count the same way.
-Every sub-genre of horror and sci-fi counts in the challenge. Participants should use their best discretion, check IMDB, or ask me if uncertain about a specific film or TV episode’s eligibility.
-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).
New this Year: This time around, TV episodes will count toward the weekly theme bonus. Short films will also count, as 60-minutes spent with short films, television episodes, or a feature-length film is still 60-minutes well spent. This means that two 30-minute television episodes, or 60-minutes worth of short film viewing, would equal two points if it fits into the weekly theme.
-Any participant that completes the checklist with no doubles (explained below) earns 30 bonus points.
New this Year: There are three optional items (denoted as such) on this year’s checklist. If the participant completes these three items, which will be more time-consuming and/or difficult than the regular items, 15 additional bonus points will be awarded.
New this Year: Each of the four weekly themes this year will have a corresponding “Featured Film”. If this film is viewed during that week, it counts for 3 total points (one for watching, one for following the theme, and one for watching the specially selected film).

WEEKLY THEMES
-Each of the 4 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 Saturday, June 1, 2013 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 9, 2013:

When Science Screams – The Sci-Fi/Horror Genre: Much like last year, we kick off this year’s festivities by combining both genres of the challenge into one. This week’s theme is about all those movies that mix horror with science fiction. (ex: The Thing, Resident Evil, Alien series)
Humanoids from the Deep Week One’s Featured Film is Humanoids from the Deep (1980). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue.

Week Two – 12:00 am on Monday, June 10, 2013 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 16, 2013:

The Screaming Earth – The Disaster Genre: This week’s theme is about as open-ended as one can get: the disaster film. This can be any type of disaster film: pandemic, alien invasion, zombie, natural disasters, accidents, and so on. Filmsite.org has a wonderful page for all things Disaster film, so check it out for any questions. (ex: The Poseidon Adventure, The Quiet Earth, Doomsday)
Stake Land Week Two’s Featured Film is Stake Land (2010). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue.

Week Three – 12:00 am on Monday, June 17, 2013 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 23, 2013:

Battle of the Decades – The 1970s and 1980s: There was arguably no better time to be a horror or science fiction fan than the 1970s and 1980s, and that’s what this week’s theme hopes to relive. Any horror or science fiction released in these two decades is fair game. It allows us to relive what some might call the Golden Age of these great genres!  (ex: THX 1138HalloweenStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
Westworld Week Three’s Featured Film is Westworld (1973). It is available on Amazon’s Instant Video service.

Week Four – 12:00 am on Monday, June 24, 2013 to 11:59 pm on Monday, June 30, 2013:

The Shaky Cam Killed Us All – The Found Footage Genre: The final week of the challenge has what will certainly be the most controversial theme on the list because of the sheer divisiveness of the found footage genre. Movies and television programs that fit into this theme have all or major parts of the film presented as if recovered, real footage from usually dead or lost protagonists. If the film wants the viewer to believe that they are watching a home video instead of a movie with a script, actors, and props, it fits into this week’s theme. (ex: The BayParanormal ActivityCannibal Holocaust)
Atrocious Week Four’s Featured Film is Atrocious (2010). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue.


CHECKLIST
-This checklist contains 30 items (one for each day of the challenge), and can only be filled in with feature length films. This year also has 3 additional, optional items that can be completed for 15 extra bonus points. Participants should put an “X” into any item they complete on the checklist, and list the film after the fact. There are no duplicate films allowed, which means there should be 30 different films on the checklist (or >37 films and 1 book for those completing the optional checklist).

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

Watch a sci-fi or horror film from each specific sub-genre:
Cyberpunk Film (Film, Year)
Dystopian Film (Film, Year)
Italian Giallo Film (Film, Year)
Psychological Horror (Film, Year)
Slasher Film (Film, Year)
Space Opera (Film, Year)
Splatter Film/Gore Film/Torture Porn (Film, Year)
Supernatural Horror/Ghost Film (Film, Year)
Vampire Film (Film, Year)
Zombie Film (Film, Year)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film that stars one of the following actors:
Bruce Campbell (Film, Year)
Christopher Lee (Film, Year)
Sigourney Weaver (Film, Year)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Film, Year)
Michelle Rodriguez or Donald Sutherland (Film, Year)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film that fits into the following categories:
— Watch a Documentary (Film, Year)
Watch a Hammer Horror Film (Film, Year)
— Watch/Listen to a Film’s Commentary Track (Film, Year)
Watch a Film that is on Scott Weinberg’s Top 100 Sci-Fi Films List (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film Directed by Uwe Boll, Ed Wood or Herschell Gordon Lewis (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that Contains a Killer Animal (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 on Roger Ebert’s Great Movies List (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film in 3D, or One Originally Released in 3D (Film, Year)
Watch a Film on the BFI 100 European Horror Films List (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)

Optional (for an additional 15 bonus points):
— Complete a Horror or Sci-Fi Film Series with at Least Six (6) Entries
………………..— Film One (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Two (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Three (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Four (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Five (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Six (Film, Year)
— Watch a Movie in Theatres (Film, Year)
— Read a Book Based On, or Inspired By a Horror or Sci-Film, or a Book About the Horror or Sci-Fi Genres (Book, Author)

WINNERS
-All lists must be finalized by 11:59 pm on July 3, 2013. The host – me, Branden of Cinefessions – will tally every list, and is the final judge on counts.
-The participant earning the most points – again, based on the honor system – wins the challenge.
-The participant who scores the most points will win a prize (or prizes) at the end of the challenge. This year, Cinefessions has acquired multiple, random digital copies of films to give away, plus Amazon Gift Cards. Note:  The real prize is spending the month watching great horror and sci-fi films.
-The participants with the second, third, fourth, and fifth 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.
New this Year: If the Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge garners more than 25 participants, Cinefessions will give away a Blu-ray or DVD release of the winner’s choice from the cult horror line, Scream Factory (up to a $30 value)! If we have more than 40 participants, Cinefessions will award the winner a $40 Amazon Gift Card, plus a release of the winner’s choice from Scream Factory (up to a $30 value)!
New this Year: Every participant will be entered in to a random drawing to win misc. digital copies of films that Cinefessions has acquired! Participants must have at least one entry on their final list to be entered into this drawing.
New this Year: Be on the lookout for random prize drawings throughout the whole challenge! You never know when a new DVD or Blu-ray might go up as a prize, so be sure to follow @psymin1 on twitter for the latest updates during the Challenge.

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 participants, the more fun this will be!

When discussing the challenge on twitter, use the #CSSC2 tag so that all participants can easily join the conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Second Annual 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. If you complete the three optional checklist items, you earn 15 additional points. But, no one is required to stick to the weekly themes or checklist.
  • 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 films that fill in the checklist in order to receive the bonus points (or >36 and 1 book if looking to earn the 15 additional points).
  • Am I required to write a review of each film to earn points?
    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 prize. The second, third, fourth, and fifth place contestants will be placed into a random drawing, and ONE of those four participants will also earn a prize, but of lesser value than the first place winner. Note that if more than 25 participants join, more prizes will be awarded at the end (see above).
  • Who has final say on all decisions of the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge?
    I, Branden, 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 3, 2013. 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?
    #CSSC2 – 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, or email me at psymin1[at]yahoo[dot]com.
  • Does Book X work for the optional checklist?
    Short answer: if it is in some way related to film, I’m sure it does. The book can be fiction or nonfiction, and as long as it is about, is inspired by, or inspired a horror or sci-fi movie, it counts. It can be a nonfiction title about the study of horror or sci-fi films in general, or a specific horror or sci-fi movie. It can also be a biography about a popular horror or sci-fi figure, such as George A. Romero, Roger Corman, or Bruce Campbell, for some good examples. The book must also be of a worthwhile length (no 35-page graphic novels, but those shorter, smaller BFI film guides definitely work; 100+ pages seems fair). If there are any questions, do not hesitate to confirm with me that the book would, in fact, count.
  • Can remakes count as part of a series for the optional checklist?
    Absolutely. If you want to watch a film series that has four original movies and two remakes, go for it. As long as you can finagle at least six movies out of a given horror or sci-fi series, it counts. If the series contains a total of 10 films, for example, you only need to watch six for it to count for the checklist item.
  • Do superhero movies count?
    As long as the superhero movie uses science in a fictional (or seemingly fictional) way, it counts. This means that basically all of the traditional superhero movies count for this challenge, but films like Super or Kick-Ass (films where a normal human decides to become a vigilante police officer) do not. Batman counts because of the science he uses to develop weapons, etc. In short: superhero movies count for the CSSC!

Official Participants:

BrandenList
Ashe CollinsList
Chris RansonList
Robert Gannon (of Sketchy Details) – List
Laura ClarkList
Xander KaneList
Julie Manzo (of French Toast Sunday)List
Jordan JohnsonList
Torstein Karlsen (of Cinema Terror)List
Caity RoseList
Kate SaundersList
Brandon ParkhurstList
Whimsy Cruelty – List
Nick Bungay (of Nerd Bastards)List
Alex Withrow (of And So it Begins…) – List

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.