Sixth Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge (#CSSC6)
Sometimes change is good. Other times, you wish you could go back to the way things used to be. For the Sixth Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge, we’re doing the latter, moving from the more intimate, varied challenges of 2016, back to the group challenge that the first four editions brought, and we hope, more than anything, that you’ll join us on our adventure.
For the uninitiated, the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge began in 2012 when I decided to take the best of other challenges I found around the internet, fine-tune them to my own interests, and invite others to join in with me, eventually evolving into a “fierce” competition with lists, prizes, and tons of fun. The inaugural Cinefessions Summer Scream Challenge – or, as it has become known, CSSC – had nine participants, with CSSC2 growing to fifteen. CSSC3 had an even dozen, and CSSC4 had thirteen participating movie lovers. Last year, for CSSC5, we turned to the podcast, and each of the three of us had our own, unique challenge that we set for ourselves, so it was much different than in years past. This year, though, as our podcast continues to gain new listeners, and with more and more new visitors to the site every week, we wanted to open things back up, and get back to our roots, so to speak, and hope that CSSC6 will be the biggest, and best, Challenge yet.
That’s where you come in. What makes this Challenge fun is getting to discuss our movie watching with the other participants. What makes CSSC6 special, though, is that this is the first year that all participants can use the same forum to post their lists, and discuss their viewings. In years past, participants would be forced to create a Tumblr, or create a post on their own website in order to participate. Though that will still be an option this year if that’s what you prefer, we know some people are just not interested in doing that. Not having another option is something we’ve always felt limited our participant numbers, and have been striving to find a solid solution for that since the beginning. We’ve finally made that a serious goal for this year’s Challenge, and am happy to say that you can sign up today at the Cinefessions Forums, and claim your spot in CSSC6!
We also know that many of our participants are on Twitter, which is why we designate a specific hashtag every year so that everyone can follow in on the discussion there as well. This year, as in the past, it will be #CSSC6 that you’ll want to tag your Challenge-related posts with on Twitter. Though I’m sure the conversation will be great on Twitter, we do encourage you to also use the Forums for more reviews and other thoughts that may take over 120 characters to convey.
So this all sounds excellent, and something you might like to take part in, but you’re still unsure exactly what the heck you’re signing up for? That’s perfect! This post isn’t even close to done yet, so, please, read on to find out how you can enter, watch a ridiculous amount of horror and sci-fi movies and television, and then potentially win some great prizes!
The goal of CSSC6, is to watch as many horror and science fiction films and/or television episodes as humanly possible during the month of June. As we watch these items, we update our lists, and this year, those lists can be housed on the Cinefessions Forums for ease, or can continue to be housed on the participants external website. Each viewing earns the participant points, and the person with the most points at the end of the month wins! But, being who we are here at Cinefessions, there is a bit more to it than just that.
Though there are going to be prizes again this year, the biggest goal, and really the only one that matters, is that we all have fun dedicating the month of June to some of our favorite genres. That said, the official rules below may look a bit overwhelming, but I promise that they’re not difficult to understand, and keep the focus on the fun, and the media that we’ll consume.
This year, unlike in the past, each list can be housed on the Cinefessions Forums if that’s what you prefer. If you don’t have your own external website, or prefer to house the list on Cinefessions, all you would have to do to participate is to create a username for the forums, which only takes seconds. We hope that by offering the forum as an option, it will create a broader, more interesting discussion of the films we’ll be watching this year, and it makes it that much easier to get in on the fun! Your lists can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like to make them, we just ask that each list contains four specific items: (1) they must be numbered, (2) contain the title of the film or television episode you’ve watched, (3) include the date you viewed the item (also denote if it follows the weekly theme somehow), and (4) have a running tally of how many points you believe you’ve scored to date. If each list contains these four essential elements, we’ll be easily able to keep track of everything throughout the month. I’ve created a sample list on the forums so you can see an example of how simple each list could be. Once you decide to join in the challenge, reserve your spot in the appropriate thread, or create a post on your own website (or tumblr, or facebook page, or whatever is editable over the 30-days)! Every participant using the Forums should create a “New Thread” for their own, personal list. I will also have a general discussion thread to talk about the challenge, and specific threads to discuss, with spoilers, the week’s Featured Film (more on that below).
Please note, as we state every year, the inspiration for CSSC comes straight from the DVD Talk forum’s October Horror Movie Challenge, and the Summer Sci-Fi Challenge. We essentially just take those two challenges, add to them, and move them to June. So, all credit to them for being the inspiration.
-Participants earn points based on the number of horror and sci-fi films and television episodes he or she watches during the month of June.
-The Sixth Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge (CSSC6) runs from 12:00 am on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 through 11:59 pm on Friday, June 30th, 2017. Each participant will use his or her own time zone for the start and end times.
-The Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge only allows participants who can be truthful. It runs on the age-old honor system, and “cheating” will ruin the fun for everyone, so only participants who can follow the guidelines are asked to participate.
-All participants are encouraged to register on the Cinefessions Forums, where they can create a username and password for themselves. Once registered, each participant will create their own New Thread on the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge board, and will title it “CSSC6 – [Username]’s List”. For example, my thread will be titled “CSSC6 – Branden’s List”. Once the participant has created this thread, he or she will edit this ONE MESSAGE with updates throughout the entire month of June. This is to keep everything clear and to the point.
-Participants can also choose 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 “Sixth Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge – [Username’s] List”. For example, my blog post would be “Sixth 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.
-Whether the participant chooses to house the list on the Forums, or on their own blog, each list must contain all four of these elements:
- Must be numbered.
- Must have the title of the film or television show (just need the season and episode number for TV episodes).
- Must include the date of viewing. (Please note if the film is following the weekly theme.)
- Must have a running tally of points earned.
-Each item equaling one or more points should receive its own line and number. A basic example list might look like this:
1. The Mist (2007)*^
2. Friday the 13th (Commentary Track – 1980)
3. Short Film 1 (20 minutes)/Short Film 2 (10 minutes)/Short Film 3 (30 minutes)
4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)*
5. The Walking Dead S1.E1/The Walking Dead S1.E2
6. Goosebumps S3.E3/Goosebumps S3.E4/Goosebumps S3.E5
* – Follows Weekly Theme
^ – Featured Film
Total Points: 9 points
-Participants should feel free to spice up his or her own list as much or as little as desired, including links, reviews, scores, denoting first time viewings, and so on. As long as the four elements mentioned above are included, the rest is fair game.
-It is also important that all participants attempting to complete the optional checklists include them in that same message in order to qualify for the bonus points at the end of the month.
-Each feature-length film (60 minutes or longer) is worth 1 point.
-Four 30-minute television episodes (original television runtime with commercials) are worth 1 point. There are no partial points given, meaning you must watch 30-minute television episodes in fours to earn points on them.
-Two 60-minute or longer television episodes (original runtime with commercials) are worth 1 point. There are no partial points given, meaning you must watch 60-minute or longer television episodes in pairs to earn points on them.
-60 minutes of short films add up to 1 point. This includes special features as these are considered short films.
-Commentary tracks count the same way if they are commentary tracks on horror or sci-fi films or television episodes.
-Documentaries about horror and sci-fi films or television count the same way: one point per feature-length film.
-Every film and television episode must be viewed in its entirety to count for this challenge. One cannot watch 60-minutes of a 100-minute film and count it for this challenge.
-Every sub-genre of horror and science fiction counts in this challenge. Participants should use their best discretion, check IMDB, or ask us if uncertain about a specific film’s eligibility.
-Watching films that fall into the weekly themes (explained below) count double for that week (example: one  feature-length film would equal two  points if it falls into that week’s theme).
-Television episodes are not eligible for any bonus points during this years challenge, regardless if it matches the weekly theme or not.
-Any participant that completes the entire checklist with no doubles (also explained below) earns 20 bonus points, which equates to 1 point for each item on the checklist. No points are given for partially completed checklists.
–There are five optional Items (denoted as such) on this year’s checklist. Each optional item – which will be more time-consuming and/or difficult than the regular items – will be worth 3 bonus points each. Not every optional item needs to be completed in order to earn bonus points for that potion of the checklist.
–If a participant completes all twenty items on the checklist, plus all five of the additional, optional items, they will receive another additional 15 bonus points, making 50 total bonus points possible for this year’s challenge if all items are completed on the checklists (20 points for a completed standard checklist + 15 points for a completed optional checklist + 15 points for completing both the standard and optional checklists).
-Each of the five weekly themes will have a corresponding “Featured Film” once again. 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).
-Some weeks may have an additional opportunity for bonus points. These will be random, and announced during the weekly preview post here on Cinefessions. They will be tied to the weekly theme, and will have their own set of rules to follow. They will not apply to television episodes unless explicitly stated as such during the preview post.
-Any film watched during the Challenge can only count for points once for each type of viewing. That said, if you watch a film once as intended, and then again with a commentary track, both viewing types would count for separate points.
-One can only earn one extra point for the Featured Film one time during each week. That is, someone can not watch the Featured Film ten times in one week to score thirty points, for example. The Featured Film bonus point only applies to the first, regular viewing of the film during the week.
-Each of the 5 “weeks” that the challenge runs will have its own theme and Featured Film. Watching a film that falls into the weekly theme earns the participant 2 points for that movie. Any participant that watched the Featured Film will earn 3 points for that viewing. Below is a breakdown of each “week” (credit to Wikipedia for most of the following descriptions):
Week One – 12:00 am on Thursday, June 1, 2017 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 3, 2017:
When Science Screams – The Sci-Fi/Horror Genre: Tradition shines again as 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)
This film has not gotten a lot of love since it was released, but it’s one that may just still be searching for its audience. Maybe that audience is us? Or maybe we’ll all hate it, too. Who knows? The first Featured Film generally turns out to be much worse than anticipated, but maybe this will buck that trend. Netflix synopsis: “Studying the effects of global warming aboard a fishing trawler, graduate students dredge up Soviet space wreckage that contains deadly organisms.”
Week Two – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 4, 2017 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 10, 2017:
Let’s Read! – Foreign Films: Week two is all about the subtitles. This week, any sci-fi or horror film you watch that requires you to watch with subtitles to get the dialogue counts for double this week. If you’re bilingual like Marc, then you’ll have to find films from a language you don’t know to score bonus points for this week’s theme. Watching movies silently with the subtitles on to keep the baby asleep doesn’t count either, but nice try pops! (ex: Ringu, Suspiria, High Tension, Inside)
Week Two’s Featured Film is House (1977). It is available on disc from Netflix (not streaming), to rent on Amazon Instant Video for $3.99, and to purchase from Criterion Collection on Blu-ray from Amazon.
Things are about to get weird up in CSSC6! House, or Hausu, is a 1977 film that is often labeled as one of the most strange cult favorites around, and I’m excited to get to introduce it to all of the CSSC6 participants! Buckle up, and get ready for the “psychedelic nightmare” that is House!. Netflix synopsis: “Unaware that evil spirits have taken over her invalid aunt’s isolated country house, Oshare and six schoolgirl friends arrive for a visit — only to face a slew of preposterously freaky events in Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 psychedelic nightmare. As the girls begin vanishing one by one, the survivors encounter ravenous furniture, homicidal firewood, a possessed piano and other absurd and violent entities.“
Week Three – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 11, 2017 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 17, 2017:
Battle of the Decades: Part II – 1950s vs 1960s: A couple years back we pitted the 1970s vs the 1980s in a fight to the death, so this year it’s time for the sequel. Instead, though, we pit the ’50s vs the ’60s. Any horror or sci-fi film that was released between 1950 and 1969 is worth bonus points this week. Even better, we have TWO Featured Films that can earn you three points each for a viewing! (ex: The Innocents, Peeping Tom, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Monolith Monsters)
Week Three’s Featured Films are It Came from Outer Space (1953) and The Haunting (1963). It Came from Outer Space is available on disc from Netflix (not streaming), to rent on Amazon Instant Video for $3.99, and in 3D Blu-ray from Amazon. The Haunting is available on disc from Netflix (not streaming), to rent on Amazon Instant Video for $3.99, and on Blu-ray from Amazon.
For the first time in CSSC history, we’re pitting two films “against” each other in the battle of the decades! It Came from Outer Space was recently released on 3D Blu-ray for really cheap, and The Haunting is a bonafide classic in the genre that’s worth discussing. Netflix synopsis for It Came from Outer Space: “An alien ship crashes in the Arizona desert, and the extraterrestrials assume the identities of the locals in order to buy enough time to make repairs. But one man discovers the truth, and soon his wife is replaced by one of the aliens.“ Netflix synopsis for The Haunting: “Three people are recruited by a paranormal investigator to help uncover the secrets of Hill House, a mansion overwhelmed by spirits of its former residents in this classic horror flick based on The Haunting of Hill House, a novel by Shirley Jackson. As the guests delve deeper into the home’s past, they are seduced further into its sinister web.”
Week Four – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 18, 2017 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 24, 2017:
Not All Heroes Wear Capes – Superhero Films: This week we’ll be celebrating the men and women in tights (or otherwise). This is one of the stranger theme weeks as not every superhero film would normally count for this challenge. That said, any and all superhero films count for bonus points this week! Whether it’s one that obviously uses science in a fictional way, like Avengers or Antman, or even if it’s just normal people sick of the bad guys winning and taking matters into their own hands like Super or Kick-Ass, this week, they’ll all count! (ex: Batman Returns, Captain America: Civil War, Punisher: War Zone, Dredd)
What better way to celebrate superhero week here at CSSC6 than with an underrated, dark superhero film starring Liam Neeson, and directed by Sam Raimi? I’m excited to hear the discussion around this film. Netflix synopsis: “After a brilliant scientist is almost killed by gangsters in a massive explosion, he becomes Darkman, an impossibly strong, tormented antihero. Able to spend only moments in the sunlight, Darkman begins a quest to take vengeance on his enemies.”
Week Five – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 25, 2017 to 11:59 pm on Friday, June 30, 2017:
The Three “R”s – Remakes, Reboots, and Reimaginings: It’s almost become a tradition here at CSSC that we pick a theme or featured film during the final week that is sure to upset some people, but is something we’re big fans of, and I can’t think of a better example of this than the three “R”s of horror and sci-fi: remakes, reboots, and reimaginings. This week, any sci-fi or horror film that can be called a remake, a reboot, or a reimagining of an original film counts for double. (ex: Friday the 13th , One Missed Call , I Am Legend )
Maybe we’ll be accused of trolling, but this is one that has been on our radar since it’s release. It stars one of the best characters in Pretty Little Liars, and is a remake of the French film of the same name that is generally touted as a masterpiece by most. Let’s give it a fair shake and see how things turn out, shall we? Netflix synopsis: “After escaping the psychotic family who’d long held her hostage, traumatized 10-year-old Lucie arrives at an orphanage where she meets a kindred spirit in Anna. A decade later, the women seek revenge against their past torturers and victimizers.”
-This checklist contains 20 items, and can only be filled in with feature length films. CSSC6 also has 5 additional, optional items that can be completed for 3 extra bonus points each. 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 20 different films on the checklist (or 22 films, 1 novel, 1 video game, and 1 graphic novel for those completing the optional checklist).
Example: -X- Hitchcock Film (Psycho, 1960)
Watch a sci-fi or horror film from each specific sub-genre:
— Apocalyptic or Post-Apocalyptic Film (Film, Year)
— Black and White Horror or Sci-fi Film (Film, Year)
—“Natural Horror” Film (Film, Year)
— Slasher Film (Film, Year)
— Steampunk Horror or Sci-Fi Film (Film, Year)
Watch a sci-fi or horror film with these people/companies in the following roles:
— Writer – Stephen King or Clive Barker (Film, Year)
— Director – Andrei Tarkovsky or Fritz Lang (Film, Year)
— Production Company – Dark Castle Entertainment or Platinum Dunes (Film, Year)
— Composer – Richard Band or Harry Manfredini (Film, Year)
— Cinematographer – Peter Suchitzky or Guillermo Navarro (Film, Year)
Watch a sci-fi or horror film that fits into the following categories:
— Watch a Horror or Sci-Fi Film from Danny Peary’s Cult Movies Books or Scott Tobias’ New Cult Canon List (Film, Year)
— Watch a Horror or Sci-Fi Film from The Asylum (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film from Taste of Cinema’s Best Sci-Fi Soundtracks or Thump’s Best Horror Soundtracks (Film, Year)
— Watch a Horror or Sci-Fi Found Footage Film (Film, Year)
— Watch a Rape & Revenge Film (Film, Year)
— Watch a Horror or Sci-Fi Film Directed by a Woman (Film, Year)
— Watch an Animated Horror or Sci-Fi Film (Film, Year)
— Watch an Anthology Horror or Sci-Fi Film (Film, Year)
— Watch a Horror or Sci-Fi Film Adapted from a Novel (Film, Year)
— Watch a Horror or Sci-Fi Film Released by Vinegar Syndrome or Severin Films (Film, Year)
Optional (for an additional 3 bonus points each):
— Watch a Horror of Sci-Fi Film Once Normally, then Again with a Commentary Track (Film, Year)
— Watch a Movie in Theatres (Film, Year)
— Read a Sci-Fi or Horror Graphic Novel of at Least 50 Pages (Book, Author)
— Read a Sci-Fi or Horror Novel, or a Book about Sci-Fi/Horror, of at Least 100 Pages (Book, Author)
— Play at least Two Hours of any Horror or Sci-Fi Video Game on Console or PC. (Game, Console)
-All lists must be finalized by 11:59 pm on Sunday, July 2, 2017. The host – Branden – 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 at the end of the challenge. This year, the winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card to the Amazon store of his or her choice. If there are 20 or more participants, the winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Note: The real prize is spending the month watching great horror and sci-fi films.
-Every active participant will be entered in to a random drawing to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card to the store of the winner’s choosing! Participants must have at least one entry on their finalized list to be entered into this drawing.
-Though anyone can be crowned the winner of CSSC6, team members of Cinefessions are excluded from all prizes. All of this years prizes will go to our readers and listeners! If a Cinefessions team member happens to win, the top prize will go to the first non-team member, and so on.
If there are any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact us on twitter @Cinefessions!
When discussing the challenge on twitter, use the #CSSC6 tag so that all participants can easily join the conversation.
Frequently Asked Questions for the Sixth 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 20 bonus points when all is said and done. If you complete the five optional checklist items, you earn 15 additional points (completing both nets you a total of 50 bonus points at the end of the month). 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 20 separate films that fill in the checklist in order to receive the bonus points (or 22 films, 1 book, 1 graphic novel, and 1 video game 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 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. Note that if more than 20 participants join, a larger prize will be awarded at the end, so tell your friends (see above). Also, all active participants (excluding Cinefessions writers) will be entered in to win a separate prize.
- Who has final say on all decisions of the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge?
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 Sunday, July 2, 2017. Whatever films are listed on everyone’s list at that point 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. We understand that this is more quickly than normal, but that’s just the way the month falls this year. If you keep your list up during the month, there won’t be much to do after the fact.
- Is Film X considered a horror or sci-fi movie? 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 Cinefessions team.
- What is the twitter hashtag for this Challenge?
#CSSC6 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us @Cinefessions on twitter, or on the Cinefessions Forums.
- Does Book X work for the optional checklist Novel item?
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 (100+ pages seems fair). If there are any questions, do not hesitate to confirm with me that the book would, in fact, count.
- Why all the changes to the television portion of the Challenge this year?
In years past there were complaints that it was too easy to manipulate the system by watching short television episodes, so in order to remedy that this year, instead of removing television from the Challenge, we’ve decided to change the way they’re scored. 30-minute episodes must be watched in fours to earn one point, and 60-minute or longer episodes must be watched in pairs to count for one point. The other major change with television episodes is that participants can no longer earn bonus points on them, even if they do fall into the weekly theme. That is the way we’re trying things this year and we’ll see what changes need to be made for next year, if any!
- 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!
- Which graphic novels count for the optional checklist? Which video games count?
Again, as long as they are horror or science fiction themed graphic novels (both graphic novels and trade paperbacks collecting one full story work), and are at least 50 pages in length, they quality for this challenge. Likewise, any horror or sci-fi themed video game counts for that optional checklist item. You must play at least two hours of one specific game for it to count. Switching between two or more games WILL NOT count for this optional checklist item.
- Why did you change the point system this year?
Just to keep things as simple as possible. It’s not really about the points, but about the media we watch, so this is just a way to keep things simpler and more focused this year.
- Explain the possible bonus points again, please.
Gladly! So if a participant completes every checklist item – all 20 items on the original checklist, plus all 5 optional items – they will score 50 total bonus points at the end of the month. This is because they score 20 points for completing the original checklist, 3 points each for completing all of the optional checklist items (so 15 points) and then an additional 15 points for having the stamina and determination to complete both. If a participant only completes the 5 optional checklist items, they only receive 15 bonus points. If the participant does not complete all 20 of the standard checklist items, they receive no points for it. I think that makes sense. Let me know if not!