The countdown clock is nearing “0:00”, and June is almost here. With just hours to go before we all start cramming more horror and sci-fi into one month than we will ever care to admit to our grandchildren, if anyone is like me, we are all fixing up our lists and goals that we have likely set for ourselves outside of the regular checklist. As it currently stands, hours before the Challenge officially kicks off, we have more participants this year than we did in the inaugural Challenge, which is a feat in itself. I want to take the time to thank everyone who has retweeted, blogged about, or read anything about the website or the challenge this year. It would be nothing without all of your support, and gaining more participants than last year is just the icing on the cake, so thank you all very much.

Once the clock hits 12:00 am (in your time zone, whatever that may be), the Challenge is on. How many horror and/or science fiction films can we possibly watch in just 30 days? Well, last year, 9 of us managed to watch 260 films and 29 television programs. It will be great to see not if we top it, but by how many we top that number.

New to the challenge this year is Featured Films. This is in hopes to get the conversation going amongst participants because it means that the majority of us will be watching at least one of the same films during the same week. Remember, whenever discussing the Challenge, or the Featured Films on Twitter, use the hashtag #CSSC2.

The first week’s theme is entitled “When Science Screams”, and like last year, it dedicated to all movies that fit into both the horror and science fiction genres. If there are any questions about this, just ask me on twitter or via email, and, if I can’t make the call by myself, I will take a vote amongst the team, and a decision will be made as soon as possible. Some of the most notable examples of this would be John Carpenter’s The Thing (and it’s lackluster prequel), Milla Jovovich and her Resident Evil series, David Cronenberg’s body horror masterpiece The Fly, or any of these other great examples that come courtesy of Wikipedia. Another good source is this link from Netflix, which I highly recommend you check out.

Humanoids from the DeepAnother shining would be this week’s Featured Film: Barbara Peeters’ 1980 feature, Humanoids from the Deep. This Roger Corman (executive) produced sci-fi/horror film is available to stream for free on Amazon Prime, and also on Netflix Instant Queue.

The plot summary for this movie is short, no matter the source: experiments go wrong, turning fish into monsters that terrorize a small town, kidnapping and raping the town’s teenage girls. It sounds like pure Corman exploitative gold, and perfect fodder to kick of the Challenge! Be sure to use the #CSSC2 tag when discussing the film on twitter.

I could try to offer up some advice on how to succeed this upcoming Challenge, but the truth is that none of us need advice. We all watch a lot of movies, and a lot of horror and sci-fi already, so this won’t be much different. The only thing that may change for some people is the fact that all the films we watch will be logged, but that just takes a couple extra minutes of dedication, which is easy enough. The only advice I can offer is to never forget that this is all just for fun, nothing more. If there ever comes a time when the viewing starts interfering with your day-to-day, or you feel dread when thinking about watching the next movie, just let it go. Don’t join the challenge for the prizes, but for the fun of watching our favorite genres.

I hope everyone else is as excited as I am for the clock to hit midnight tonight! This year’s Challenge looks be to bigger and better than last year, and I cannot wait to get things going.

Here’s to a great month of the wonderfully awful, the terribly fantastic, and the beautifully grotesque. Here’s to Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge!