The Third Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge

Once is a mistake. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a tradition, and that is exactly what the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge is becoming. Started back in 2012, the Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge took things to a whole new level, and the participants followed suit. You guys made CSSC2 a huge success, and CSSC3 hopes to be even bigger and better, with more prizes and fun to be had.

Just like in the past, the goal of CSSC3 is to watch as many horror and science fiction films and television shows as humanly possible in the month of June. As we watch, we log all of our daily viewing in a blog post of some sort (more on that below). Each viewing earns the participant points, and the person with the most points at the end of the month wins! Simple as that. Kind of.

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 again 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, 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 taking those two challenges, adding to them, combining them, and moving them to June.

Here are the official rules of the challenge:

-Participants earn points based on the number of horror and sci-fi films/TV episodes they watch in the month of June.
-The Third Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge runs from 12:00 am on June 1, 2014 until 11:59 pm on June 30, 2014.
-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.

-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 “Third Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge – [Username’s] List”. For example, my blog post would be “Third 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 (2007)
  2. Friday the 13th (Commentary Track – 1980)
  3. The Twilight Zone, S1.E1/The Twilight Zone, S1.E2
  4. Short Film 1 (30 mins)/Short Film 2 (10 mins)/Short Film 3 (20 mins)
  5. Star Wars Episode IV (1977)
  6. The Walking Dead, S3.E2

-All participants should send the link to their lists to Cinefessions via email (, 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 viewings, 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.

-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.
-Films and TV episodes must be viewed in their 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 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).

-Each participant is allowed up to 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).
-TV episodes also count toward the weekly theme bonus. Short films will count as well, 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 entire checklist with no doubles (explained below) earns 30 bonus points.
New in 2014: There are now 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 5 additional bonus points. Unlike last year, not every additional item needs to be completed in order to win some bonus points.
New in 2014: If a participant completes all 30 items on the checklist, plus all 5 optional items, they will receive another additional 25 bonus points, making 80 total bonus points possible for this year’s challenge if all items are completed on the checklists (30 points for a completed standard checklist + 25 points for a completed optional checklist + 25 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).

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

Week One – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 1, 2014 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 7, 2014:

When Science Screams – The Sci-Fi/Horror Genre: In what has now become traditional fashion, 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)

Galaxy of Terror

Week One’s Featured Film is Galaxy of Terror (1981). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue and Amazon’s Instant Video Service for Prime Members.

This Roger Corman produced Alien knock-off (with Terminator director James Cameron as Second Unit Director) is perfect canon fodder to get the month rolling right. Netflix synopsis: “Dispatched to a distant world to rescue the spacecraft Remus, astronauts aboard the starship Quest instead find their comrades gruesomely slaughtered.”

Week Two – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 8, 2014 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 14, 2014:

Schlock Cinema – B-Movies: This week celebrates all things schlock, which can be defined as something that is cheap or shoddy. In other words: low budget B-movies and Z-movies! Anything that exemplifies the “so bad it’s good” monicker works here. Hell, anything that is simply “so bad” works as well. Micro budget films, exploitation films, movies from Troma Films, and virtually anything from the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 crew all work for this week’s theme. (ex: Big Ass Spider, Manos: The Hands of Fate, Plan 9 from Outer Space)

The Toxic Avenger

Week Two’s Featured Film is The Toxic Avenger (1984). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue, or to rent for $2.99 on Amazon’s Instant Video Service.

There is arguably no bigger name in schlock cinema than Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma Films, also known as “The House that Toxie Built”. Netflix synopsis: When bullies push a geeky janitor into a truck full of toxic sludge, he’s transformed into a hulking superhero who fights for justice at all costs.

Week Three – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 15, 2014 to 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 21, 2014:

Things that Go Bump in the Night – Supernatural Horror: It has taken this popular category three years to get a theme, but better late than never. It is about time that the supernatural horror genre, which is chock full of some of the all-time greatest horror films ever released, get its due. Anything dealing with the supernatural – ghosts, haunted houses, possessions, and so on – count for this week’s challenge. There are tons to choose from, so no one should have any problems finding material.  (ex: The Exorcist, Paranormal Activity, House on Haunted Hill)

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Week Three’s Featured Film is The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue, or to rent for $3.99 on Amazon’s Instant Video Service.

Bypassing all the big names for this week’s theme, this Canadian horror film has gotten a lot of positive buzz, so we’re going to give it a shot! Netflix synopsisAfter the mysterious death of the reclusive Rosalind Leigh, her estranged son, Leon, arrives at her house to take stock of his inheritance. But there’s more to this house than dark corners and dusty antiques.

Week Four – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 22, 2014 to 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 28, 2014:

Our Future Looks Bleak – Dystopian and Cyberpunk Films: The dystopian film genre is one of my absolute favorites, and cyberpunk has that same cold feeling, so combing these two just seems right. Wikipedia offers a great definition of dystopia and cyberpunk, so check those out if you’re not quite sure what we’re talking about. This links you to a wonderful list of cyberpunk films, while the title heading will link you to a list of dystopian films. (ex: Blade Runner, Robocop, THX-1138)


Week Four’s Featured Film is eXistenZ (1999). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue, or to rent for $3.99 on Amazon’s Instant Video Service.

Who better to represent the dystopian and cyberpunk genres than David Cronenberg? Netflix synopsis: A virtual-reality game designer is attacked by an assassin wielding a strange organic weapon. To save herself, she must ‘portal’ into her own game.”

Week Five – 12:00 am on Sunday, June 29, 2014 to 11:59 pm on Monday, June 30, 2014:

Silent Screams – Silent Horror and Sci-Fi Films: The final “week” of this year’s challenge only consists of two days, and it will also house the most niche theme on this list. Silent films have the power to move the viewer in a way that talkies do not, and some of us may not have had a good excuse to watch any silent films, so here is that opportunity. Note that this week’s Featured Film will be worth 4 points instead of 3 because of how short the week is. (ex: Metropolis, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1920], The Phantom Carriage [1921])


Week Five’s Featured Film is Nosferatu (1922). It is available on Netflix Instant Queue, and on Amazon’s Instant Video Service for Prime Members.

There is no introduction needed for this classic of horror cinema. Netflix synopsis: Many horror-film fanatics call this silent classic the scariest Dracula adaptation ever, starring Max Schreck as the eerie and grotesque Count Orlok.”

-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 5 additional, optional items that can be completed for 5 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 30 different films on the checklist (or >36 films, 1 television series, 1 novel, 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:
Alien Invasion Film (Film, Year)
Genre Stretch: Fantasy Film (Film, Year)
— Genre Stretch: Thriller Film (Film, Year)
Slasher Film (Film, Year)
Space Opera (Film, Year)
Splatter Film/Gore Film/Torture Porn (Film, Year)
Superhero Film (Film, Year)
Werewolf Film (Film, Year)
Zombie Film (Film, Year)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film that stars one of the following actors:
Barbara Crampton (Film, Year)
Sid Haig (Film, Year)
Danielle Harris (Film, Year)
Kurt Russell (Film, Year)
Karl Urban (Film, Year)
Dee Wallace (Film, Year)

Watch a sci-fi or horror film that fits into the following categories:
— Watch a Documentary (Film, Year)
Watch a Film from the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Crew (Film, Year)
— Watch/Listen to a Film’s Commentary Track (Film, Year)
Watch a Film that Scream Factory has Released (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film Directed by Roger Corman, Joe Danteor Lloyd Kaufman (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that Contains a Universal Monster (Film, Year)
— Watch a Film that Contains an Evil Puppet/Doll (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 Total Film’s 50 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies 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 5 bonus points each):
— Complete a Horror or Sci-Fi Film Series with at Least Five (5) Entries
………………..— Film One (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Two (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Three (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Four (Film, Year)
………………..— Film Five (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, a Novel that Inspired a Sci-Fi/Horror Film, or a Book about Sci-Fi/Horror of at Least 100 Pages (Book, Author)
— Complete an Entire Sci-Fi or Horror Television Season that is 10 Episodes or Longer (Show, Season)

-All lists must be finalized by 11:59 pm on Saturday, July 5, 2014. 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.
New in 2014The participant who scores the most points will win a prize at the end of the challenge. This year, the winner will receive a $40 Amazon Gift Card. If there are 25 or more participants, the winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card, andScream Factory Blu-ray or DVD of his or her choosing (up to a $30 value). 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 $20 Amazon Gift Card. The winner of that prize will be randomly chosen using
-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.

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 #CSSC3 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, 1 book, 1 graphic novel, and 1 television series if looking to earn the 25 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 Saturday, July 5, 2013. 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.
  • 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?
    #CSSC3 – 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
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Which graphic novels count for the optional checklist?
    Again, as long as they are horror or science fiction themed graphic novels (not single comic book issues, but actual graphic novels), and are at least 50 pages in length, they work for this challenge.
  • Does this television series count for the optional checklist?
    If it is a horror or sci-fi show that is at least 10 episodes in length, it counts for the optional checklist item, and once all episodes are viewed (they should all be on your final list), it will count.
  • Explain the possible bonus points again, please.
    Gladly! So if a participant completes every checklist item – all 30 items on the original checklist, plus all 5 optional items – they will score 80 bonus points at the end of the checklist. This is because they score 30 points for completing the original checklist, 5 points each for completing all of the optional checklist items (so 25 points) and then an additional 25 points for having the stamina and determination to complete both. If a participant only completes the 5 optional checklist items, they only receive 25 bonus points. If the participant does not complete all 30 of the standard checklist items, they receive no points for it. I think that makes sense. Let me know if not!

Official Participants:

Anita – List
Cindy Lou – List