31 Days of Horror: 2016 Shame-a-thon

For the past few years, I’ve gathered the fearless masses during these pre-Halloween weeks, encouraging them to indulge in a horror movie shame-a-thon, sponsored by Cinema Shame. The notion was simple. List 31 unseen horror movies you feel obligated to watch and tackle as many as you can during the month of October.

It may seem impossible, but October’s creeping up on us all yet again. I know this, you see, because it’s my birthday tomorrow and my birthday is a harsh reminder. The whole end of summer, end of one more year of existence combo-malaise. Pumpkin picking, hay rides, apple cider, arguing about costumes with small people… and then Halloween.

This year, I’m again following my Cinema Shame method, but adding a new twist. Fellow Pittsburgher @ElCinemonster has been organizing his Hoop-Tober Challenge on for three years now. Each year he lays down some challenges to help guide the viewing of his monstrous minions. Anyway, that’s been a smashing success, and I’ve enjoyed watching the event from afar. This year I’ve decided to combine my Cinema Shame Horror Shame-a-thon with @ElCinemonster’s Hoop-Tober Challenge to create the most unwieldy title in the history of movie blogging and watching.

Welcome to the 2016 CinemaShame/Hoop-Tober Watch Pile 31 Days of Horror Shame-a-thon

31 days of horror 2016

So let’s lay down the laws, shall we?

Pick 31 never-before-seen (or forgotten) horror movies — “horror” is broadly defined as anything containing elements of the horror genre. So, for example, I’ve count the Abbott & Costello monster films in the past because of the classic movie monsters. Watch as many as you can stomach during your “month” of October.

I’m air-quoting “month” because I’m borrowing @ElCinemonster’s notion that we’re busy goddamn people and 31 days is just not a reasonable duration for busy goddamn people to watch 31 horror movies. He’s beginning his “month” on September 16th. I plan to do the same. I hit 31 last year, but I added about four days at the end of October to achieve said moral victory. An extra wrinkle this year is that I’m going to pluck as many movies as possible from my Watch Pile (any film I already own that hasn’t been watched). I’ve been making a more concerted effort to watch more movies than I buy. The worthy remain. The ones I don’t see myself watching again hit or eBay. I’ll note the outcome of each disc in my blurb.

And speaking of blurbs… after each movie, I’ll toss up a mini-review and a 30Hz rating that will correspond to my review on The review may or may not contain any actual insight. Don’t get greedy. And now for the more specific Hoop-Tober demonic hurdles, courtesy of @ElCinemonster. I’ve adjusted a couple to fit my agenda. I plan to watch at least one movie from every decade from the 1920’s – 2010’s.

7 films from franchises (mix-and-match, or the same)
6 different countries
5 different decades
5 films from before 1970
5 films from the following: Bava, Argento, Lenzi, Fulci, Henenlotter, Romero, Stuart Gordon (mix-and-match, or all one)
3 crazy animal movies
1 silent
1 original film and its remake (Evil Dead, Frankenstein, Halloween, etc…)
1 Classic Universal horror
1 Stephen King adaptation (in tribute to Stranger Things)
1 Film with a witch/witchcraft (in tribute to The Witch. Can’t be The Witch)
Aaaaaaaaaaand 1 Tobe Hooper Film (There must ALWAYS be a Hooper film)



I plan to call some audibles when spur-of-the-moment cravings strike, but here’s my blueprint for the 2016  31 Days Of Horror CinemaShame/Hoop-Tober Watch Pile Shame-a-Thon.

Past #31DaysOfHorror Shame-a-thons: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Part 1 | 2015 Part 2


*Hoop-Tober bonus points
**Rewatch of a forgotten favorite

  1. Bay of Blood (1971)
  2. A Chinese Ghost Story II (1990)
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street II (1985)
  4. Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
  5. Christine (1983)
  6. Day of the Animals (1977)
  7. Dead and Buried* (1981)
  8. Deep Red** (1975)
  9. Delirium (1987)
  10. Delirium (1972)
  11. Dracula’s Daughter (1936)
  12. The Editor (2015)
  13. The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)**
  14. The Fly** (1958)
  15. The Fly (1986)
  16. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man** (1943)
  17. The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)
  18. The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)
  19. Inferno** (1980)
  20. Killerfish (1979)
  21. Komodo (1999)
  22. Medousa (1998)
  23. Messiah of Evil (1974)
  24. Nightbreed (1990)
  25. The Old Dark House* (1932)
  26. Onibaba (1964)
  27. Petey Wheatstraw (1977)
  28. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
  29. Spasmo (1974)
  30. Tenebrae** (1982)
  31. Texas Chainsaw Massacre II (1986)
  32. Vampyros Lesbos (1970)
  33. Veerana (1988)


What’s your list? What’s your plan for horror movie watching this year? If you’re keeping a list or participating in the Hoop-Tober challenge, I’ll link you in the header for my posts. Just leave a note with a link in the comments. Together we shall overcome… or we’ll be the loser pumped off in the first act to establish indomitable menace.




May Shame: So Deliverance is, like, ohmigod, so Deliverance

Jon Voight - Deliverance

We’re gonna leave Friday, from Atlanta. I’m gonna have you back in your little suburban house in time to see the football game on Sunday afternoon. I know you’ll be back in time to see the pom-pom girls at halftime ’cause I know that’s all you care about… Yeah, there’s some people up there that ain’t never seen a town before, no bigger than Aintry anyway. And then those woods are real deep. The river’s inaccessible except at a couple of points… This is the last chance we got to see this river. You just wait till you feel that white-water under you, Bobby…I’ll have you in the water in an hour.

I’d never watched Deliverance. That should be plainly obvious based on its inclusion in this little Cinema Shame adventure. But it was Deliverance that likely headed my initial list of movies I felt shamed for not having seen. So many references. So much chatter. So many shrugs on my part. Plus, Burt. And of the things I’d watch, no questions asked, a Burt Reynolds movie from the 1970’s certainly resides near the top.

Still, I knew I wasn’t signing up for White Lightning, which is probably why Deliverance remained unwatched.


April Shame: So Godzilla (1954) isn’t really a monster movie


April Shame: So Godzilla (1954) isn’t really a monster movie

by James David Patrick (originally posted at


The confluence of me and Godzilla is an odd twisty tale of no matter. That said, let’s dive in and read about all of that inconsequence.

It all began back in the late 1980’s with a little arcade game called Rampage where you controlled one of three monsters as they razed buildings, ate people and destroyed all military vehicles that attempted to stop them from razing buildings or eating people. Ported over to the Nintendo Entertainment System (and pretty much every available video game system of the next decade), the monster masher became a staple in my gaming rotation. And you’re probably thinking, “But hey the lizard monster in Rampage isn’t even Godzilla – its name was Lizzie!” Or not. But either way you’d be on point. On point because you were right about the name or on point because you didn’t care either way.


Rampage - Arcade
Rampage – Arcade

Shortly after Rampage came an actual, legit Godzilla licensed NES game called Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, a side-scrolling action game featuring both Godzilla and Mothra as playable characters against the legions of classic Toho and Godzilla monsters like Gigan, Mechagodzilla, Ghidorah, etc. And it was actually pretty excellent and by excellent I mean don’t challenge my nostalgia, bro. By this point in adolescence, I was aware of the Godzilla movie franchise and knew that these were characters from the old Japanese films. When I decided it was time to watch some of these movies, I couldn’t settle merely one monster. Why would I want to watch a movie about just Godzilla when I could have Godzilla and Hedorah, the smog monster? Or Godzilla and Gezora, a massive cuttlefish?!? Clearly two monsters was better than one! Obviously! Without a doubt! And thus I watched whatever Godzilla vs. movies I could find.

Godzilla: Monsters of Monsters

I had just never watched the original Godzilla… until now…

As I started to say in the title of this ramble before the actual words got in the way, Godzilla isn’t really a monster movie at all. Okay, sure, there’s a giant rampaging radioactive lizard, but if you want a monster movie by today’s standards you’re best queuing up Alien or Q: The Winged Serpent. People are terrorized, directly, by a real goddamn monster. Godzilla, like Stay Puft, is just a sailor, in town for the weekend and all he needs is to get laid. But that’s an alternate theory to be tackled in a longer-format essay.

While watching Godzilla the specter of World War II is inescapable. Godzilla is a war film, only not as we’ve seen before – a movie about the nuclear fallout. The ever-present fear that war can no longer be confined between a first volley and a few signatures on a peace treaty. What the United States had unleashed on Japan on August 6th, 1945 wasn’t a confined act of war, but an uncontrollable monster. (Another related theory: bombs = dragon sperm, Japan = the fertile womb. I’m still working it out.) Curiously enough, I sensed no acute blame on the United States (despite the film being re-edited with Raymond Burr for stateside consumption). The atomic age, the film seems to suggest, wasn’t the fault of one man or one nation, but a sin committed by all humankind.


To punctuate the fear and persistent paranoia, director Ishiro Honda and DP Masao Tamai create a noir-like cinematic playground. Black & white stock. Contrast jacked off the charts, the blacks several shades darker than a standard contemporary palettes. This, of course, serves aesthetic and the emotional response to pending attacks, but it also allows the film’s model work and monster effects to remain in shadow as most of Godzilla’s attacks take place at night.

The result of all this is a film about a national existential and personal crisis. It’s man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. the gods. It makes perfect sense, therefore, that no single individual becomes a focus of the film. The collective remains the focus, Godzilla the lead actor with a few humans standing out as representatives of science, love, religion and war. Scientists want to save or preserve the creature to study the effects of the radiation. Religious groups worship Godzilla as a deity sent to destroy man for those aforementioned sins. The government wants the creature destroyed at any cost.

All of these conflicts bubble just above the surface of the film with skilled subtlety, but that nuance doesn’t matter one bit when the viewer first catches sight of that now legendary monster. While the latter Toho Godzilla movies emphasize spectacle and superficial entertainment, the original 1954 Godzilla, despite being about a 50-meter tall lizard, emphasizes humanity through the interplay of fear, faith and foolish bravado.

In my opinion, the religious zealots got something right. Godzilla is definitely worthy of your worship.