Monster Madness – on picking movies

James / October 26th, 2013

A lot of decision-making goes into Monster Madness every year. Which films do I review? How do I pick them? Why didn’t Friday the 13th get the “Sequelathon” treatment? Here’s the full story.

 

2007 – The first year, I had no idea it would become such a big thing. Ever since I was about 13 years old, I was a big fan of classic horror movies, and I was the only person I knew who was interested in them so much. I felt it was my life mission to educate the rest of the world. After the internet came into existence, there was proof that I was not alone with my horror obsession. Still, I wanted to be able to help get these movies more exposure. Even as a kid, I started writing a book about horror films, by glueing typed pages into a note book, and photocopying images.

 

I decided the best avenue was to do a feature-length documentary about the history of horror films. There’s no greater audience than the online fanbase, so it would obviously be a direct-to-internet feature. But how could I upload an hour and a half video? It would need to be broken up into segments. Well, if I had to break it up anyway, then why not break it up into several parts? Why not 31 parts, and spread it over the month of October in celebration of Halloween? Each day focused on a different movie or franchise. This was the birth of Monster Madness.

 

2008 – GODZILLATHON – The response I got from the first year was amazing, so I decided to do it again. This time, I dedicated it to one of my other obsessions, Godzilla. Ever since then, there has been a huge amount of requests for the Gamera series.

 

2009 – This year, the unnamed, number “3”, was sort of like an extension of the first year’s 101 history of horror films. This time, instead, I focused on each movie on an individual basis, rather than looking at the whole thing in context. I picked any movie that I wished I had time to get to the first year, also answering to many of the requests I got the first time around. The biggest request, after the first Monster Madness, was Hellraiser, so I finally got around to that. Second to that was probably, Child’s Play. Again, I tackled it. But as always, new requests come in. Every year, there always seems to be one that never goes away. This time it was Fright Night. So onto the list for the following year, it goes. This time, the reviews started getting LONGER, which meant the workload tripled, maybe even quadrupled. I created a bigger monster for myself than I originally planned.

 

2010 – CAMP CULT. This year, we went for a theme, to do lesser quality movies. The “So-bad-its-good” style. The kind of movies that may appear on MST3k. I wanted to bring more humor to Monster Madness. I knocked off my biggest request Fright Night (which sort of fit the theme of campiness enough, either way, it needed to get on Monster Madness somehow). Also, the unavoidable Troll 2, and got to do a lot more of my personal favorites like The Giant Claw and Ernest Scared Stupid, which I loved as a kid, made it feel like Halloween. The biggest request that sparked from here was Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Again, onto the list it went.

 

2011 – SEQUELATHON – I already covered all the major classics, but they were breezed over rather quickly in the “history of horror” context. This time, I wanted to discuss the movies more in-depth and critique the sequels individually. Because there’s 31 days, it limited how many series I would get to. I made it a point to cover a wide range of horror movies, which I think I did very well. If you were to give an “age” to horror film history, like everyone does with comic books, I would say it goes like this.

ANTIQUE AGE – The silent era. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, Phantom of the Opera, all that. This was before horror movies became such a big genre.
GOLDEN AGE – The 1930’s / 40’s. Undoubtedly, the most important era in horror films where the Universal Monsters and all the major classics were born.
SILVER AGE – The 1950’s/ 60’s. A lot happened here. This was the baby boomer era. There was the sci-fi/ alien invader/ giant monster films. Then you had the Hammer Horror cycle, revamping all the classics, in color. You had Alfred Hitchock, William Castle, and even George Romero. It’s debatable that Night of the Living Dead can be counted as the last film of the silver age, or the first of the bronze age. It was the film that transitioned it all over.
BRONZE AGE – The 1970’s/ 80’s. The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and all the slasher films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street.
MODERN AGE – The 1990’s to the present. You can debate that this era began with Scream.

I wanted to cover a wide range, so I made a point that I pick a franchise from the Golden age, Silver age, and Bronze age. My reasons for not going into the modern age, is because there’s a better chance that modern audiences will already have seen these movies. My golden age choice was simply the Universal Frankenstein films, my silver age choice was the Hammer Dracula films, and for the bronze age, I chose two. Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street.

 

I was conflicted on whether to choose Halloween or Friday the 13th. I didn’t want to do both, because that would be two slasher series that are both very similar. Personally, I like the Friday the 13th sequels better than the Halloween sequels, with exception of course to the original Halloween which is the all-time classic slasher film. But liking it, isn’t always the point. I was eager to trash some of the sequels like Halloween 6. Also, Friday the 13th had 10 movies! There’s more if you count Freddy Vs. Jason and the remake. In some cases, I can combine reviews, but only if there’s a reason to do so. With Nightmare on Elm Street, I included the remakes, even though a remake is NOT a sequel. But still, when I’m on the topic, everyone usually expects me to talk about the remakes. So they get included or lumped in with other reviews as a “bonus”. Also Halloween 3 is NOT a Michael Myers film, so I could get away with throwing my review of 3, right at the end of 2. But after all, Monster Madness is meant to be 31 reviews, by adding on too many other things, is only creating a bigger mountain of work, and overwhelming myself. Other reasons why I picked Halloween over Friday the 13th was because I got the chance to talk about Freddy Vs. Jason as part of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and after all, it is the Halloween season, so what could be more appropriate than Halloween?

 

2012 – 80’s-ATHON This was a shortened year, 1/2 the reviews, because of the intense production on the AVGN Movie. I got back home in the middle of May. Usually Monster Madness starts getting worked on in March. I didn’t have enough time. The theme was 80’s, and since there’s always been so many 80’s movies anyway, it made sense. Teen Wolf was one I always wanted to get to. And the biggest request I saved til the end, Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

 

2013 – SEQUELATHON 2 After the first Sequelathon, there was still a lot of franchises I didn’t get time to do. This time I wanted to cover an even wider range. Instead of 4 series, I wanted to make sure there was room for 5. I think I did it very well. Golden age, Silver age, Bronze age, all represented. Mummies, Frankenstein, Giant monsters, Aliens, and Zombies. Probably my biggest reason for doing Sequelathon 2 was because I REALLY wanted to do the Hammer Frankenstein series the first year, but I was already doing the Universal Frankensteins, so spending half the month on Frankenstein would of been overkill. It just so happens they are my favorite horror series and I wanted to introduce them to new generations. And I finally got around to Gamera. With the recent kaiju craze, and Pacific Rim, the importance to include Gamera was a no-brainer.

 

As soon as the promo went up, requests for Friday the 13th swarmed in like crazy! As anyone should know, by the time the promo goes up, the movies are already picked and the reviews are in the final editing stages, or done! Some people are flat-out bewildered why it hasn’t been included and think I dislike the series or have something against it. Like I said, it almost made the first Sequelathon, so read above my reasons why. The Friday the 13th series has already been well-represented on Cinemassacre. I wanted to give other series a chance. To do every Friday the 13th movie individually would be a big commitment, 10 movies, and no sensible way to combine them. It would be 1/3 of the month, leaving hardly any room for the other series. If you need your Friday fix, check these out.

AVGN: Friday the 13th
Monster Madness: Friday the 13th (History of Horror)
Top 13 Friday the 13th Moments
Freddy Vs. Jason review
Friday the 13th (2009) review
His Name Was Jason Outtakes

 

 

Comments

  • October 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Hey James!, I just want to thank you for introducing me to the Hammer Frankenstein Films, and to celebrate monster madness, every day a new Frankenstein review would come out I would watch the movie you were reviewing that particular day. Me and my little brother really enjoyed the films , and obviously monster madness.
    Keep up the great work James.

  • October 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I had knowledge of quite a bit of films, but cinemassacre just blew my mind and turned me into a hardcore film collector. So I would say your mission to inform people worked. Thanks James

  • DarthNicky

    October 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Hi James, I’m really enjoying Monster Madness so far. This is probably your most technically impressive yet, and the reviews are fun.

    About Friday, I’m sure many of us would like you to cover the series, but I completely understand the dilemma of dedicating a third of the month to one movie. Even if you lumped two movies into one review, that would still be about 6 videos, and to do both movies justice they’d probably be longer than the rest of the videos. That’s insane. Personally, I think that you’ve covered enough of the series to keep me satisfied. It might be interesting to review the Friday movies on a month featuring a Friday the 13th. There are 12 movies, so maybe you could start the first day of the month with a promo, and lead up to the 13th with all the other movies. It’s just a suggestion, but don’t feel pressured to cover the series because a couple of fans are whining about it.

    • EmSeeSquared

      October 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      There’s certainly a Friday the 13th coming up in December, but he’d probably need more prep time for that… >_<

  • spvtryan

    October 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    James, thank you in advance again for another great Monster Madness. Keep up the fantastic work and good luck with everything. Cheers!

  • Sirius

    October 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    “would have”, not “would of”. 😉
    Great job mister. I understand that people request, but you’re right, they must understand that you just can’t or don’t want to do it sometimes for various reasons.
    No problem there. It’s always entertaining to hear you about stuff you love, no matter the movie. Thanks!

  • Allen Lucas

    October 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for clarifying on the whole Friday the 13th situation. Maybe if you’ll do a third (and possibly final) sequel-a-thon, you can still do two or three different franchises before getting to the last 10 days of October.

    If I may request, you can do a trilogy-a-thon. As I calculated, you can do 9 different trilogies plus a quadrilogy (Jaws please) to fill in the entire month. Some of the best off the top of my head would be Universal’s Dracula, The Fly (1958), The Exorcist, and The Evil Dead.

  • October 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Never been too much of a horror/monster guy, but I’ve followed Monster Madness since 2007, and even rewatched a couple of times. As a result, I have seen a lot of the films reviewed, and ended up liking them.
    No idea what theme you choose next year, but if you ever decide to do foreign films, I would love to see you tear into some recent Norwegian films: Dead Snow(nazi zombies) and Trollhunter(folklore trolls).

  • October 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I thought this year couldn’t get any better after the alien movie and, badabum, there go the Dead series. Awesome, man! Also i like that you did longer videos, i can really see your love in this 5 to 10 minutes explanations, and i can say to you. You’re not alone, Nintendo Dork!

  • October 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    You don’t need to have an excuse James. People need to get over the Friday the 13th thing. Like you said, it has 10 fuckin’ movies just in the main series. That’s a bit much, and would take up nearly half the month. Me personally, I’m glad you went the route you did! Thanks for always helping to make October special!!!

    I too, try to do my small part: http://retrorevelations.blogspot.com/2013/10/childhood-memories-halloween-specials.html

  • October 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    James, I’m not a horror movie fan but you make me into a huge fan during these monster madness marathons. I think it’s your passion and well thought out commentary on each movie that reels me in. Keep it up!

  • BladeRunner

    October 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    James will you ever do any Dario Argento films or other Italian horror?

    • October 27, 2013 at 2:30 am

      actually that is a good idea for the next Monster Madnesses, James could title them as “Argen-thon” or “Italian Scare”… then other horror movie franchises from other countries but, I thought he would do “Friday The 2013thon” to please fans ;p

  • EmSeeSquared

    October 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    While I understand why Friday 13th wasn’t included, I can’t say I’m not disappointed. It’s perhaps THE franchise most people immediately think of when you hear the terms “horror movie” or “slasher movie” and, and part of my desire to see in-depth looks at each film is, I kinda wanna know, even at 31, if I’m READY for them. I was always squeamish as a kid, but in my adult life I’ve grown out of that for the most part. I’ve seen, and even own, franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, Scream, Haloween, Alien, and what have you, and the Friday 13th films I HAVE seen include 1, 2, Freddy Vs Jason, and the remake. Images and very brief clips I’ve seen lead me to believe movies 3-5 and Jason Goes to Hell are a bit TOO gruesome for my tastes, and I was hoping James’ possible looks at them could help reassure me on those. Sounds childish, I know, but still. Hopefully in the future…

    • October 27, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Entirely depends on what you mean by “horror”. If you’re talking modern, gore-fest and cheap scare moment slasher films, then yes, Ft13th is certainly right there. But if you’re talking classic horror films, and what the genre originally was, then no, not even close.

      • EmSeeSquared

        October 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        Well I suppose it depends on the person. As a kid, before I knew better about what could or couldn’t be shown in older films, I’d see classics like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde listed in the tv guide as “horror”, and immediately think of the gruesome stuff. But, you’ll notice I had said “OR ‘slasher movie'”, so I’m not completely incorrect, I did save myself back there 😉

  • smeagol99

    October 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    He should take a look at caveman with ringo star

  • October 27, 2013 at 1:39 am

    This has been a great year for Monster Madness. I remember catching up on the series in 2010 and the first Monster Madness season that I watched through out October on it’s release, was Sequel-A-Thon. I haven’t seen many horror films so I was always interested to be educated through each season. Sequel-A-Thon 2 was something I envisioned from the start. I definitely would have been interested in Friday the 13th this year, because even though you’ve covered the series before, you’ve never given your full opinions on each individual film. I’m at my peak with my interest of horror films and am currently reading the Bram Stoker novel of Dracula, so I might as well watch these movies for myself, because you reviewing the series is highly unlikely at this point. Child’s Play is another one i’d like to see from you. Anyways, really interesting article James. Keep up the great work.

  • Peter Tomlinson

    October 27, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Hey James, I love Monster Madness and it is one of the reasons October is my favorite month of the year. I don’t know if you’ve selected the theme for 2014 yet but as a suggestion you could do another history of horror focusing more on films from eras that haven’t been done as much like the ’40s ’90s and 2000’s. Valley of the Zombies is a good film from 1946 for example check it out when you get the chance if you haven’t seen it.

  • y2j420

    October 27, 2013 at 8:00 am

    So if we want our Friday the 13th movie series fix from you, we get:

    A review on the original Friday the 13th…a review on the Friday the 13th remake…and a review on Freddy vs. Jason, which you considered more a Nightmare on Elm Street film…

    So 12 possible Friday the 13th movies and only 2 or 3 films are reviewed…

    How about your views on Jason Lives? Or the under-appreciated New Beginning?

    Effectively the entire series is missing…

    • EmSeeSquared

      October 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Yea, no offense against James, he’s the best, but “The Friday the 13th series has already been well-represented on Cinemassacre” had me scratching my head, cuz it hasn’t really. He’s sure talked about it a lot, but never a look at the entire series. Hopefully one day.

    • Radelta

      October 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Those movies suck balls. Hes not going to review them. Deal with it

      • EmSeeSquared

        October 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        So, you believe he’ll never review them because YOU don’t like them?…makes perfect sense (sarcasm). You realize that James is an outspoken Friday 13th fan, even with a mask signed by Kane Hodder and Betsy Palmer, even cameoed in a Friday 13th documentary, but no, because the movies suck according to you, he’ll never review them. Even if James thinks they suck, it’s never stopped him from reviewing movies he thinks suck before.

  • BrandeX

    October 27, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Evil Dead in 2014?

  • October 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Thanks James, always look forward to these. This year was just as wonderful as previous ones. Not at all bothered you didn’t include Friday the 13th. Everyone already knows and talks about it, I like seeing some lesser discussed franchises get the spotlight.

    For a future monster madness, do you think you will someday do one focusing on foreign films? Those need extra love.

    Hey, would you ever be interested in doing a monster madness outside the film medium? I’ve been getting into some old horror comics, thanks to yoe books/idw collections. That’s certainly an amusing topic to get into. And a lot less time consuming. The first collection they did was one for Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein…

    Oh, and half-joke, 3-5 episodes worth of recorded material could do alright for a horror-themed television-themed monster madness. Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Boris Karloff’s Thriller, Dark Shadows, Scooby Doo WHERE ARE YOU?!?!, Filmation’s live-action 1975 Ghost Busters… lots of fun horror-theme/like shows… not at all a demand, just a light suggestion I’d understand one would rightfully ignore.

    Keep up the nice work, Mr. James sir man.

  • H-Man Ens

    October 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    There is no big rush on The Friday The 13th Franchise James! I just want to see you do all the movies Eventually!

  • BladeRunner

    October 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    It’s surprising to me that some people are making such a big deal about the Friday the 13th thing. I seriously love the Friday the 13th films its my favorite horror series and I’ve seen each film dozens of times. I have them on DVD & VHS and have always just been a huge fan. And I didn’t care at all that he didn’t do the Friday series, I just like to see James talk about horror films in general. Its just sad pretty much seeing him get harassed to review the series. I don’t want to sound like an ass, but don’t worry so much about the films he picks just enjoy the Monster Madness while it’s here!

    • Radelta

      October 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      You have really bad taste in movies if thats your favorite series.

      • BladeRunner

        October 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        its my favorite “horror” series not movie series in general. And in my opinion the Friday the 13th series, at least the first 4 parts are a lot better written than a lot of other horror franchises. At least they have continuity that makes sense. Why is everyone an ass on this site now a days???

  • October 28, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Friday the 13th is one of those super rare movie franchises where the first movie is my least favorite.

    • Joker83

      October 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      oh man I LOVE the first one! The ending is an all time classic, and you gotta love Pamela Vorhees. The worst in the franchise has to be Jason Goes to Hell.

      • BladeRunner

        October 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

        got to agree with you there.

  • Boo Daclown

    October 28, 2013 at 6:35 am

    just review jason on friday the 14th

  • Senna4ever

    October 28, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Love the MM series, but one thing I really dislike. No playlist.
    Having to go back select a vid and watch, then go back select a vid and watch, go back select a vid and watch…31 times.

    A few of the MM series you have put into a playlist, which makes viewing so much better…why not all of them?

    Could you please just put each MM year into their own playlists?

  • Robin Larsson

    October 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Monster Madness is so great and fun to watch, that it made my whole month!

  • A.J.

    October 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    James, great job all around. I know scripting, shooting, and editing can really get time consuming… Most people don’t understand that a two minute video can take hours to bring to completion. I appreciate your explanations on why you choose to review certain videos and not others, but honestly my man, it’s your hard work. We’re just the bloodthirsty mass of consumers that can’t get enough– and you owe no explanation. So, sincerely, from all of us who truly appreciate what you do… Anyone who complains or gives you grief can go suck Mike Matei’s big fat chubby. Peace.

  • Matthew Flanagan

    October 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    As a huge Friday the 13th fan I’m bummed it didn’t happen again this year. But your reasons are totally understandable. I hope one day you can find a way to do the reviews but if not it’s cool. A big thanks to you because it’s your reviews that ultimately got me to check out the Hammer Dracula movies and I thought they were awesome. I intend on getting to the Frankenstein movies eventually as well, so thanks for helping me discover those awesome films.

  • Joker83

    October 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I am a huge Friday the 13th fan. Recently I got the new Blu-Ray box set and Camp Crystal Lake Memories Documentary (7 Hours of awesome!)
    I admit I was looking forward to you covering the movies in Monster Madness, but your reasons for omitting them make sense. Hopefully there will be some time in the future to devote more time to that series. This December has a Friday the 13th on the Calendar (a perfect time to watch Silent Night, Deadly Night actually), and one after that is not until June 2014.

    Anyway, I love Monster Madness and this year is no exception. I loving having that new video to look forward to every morning when I wake up. It’s literally the first thing I do each day.

  • Dan021

    October 29, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I still think yu should do a full Freddy review sometime. Maybe do a combo 2 movies at a time so it takes only 5 videos spot in your calendar?

    Monster Madness is one of my favorite features on your website and this year I’ve introduce your website to many of my friends who became serious fans of your videos.

    Well thank you for the amazing work and this year Monster Madness was really interesting to watch!

  • Sam Alberto

    October 31, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Thank you very much for this year’s Monster Madness, James! I really sat down and watch each of them every day they premiered! You really have introduced me to a variety of new films! And because of you, I literally sat down and watched AMC’s Fear Fest whenever I had the chance! I can’t wait for next year’s Monster Madness!

  • 19Szabolcs91

    October 31, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Actually I wouldn’t mind a 2000s-a-thon one year. True, more people might have seen them as older movies, but there’s plenty of variety and I’d love to hear your opinion on, for example

    – Cabin Fever
    – maybe Perfect Blue, which is animated horror
    – the Saw and Hostel series
    – the Japanese horror movies and their American remakes like The Ring and The Grudge
    – the “found footage” craze (Paranormal Activity, Rec)
    – horror/zombie themed comedies like Zombieland and Warm Bodies
    – the Asylum films (they made quite some horror)
    – Cabin in the Woods

  • May 17, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    fuck all these other people haha. here’s a real request james, how’s about the hammer movies you haven’t covered like the mummy flicks or just the first hammer mummy. curse of the werewolf. werewolf of London, dr. Jekyll mr. hyde, all that classic shit. hammer or wolfman or mummy themes. oh and beetlejuice! its a Halloween movie right…ha or hocus pocus, Halloween tree, like a family Halloween theme?

  • May 17, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    and a 2000 a thon would be mehh. I mean I know you guys would make it work but the movies are lame, I’m obsessed with every “age” of horror but all respect to antique and modern they are the lamest and not worthy of your time haha

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