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.