Dearest fiends, I have something to confess.
Actually, I have several things to confess, but I’ll get to that in a moment. I just discovered Cinema Shame, a group of writers and cinephiles who make a point of actually watching the movies that they only pretend to have seen so that they aren’t ostracized from polite society (or, for those of you who don’t care about polite society, from film Twitter). As their website says:
Everyone’s got those movies that they regret not having seen. They tear at the very being of the movie fan, the movie aficionado, the cinephile. Should our friends find out, we’d be labeled frauds, outcasts.
How have you not seen [insert movie title here]?
Everyone’s heard these exclamations at one point or another, so much so that we probably clutch these secrets so close to our chest it hurts. No one will ever know. But we know. And it eats away at us every time we respond in a Twitter thread or Facebook post with a vague, understated comment that suggests we’ve seen the film in question, without ever committing one slice of concrete knowledge.
I can’t speak for all movie lovers, but this is definitely a feeling I can relate to — I only saw The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II quite recently, and for years (decades, even!) I laughed along with jokes about cannoli and horse heads even though I’d never seen more than a few seconds of either film. I understood the jokes through cultural osmosis, so I wasn’t completely full of it, but I was still panicking and hoping no one would make a more obscure reference or quiz me outright and reveal me as the uncultured swine that I knew myself to be.
This feeling is magnified a thousand times over — for me at least — in horror circles. Horror fans often bond over their love for and knowledge of obscure films, so if there’s just one movie I haven’t seen (or, Black Phillip forbid, haven’t even heard of) I feel like I’ve been permanently denied admission to the Cool Kids’ Club. So it is with much trepidation that I submit my first official Cinema Shame: Horror Edition list to you, dear readers. These are movies that I need to see both as a horror fan and as a very anxious person who is tired of smiling nervously and praying that I don’t get unmasked, Scooby Doo-style, as a fake horror geek. I’m going to stick to the guidelines set forth by the creators in terms of my reviews, but I’m going to play with the timing a bit to make it nice and creepy. So:
6 movies. 6 reviews. 6 weeks. That’s what you’ll get from me as I confess my sins in this first round of Cinema Shame. Interestingly, as I was thinking about movies that I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen before, the first titles that came to mind were nearly all later entries in classic horror franchises. I’ll get into why I think that happened when I discuss the individual films, but now — for your shocked disgust and righteous indignation — I hereby present:
REVENGE OF THE SEQUELS: JESSICA’S SHAMEFULLY UNSEEN FILMS
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Army of Darkness
See, that’s not so bad, right? …Right??
I’ll post a review each week with my thoughts, including any preconceived notions I had about the movies and how my shame affected my viewing, with the header Revenge of the Sequels. (I didn’t want to use the header Cinema Shame because inspiration and credit are cool but name-stealing is not, and Sequels 2: Electric Boogaloo: Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors had too many colons.)
As always, dear fiends, comments are welcome and encouraged. Please let me know if you have any shame of your own to confess. (But if you come up on my website to kick me or anyone else out of the Cool Kids’ Club, kindly see yourself back out the same way you came. Thanks so much for your understanding.) Now, let’s watch some horror!