Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Shockoctober -

ShockMarathons presents: ShockOctober

You ever wonder who would have the cojones to tackle twenty-three movies in forty-eight hours? Well, that would be Matt Farley, Charles Roxburgh and Thomas Scalzo: three ardent cinephiles with a penchant for low-budget glory on the VHS format. And not only did they survive this decidedly adventurous and potentially hazardous feat, but they also managed to write a book about the entire experience. First, a little history on this clan of awesome videovores: ShockMarathons was created by these three fine gentlemen after meeting at Providence College and deciding to begin what has become an intense movie marathon tradition. Since 2002, they’ve published four books about these marathons including ShockDecember (2002), ShockJuly (2004), ShockJune/January (2005), and their newest entry, and the central topic of this article, ShockOctober (2010), which I will introduce with the notion that any person with a propensity for VHS or the horror genre in general will undoubtedly enjoy the material delivered in this publication. In other words, it kicks major ass. So, what the hell is this book all about, you ask? Well, like I said, it’s primarily about three guys that get together once in a while and watch over 20 VHS horror flicks in a two day span. But when you actually read through this book, it sprawls outward and becomes much more than that. From the very beginning of the book, you can feel a kinship with these guys. You can sense the passion they have for the horror genre (and the VHS format!) flowing through every page. You see, this book isn’t just a cut and dried “we watched these movies and this is what we think of them” kind of deal. No, sir. This book is an adventure in every sense of the word with Matt, Charles and Tom as your twisted tour guides. They start you from the beginning stages of the event. And let me tell you, it’s an event in every sense of the word. And what constitutes an event? Preparation and execution! These guys take you to the store as they grab their munchies and drinks, give you the low-down on how they procure these chunks of black gold, and even explain to you how they decide on which movies to watch and in what order. The attention to detail in this book is what really makes it come alive. It’s real; it’s passionate; it’s laugh-out-loud funny. As far as the flicks in the marathon, it’s all the same stuff you might find covered in the pages of LM. Titles like THE RATS ARE COMING! THE WEREWOLVES ARE HERE!, VIDEO MURDERS, IT CAME FROM THE LAKE and Rene Cardona Jr.’s shameless Hitchcock rip-off BEAKS: THE MOVIE along with tons of other flicks that are best viewed on VHS. The reviews are in-depth and injected with each writer’s own brand of humor and criticism. I can’t say that I agree with them 100 percent all the time, but these guys know their stuff; and though opinions may differ, that ever-present affection for the genre and subculture is apparent. And I can dig that. But wait, there’s more! More you ask? Much more! (I quote SLC Punk often, yes). Along with the intimate look into the processes of creating and executing a ShockMarathon , all of the reviews of these low-budget trashterpieces come accompanied by the often-hilarious and appropriately crafted pencil drawings from the hand of Ollie Monsef. And perhaps my favorite facet of the entire book, the ShockMarathon dudes have created awards to distribute among the flicks. Of course, the guys explain how this process of distribution works and then let it rip with categories like Worst Movie, Best Animal, Worst Life Circumstances and even a Lifetime Achievement award. All of the stuff in this section is bound to make you laugh, as is much of the book, but this section in particular is just tops. And to round it all out, Matt, Charles and Tom have thrown together a few short essays addressing topics such as using movie quotes in conversation, the use of Airplanes and Exotic Locations in low-budget films and, of course, a little something on the price of VHS Collecting, all of which further delve you into their world of low-budget appreciation. If you’re on this website reading this piece, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking these dudes out. Not only do they release these radical books, support the preservation of the VHS format and champion the art of the movie marathon sleepover, they are active in releasing low-budget films of their own. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Be sure to check out what ShockMarathons is doing. You can visit them at or search for their publications on– tell ‘em Lunchmeat sent’chya. Josh Schafer

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