If you are a movie collector, you’ll be familiar with these two phrases: ‘got it, haven’t watched it’ and ‘it’s in the to watch pile’. Other collectors have them as well, but the word ‘watch’ would be changed for comic collector to ‘read’ or music collectors to ‘listened’ or gamers to ‘played’… Or if you are like me, it’s all of the above!
I have a collection of movies curated since the dawn of DVD; it did start before that, but I sold/ replaced all my VHS with DVD as the new medium releases came out. My fandom comes mainly in the form of horror and exploitation films due to my parents buying me issues of Famous Monsters as a kids, and then I graduated to Fangoria when that appeared.
So I’d better introduce myself: my name is J.R. McNamara, and I guess you could say I have been a horror ‘journalist’ for over ten years. I have done over 300 reviews, mainly movies but books and comics as well, ranging across two Australian websites and have interviewed several members of the professional horror community. My reviews have appeared on the covers of movies over the world, including a Northern European release of Turkey Shoot and the current Australian release of I Spit On Your Grave and one company even used one of my reviews as the online ‘blurb’ for their web store.
As far as collecting is concerned, I am possibly a borderline hoarder. I collect movies, comics, movie posters, toys, movie magazines (mainly Rue Morgue, Horrorhound, The Dark Side and Doctor Who Monthly), movie soundtracks (on vinyl), statues and toys… Phew! I do have one particular film that I buy anything associated of it: I Spit On Your Grave, and I have multiple DVD releases, Australian Beta and VHS tapes and a movie poster from almost every country! I also probably play far too much Xbox!
The ‘To Watch Pile’ is actually a name a group of my friends who get together call ourselves. It’s a fellowship of movie fandom, and the members include Joe Smith, Stuart Jones, Michael Norman and Simon Miller (of @explosiveaction fame) whom as the blog evolves, will join me with reviews and other points of interest. Anytime a review is done by one of these guys, a footnote will be added so you can direct your eternal gratitude or venom in that person’s direction. The wish, eventually, is to combine my YouTube channel and a podcast to the site, in addition to our current Facebook presence. Also, follow me on letterboxd.com/JRMc .
Anyway, what is going to be different about our reviews? Well, firstly, I am going to be doing my reviews alternatively, with a film I’ve never watched before, off the To Watch Pile, followed by a favourite/ well-known film and then back to the other. Thrown in around these reviews will be epic news of relevance, book/ comic/ game reviews, links to the aforementioned YouTube/ podcasts or even just a purchase that I might be doing a happy dance over.
… And no, the happy dance will no be televised.
The review format is going to be like most. A score out of 5 for the film, and in the case of home releases, a score for the extras out of 5, that will be assigned separately. Also, we have some thing a little different: the WISIA index. WISIA stands for ‘Would I See It Again?’ I have found on occasion that I have an enjoyed a film, but have no desire to ever watch it again, and the WISIA index will indicate that. Loved the film, won’t see it again.
Also, the movie reviews will done in any format: cinema, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix…. Hell, even laserdisc if one falls across my lap, and my intention is a weekly one, though the day is yet to be determined… Probably a Monday as it gives me the weekend to watch and review.
So, I hope you enjoy the brew of movies the To Watch Pile offers you, and that you stick around!
Note: All content (c) J.R. McNamara