Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Pt. 1: Video

There are only a few days left to vote for your favorites in the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.  As I’ve heard several people say, the list of nominees acts as a checklist for movies, books, podcasts, etc. that you may want to give a try during the coming year.  But if you haven’t already experienced the nominees, how do you know for which ones to vote?

I have by no means seen every movie, read every book, listened to every podcast, etc.  However, I am making a last-minute stretch to absorb all that I can.  And I thought I’d use this forum to share a little more information that might help you decide… if you, like me, haven’t already voted.  If you have already voted, I hope you’ll enjoy my opinions anyway…

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Category 1: Best Movie of 2016

By definition, no “classic” horror movies were made in 2016, so I understand why the nominees are what they are.  However, since these are “Classic Horror” awards, I question the existence of this category in the Rondo Awards altogether.  Here is the list, with links to my reviews on Boom Howdy and/or Downright Creepy, but if you think about it, there’s only one appropriate choice for this category: Shin Godzilla.

Arrival
Autopsy of Jane Doe
Captain America: Civil War
The Conjuring 2
Deadpool
Doctor Strange
Don’t Breathe
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Ghostbusters
Legend of Tarzan
The Neon Demon
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Passengers
Phantasm: Ravager
The Purge: Election Year
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Shallows
Shin Godzilla
Split
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad
10 Cloverfield Lane
Train to Busan
The Witch

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Category 2: Best Television Presentation of 2016

I have a similar struggle with television, although I am able to arrive at several options based on connections to classic horror and sci-fi.  I mean, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Bates Motel, Doctor Who and Westworld are based on movies and television shows from the era of classic horror.  And both Penny Dreadful and The Walking Dead feature classic monsters like vampires, werewolves and zombies.

If you’ve followed me at all on Downright Creepy, you know I love Bates Motel, and it is the winner in my book.

Bates Motel, “Norman”
Ash vs. Evil Dead, “The Morgue”
Black Mirror, “San Junipero”
Channel Zero, “A Strange Vessel”
Doctor Who, “The Return of Dr. Mysterio”
Penny Dreadful, “A Blade of Grass”
Stan Against Evil, “Dig Me Up, Dig Me Down”
Stranger Things, “The Bathtub”
The Walking Dead, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”
Westworld, “The Bicameral Mind”

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Category 3: Best Classic DVD/Blu-ray

Here we go now with the true classic horror.  Sadly, and I hope this doesn’t make me a hypocrite, I have neither seen, nor do I own, most of the discs in this category.  I won’t share how many I have seen or own; however, I will point out four of my favorites:

Cat People (Criterion)
Carnival of Souls (Criterion)
Carrie (Shout Factory)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Shout Factory)

Of these, I think Cat People is the most significant with its new transfer.  I wrote about it upon its release and you can read all my thoughts here.  It gets my vote.  The other nominees are:

The Black Sleep (Kino)
Chandu the Magician (Kino)
Circus of Fear/Five Golden Dragons (Blue Underground)
Count Dracula’s Great Love (Vinegar Syndrome)
Daughter of Dracula (Kino)
Fantomas (Kino)
Gog 3D (Kino)
Gold (Kino)
It Came From Outer Space (Universal)
Phantasm Remastered (Well Go USA)
Tenebrae (Synapse)
The Thing Collector’s Edition (Shout Factory)

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Category 4: Best Blu-ray Collection

This is a tough one; there are so many big, beautiful Blu-ray sets from which to choose!  While I narrowed it down to Hammer and Vincent Price, the one that ultimately wins is the one for which I personally gained the most new movies in my home library: The Vincent Price Collection III.  Here are all the nominees:

American Horror Project, Vol. 1 (Arrow): Carnival of Blood, The Witch Who Came From the Sea, The Premonition
Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal Blu-Ray)
Guillermo Del Toro Trilogy (Criterion): Cronos, Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth
Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection (Universal): Brides of Dracula, Curse of Werewolf, Evil of Frankenstein, Phantom of Opera, Kiss of Vampire, Paranoiac, Nightmare, Night Creatures)
Hellraiser: Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy (Arrow)
Shock And Gore: The H.G. Lewis Collection (Arrow): 14 films on 17 discs.
The Vincent Price Collection III (Scream Factory): Master of the World, Tower of London, Diary of a Madman, An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, Cry of the Banshee.

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Category 5: Best Restoration or Upgrade

With these home media categories, there is a lot of nominee repetition.  In this case, and to spread the voting a little, I’m going to vote for Son of Frankenstein simply because this version for the first time includes almost a minute of unseen or alternate footage.  This perfectly combines classic horror with something new.  Here are all the nominees:

The Black Sleep (Kino)
Cat People (Criterion)
Carnival of Souls (Criterion)
Carrie (Shout Factory)
Circus of Fear/Five Golden Dragons (Blue Underground)
Count Dracula’s Great Love (Vinegar Syndrome)
Destiny (Kino)
Fantomas (Kino)
Gog 3D (Kino)
It Came From Outer Space (Universal)
The Monster of Piedras Blancas (Olive)
Phantasm Remastered (Well Go USA)
Son of Frankenstein (Universal Blu-Ray)
Tenebrae (Synapse)

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Category 6: Best Commentary of 2016

Sadly, it’s all I can do much of the time to simply watch all the movies I want to watch.  Where do people find time to listen to the commentaries as well?  I’m going to exercise my right to write-in another choice in this category for the one I actually made time to hear:

Nicholas Meyer: Time After Time (Warner Archive).  Doing research for an upcoming project, the commentary was helpful and entertaining.

William Peter Blatty with Michael Felsher: Exorcist III
Stuart Cohen with Michael Felsher: The Thing
David Del Valle & producer Nick Redman: Theater of Blood
Steve Haberman: Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Tim Lucas: Destiny
Gregory Mank: The Lodger
Maitland Mcdonagh: Tenebrae
David Schecter discusses Lex Baxter during Tom Weaver’s commentary on Black Sleep
Richard Harland Smith & Perry Martin: Twice-Told Tales
Tom Weaver with Dr. Robert J. Kiss, David Schecter & Sumishta Brahm): Undying Monster

Category 7: Best DVD Extra

There are some awesome bonus features on these discs, but I’m going to stick with the one true classic in my mind that is separate from the others: Cat People.  Here are all the nominees:

Blood Bath: “The Trouble with Titian Revisited”.  Tim Lucas compares versions of Roger Corman’s troubled production.
Cat People: French TV interview from 1979 with director Jacques Tourneur.
Carnival of Souls: Interview with comedian Dana Gould.
Carrie: Extended interviews with Nancy Allen and other Carrie cast members.
Count Dracula’s Great Love: Legacy interview with Paul Naschy & Javier Aguirre.
Exorcist III: “Legion,” a reconstructed director’s cut of the film.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Interview with writer W.D. Richter & actors Art Hindle & Brooke Adams.
The Thing: New interviews with John Carpenter, Keith David, Wilfred Brimley, other actors & filmmakers.
Tenebrae: Documentary, “Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo.”
Village of the Damned:  “It Takes a Village: The Making of Village of the Damned”

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Category 8: Best Independent Film

I have similar issues with this category that I did with Best Movie.  However, there are a few more here that can be connected directly to a classic horror film.  The Night of Medusa is another of Joshua Kennedy’s homages to Hammer Films.  The Similars is like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone.  Weresquito: Nazi Hunter is another of Christopher R. Mihm’s films shot in the style of a 1950’s-60’s drive-in monster movie.

Of the three, my vote is going to Weresquito: Nazi Hunter.  Here are the other nominees:

The Barn (d. Justin M. Seaman)
The Dark Tapes, (d. Vincent J. Guastini & Michael McQuown)
Dread Central’s Monsterland
A House is Not a Home (d. Christopher Ray)
Hush (d. Mike Flanagan)
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (d. Oz Perkins)
Late Night Double Feature (d. Torin Langen, Navin Ramaswaran & Zachary Ramelan)
Model Hunger (d. Debbie Rochon)
The Monster (d. Bryan Bertino)
SiREN, (d. Gregg Bishop)
The Windmill (d. Nick Jongerius)

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Category 9: Best Short Film

Several of the nominees in this category are on YouTube (links attached), so I’ve watched seven of them.  For my vote, I must support Kansas City local Jill Gevargizian’s short film, The Stylist.  It’s not classic horror; however, it does have elements of giallo in it.  And it’s not an arbitrary vote; it’s a good little film.  Here are the other nominees with my thoughts for the ones I watched:

Eye Of The Beholder (d. Rick Baker)
Rick Baker and family celebrate Halloween with this tribute to the Twilight Zone episode of the same name.  This time, though, there’s a more horrific ending.  Fun, atmospheric film, if not terribly original.

The Beast In The Cave (d. Cameron McCasland)
Written by our friend Larry Underwood (Dr. Gangrene), this film is based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft.  I haven’t read it, but most of the dialogue is narration that seems to have come from the original source.  It’s not terribly polished, but it has a nice ending.

Theatre Fantastique: The Job Interview (d. Ansel Faraj)
I could only find a trailer, but Dark Shadows fans will love the tease that this provides.  Christopher Pennock interviews John Karlen, who talks about how many years he served a vampire.  We don’t see them, but Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker apparently star also.

Monsterkyd Manor (d. Linda Wylie)

A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky (d. by Quarxx)

The Puppet Man (d. Jacqueline Castel)

Samurai Dead, Episode Two (d. Jimmy Ren & Jack Vang)
The goriest of the short film nominees, this is a slick little film with a lot of style.  It’s not my favorite simply because I’m a little tired of zombies, but it’s definitely worth watching.

The Spirit Board (d. Andrea Ricca)
This film features a sweet-looking homemade Ouija board and creates suspense when two young women play around with it.  The end was a little abrupt and I’d have to watch it again to tell you exactly what happened.

Trouser Snake (d. Alex DiVincenzo)
Played purposely for laughs, this film is raunchy, too.  I don’t particularly appreciate the approach in movies, but I’m sure this one has an audience.  Mostly, I just grimaced and grabbed my crotch to protect it, particularly during the bathroom scene.

UFO Diary (d. Jason Apuzzo)

Wraith (d. Daniel James)

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Category 10: Best Documentary

I’ve seen exactly only two documentary nominees.  In competition between Flesh & Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror and Kong: Long Live the King, I vote with Kong.  For one reason, Flesh & Blood is an extended and “remixed” version of a doc that was originally released in 1994.  For another, Kong is the perfect monster kid tribute with nothing but fans talking about the impact King Kong has made on their lives.  Here are the other nominees:

The Carousel (d. Jonathan Napolitano)
Charles Gemora: Uncredited (d. Jason Barnett)
For The Love Of Spock (d. Adam Nimoy)
Just Desserts: The Making Of Creepshow (d. Michael Felsher)
No Stopping the Stover (d. Jeff Herberger)
They Came From the Swamp: The Films of William Grefe (d. Daniel Griffith)
24×36 (d. Kevin Burke)

That’s it for video!  Watch for new posts as I share my thoughts on the print and multi-media nominees, as well as Monster Kid of the Year and The Monster Kid Hall of Fame.

Rondo Award ballots are due April 16, 2017.  Simply send your votes in an email to taraco@aol.com.  You do not have to vote in every category.  For more information, visit  www.rondoaward.com.

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