Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Pt. 1: Video (Pt. 1: Categories 1-7)

As of today, there’s a month left to cast your votes for the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. I’m overjoyed that is nominated this year in Category 17: Best Website or Blog of 2017 and I appreciate every vote it receives toward actually winning. However, there’s a large number of other categories to consider and I want to spend some time taking an in-depth look at those nominees.

As I wrote last year, and continue to mention every chance I get, the list of nominees is like a huge checklist for the very best that the year gave us in classic horror… or in the spirit of classic horror. For the video categories, in particular, I like to use the ballot to make sure I didn’t miss any great movie, television show, home video release, home video release extra, documentary or short film.

Category 1: Best Movie of 2017

By definition, no “classic” horror movies were made in 2017. However, there’s one movie that is, if anything, a loving tribute to one of the best classic horror movies of all time, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. You may have heard of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water… It just won the Academy Award for Best Picture and there’s no reason the head of Rondo Hatton shouldn’t reside next to Oscar.


Other nominees, with links to my published reviews, where applicable, are:

Alien: Covenant

Annabelle: Creation

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Blade Runner 2049


Cult of Chucky

A Cure for Wellness

Get Out

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Happy Death Day

Stephen King’s It

It Comes at Night

Justice League

Kong Skull Island




The Mummy

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Super Dark Times

Thor Ragnarok

War for the Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Category 2: Best Television Presentation of 2017

So many of the nominees are homages to classic horror, or classic horror related properties… Black Mirror (USS Callister) and The Orville are the best Star Trek shows since Star Trek. Doctor Who lives on. Stranger Things oozes modern-classic horror from the 1980s. They actually made a TV series based on The Exorcist (and it’s actually very good). However, none of these are as much fun as watching Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon playing Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in Feud.

Since write-ins are encouraged for any category, you may want to consider the series finale of Bates Motel (The Cord, 4.24.17, A&E) or the stunning eighth hour of the magnificent Twin Peaks revival on Showtime. While I’d probably still vote for Feud, the omission of these two episodes is worth mentioning.


The nominees are:

American Horror Story: Cult, 11/9 (9.26.17, FX)

Black Mirror, USS Callister (12.29.17, Neflix)

Doctor Who, Twice Upon a Time (12.25.17, BBC America)

The Exorcist, Darling Nikki (11.10.17, Fox)

Feud, You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends? (4.23.17, FX)

Game of Thrones, The Spoils of War (8.6.17, HBO)

The Handmaid’s Tale, A Woman’s Place (5.17.17, Hulu)

The Orville, Pria (10.5.17, Fox)

Stan Against Evil, Girl’s Night (11.8.17, IFC)

Stranger Things, The Gate (10.27.17, Netflix)

The Walking Dead, Bury Me Here (3.12.17 AMC)

Category 3: Best Classic DVD/Blu-ray

While I’m torn between The Old Dark House and Suspiria, both with beautiful home video restorations, even though The Old Dark House teeters on the edge of over-restoration, I’m actually going to vote for Caltiki: The Immortal Monster. It’s the only nominee that I had never seen before the Kino release and I immediately regretted the time I could have spent loving it all those years before.


The nominees are:

Caltiki: The Immortal Monster (1959; Kino)

Deluge (1933, Kino)

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927, Criterion)

The Lost World (1925; Flicker Alley)

The Mad Magician 3D (1954; Twilight Time)

The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959; Kino)

The Old Dark House (1932, Cohen)

Rawhead Rex (1986, Kino)

Suspiria (1977; Synapse)

The Vampire Bat (1933, Film Detective)

World Without End (1956; Warner Archives)

Category 4: Best Collection:

Point of clarification here… the nominees include The Paul Naschy Collection; however, the movies associated with it are from The Paul Naschy Collection II. If it’s between the two, I’m going to write-in and vote for the first collection, simply because I haven’t yet watched the entire second collection. Either one would be a worthy winner considering they were both part of the “year of Naschy” that brought so many of his films to life with excellent home video packages. Note: I would have voted for the George A. Romero collection if Martin had been included.


The nominees are:

Coffin Joe Trilogy (Synapse): At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, Embodiment of Evil

Fritz Lang: The Silent Films (Kino): 11 films on 12 Blu-ray discs

Paul Naschy Collection II (Scream Factory): Hunchback of the Morgue, The Werewolf & the Yeti, The Devil’s Possessed, Exorcism, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse

Night of the Sorcerers/The Loreley’s Grasp (Scream Factory)

The Phantasm Collection (WellGo USA): All five films.

Poltergeist II/Poltergeist III (Scream Factory)

Psycho Circus: 3 Rings of Terror (Mill Creek): The Brotherhood of Satan, Torture Garden, The Creeping Flesh (Mill Creek)

George Romero: Between Night & Dawn (Arrow): There’s Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, The Crazies

Category 5: Best Restoration or Upgrade

With The Old Dark House and Suspiria again splitting my vote, and having already voted for Caltiki: The Immortal Monster, I’m going to make a perhaps controversial choice and vote for Don’t Torture a Duckling.  It’s another one I had never seen and I enjoyed the movie as well as all of the commentaries and bonus features.


Here are all the nominees:

Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941, Kino)

Caltiki: The Immortal Monster (1959; Arrow)

Deluge (1933, Kino)

Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972, Arrow)

The Lost World (1925, Flicker Alley)

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927, Criterion)

The Old Dark House (1932, Cohen)

Suspiria (1977; Synapse).

The Vampire Bat (1933, Film Detective)

Vampire’s Ghost (1945, Olive)

Vampyr (1932, Criterion)

Category 6: Best Commentary of 2017

Thanks to Arrow Video, VCI Home Video and the Rondo Awards, I have become much more diligent about listening to commentary tracks. This is a tough category for me. Rod Barnett, Troy Guinn, Jonathan Rigby, Troy Howarth, and Tim Lucas could all be nominated as “Best Commentarians” for the sheer number of home video releases on which they participated last year. However, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite.

Since I’m spreading the love, I’m going to make another potentially controversial choice and vote for Toby Roan and One Million B.C. He makes the somewhat primitive in the special effects department movie sound like a blockbuster ahead of its time. His commentary, more than the others, convinced me I was watching something much better than it really is. The same could be said for Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan for their commentary on The Blood Spattered Bride (1972, Mondo Macabro). It would be a worthy write-in nominee among all the others.


The nominees are:

Chris Alexander, Cyborg 2087 (Kino)

Rod Barnett & Troy Guinn, The Paul Naschy Collection (Scream Factory)

Nicolas Ciccone, The Lost World (Flicker Alley)

Travis Crawford, The Crazies (Arrow)

Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger, The Gorgon (Indicator)

David Del Valle & Derek Botelho, Suspiria (Synapse)

Michael Grais, Poltergeist II (Shout)

George Pavou & Stephen Thrower, Rawhead Rex (Kino)

Jonathan Rigby, City of the Dead (Arrow)

Sam Sherman, Vampire Bat (Film Detective)

Troy Howarth, Don’t Torture a Duckling (Arrow)

Tim Lucas, Caltiki: The Immortal Monster (Arrow)

James Neibaur, Visit to a Small Planet (Kino)

Toby Roan: One Million BC (VCI)

Michael Schlesinger, Daredevils of the Red Circle (Kino)

Richard Harland Smith, Deluge (Kino)

Tom Weaver, Gary Rhodes, Dr. Robert J. Kiss, The Invisible Ghost (Kino)

Category 7: Best DVD Extra

All right, I’ve got to give Suspiria some love and I think I’ll finally do it here by voting for its bonus feature. A close second would be a write-in for the extra from The Crazies, part of the George Romero: Between Night and Dawn set, in which the locations for filming are visited and compared, then and now, to their scenes in the movie. I’m a nut for nitty-gritty detail like that and would love to visit these locations the next time I’m at Monster Bash.


The nominees are:

Adventures of Captain Marvel (Kino): 10 commentators share duties for all 12 chapters.

Blackenstein (Severin): Interview with sister of writer/producer Frank Saletri, who was mysteriously murdered in his home.

Caltiki: The Immortal Monster (Arrow): Feature with film historian Kim Newman.

Coffin Joe Trilogy (Synapse): The Making of At Midnight I’ll Possess Your Soul.

Don’t Torture a Duckling (Arrow): 1988 interviews with director Lucio Fulci.

Lair of the White Worm (Vestron): Worm Food: The Effects of Lair of the White Worm.

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Criterion): Hitchcock talks with Truffaut, Bogdanovich.

The Lost World (Flicker Alley): High-def restoration of 1913 Willis O’Brien short, The Ghost of Slumber Mountain.

The Mad Magician (Twilight Time): Two Three Stooges shorts in 3D.

Night of the Sorcerers (Scream Factory): Alternate ‘clothed’ version.

The Old Dark House (Kino): Talk with Sara Karloff about her father’s work with James Whale.

Poltergiest III (Shout): Interviews with Nancy Allen.

The Resurrected (Shout): Interview with S.T. Joshi.

Suspiria (Synapse): Half-hour Ballyhoo feature, A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of Suspiria.

Tales from the Hood (Shout): Welcome to Hell, The Making of Tales from the Hood.

Vampire Bat (Film Detective): Melvyn Douglas’ son recalls his father’s life and work.


That’s it for today. Look for my recommendations on the other categories in the coming days.

Voting for the Rondo Awards is really easy! Simply send an email to by midnight on Sunday, April 8, 2018. You don’t have to vote in every category; however, you are limited to one vote.  (Visit for complete details.)

While you’re voting for these great movies, TV shows and home video releases, please consider voting for in Category 17: Best Website or Blog of 2017… only if you like what you see here and believe that it deserves it.

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