16th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

The winners of the 16th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were announced April 12.

The awards are named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, and “honor the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation.” This year’s e-mail vote, conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, a 23-year old online community, drew more than 3,700 ballots, the most ever.

A Rondo Awards Ceremony will be held at the WonderFest Convention in Louisville on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

BEST FILM OF 2017

  • THE SHAPE OF WATER

BEST TV PRESENTATION

  • STRANGER THINGS 2

BEST BLU-RAY/DVD

  • SUSPIRIA LIMITED EDITION (Synapse)

BEST COLLECTION

  • THE PHANTASM COLLECTION (Well Go USA)

BEST RESTORATION

  • SUSPIRIA LIMITED EDITION (Synapse)

BEST COMMENTARY

  • DAVID DEL VALLE, DEREK BOTELHO (Suspiria)

BEST DVD EXTRA

  • A SIGH FROM THE DEPTHS: 40 YEARS OF SUSPIRIA, directed by Daniel Griffith

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

  • THE DEVIL’S CANDY, directed by Sean Byrne

BEST SHORT FILM

  • KONG: STEEL IN LOVE, directed by Tom Woodruff Jr.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • MONSTER KIDS: THE IMPACT OF THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT, directed by James-Michael Roddy

BOOK OF THE YEAR

  • THE ART OF HORROR MOVIES: An Illustrated History by Stephen Jones

BEST MAGAZINE (Classic)

  • SCARY MONSTERS

BEST MAGAZINE (modern)

  • RUE MORGUE

BEST ARTICLE

  • ‘The Epic Untold Saga Behind Frankenstein: The True Story,’ by Sam Irvin, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #38.

BEST INTERVIEW (Award goes to interviewer)

  • The W.I.T.C.H. interviews by Andrea Subassati, RUE MORGUE #178 

BEST COLUMN

  • The Doctor Is In-Sane, by Dr. Gangrene (SCARY MONSTERS)

BEST COVER

  • SCARY MONSTERS #105 by Scott Jackson

BEST WEBSITE

  • birth.movies.death

BEST MULTI-MEDIA SITE

  • TWILIGHT ZONE PODCAST

BEST CONVENTION

  • MONSTER BASH

BEST LIVE EVENT

  • RAY HARRYHAUSEN’S MYTHICAL MENAGERIE, Science Museum Oklahoma

FAVORITE HORROR HOST

  • SVENGOOLIE

BEST HORROR COMIC BOOK

  • MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS, by Emil Ferris

BEST CD

  • HAMMER HORROR: CLASSIC THEMES 1958-1974

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INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
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WRITER OF THE YEAR

  • Patrick McCray

Few people know the secrets of Collinsport more than Patrick McCray, a Dark Shadows expert whose contributions to the Dark Shadows Daybook keep horror’s enduring scare opera alive for new generations. A writer who viewed 1,225 episodes in 45 days, he shares his obsession with Collinsport fans daily.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Mark Maddox

The dazzling artwork of Mark Maddox has become as familiar as the logos of our favorite monster magazines. Whether giving a vibrant vibe to Ghidrah or a somber take on Dracula, the Maddox touch is sure and steady. No wonder his work is nominated for several covers each year.

LINDA MILLER AWARD FOR FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR
(In memory of the late Linda Miller)

  • David G. Hardy

The art of David G. Hardy flows naturally, capturing the hearts and torments of our favorite monsters and supporting players. Whether casual sketches or full-throated portraits, Hardy’s work is in the grand tradition of classic fantasy, propelled by an exuberance of spirit that keeps his horrors…alive.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

  • Sonny Vento of the Haunted Barn Movie Museum

That’s Sonny Vento, now 87, appearing very briefly in 1953 as a longshoreman in THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, just before the Rhedosaur attacks. Vento helped his son, Joey, start the Haunted Barn Movie Museum in New York, which since 1968 has displayed monster props and shown movies to kids young and old. Says Joey: “When we do our Monstrous Movie Memories Show displays, we always do a tribute to dad.” We at the Rondos are delighted to honor a Greatest Generation Monster Kid!

MONSTER KID OF THE YEAR

  • TIM LANZA

A vice president at the Cohen Media Group, Tim was the driving force behind the restoration of James Whale’s OLD DARK HOUSE on Blu-Ray. Working his industry contacts for years, he finally got access to a Library of Congress copy for a 4K restoration. Classic horror fans now have the 1932 film as it was meant to be seen. The Rondos are honored to select Tim Lanza as our Monster Kid of the Year,

THE MONSTER KID HALL OF FAME

  • JUNE FORAY

June Foray was quite literally the voice of several generations, the voice artist behind Rocky and Bullwinkle, Looney Toons, Hanna-Barbera, Disney and scores of commercials and films. Passing away last year at the age of 99, her legacy lives on to the delight of our children and grandchildren.

  • CASSANDRA PETERSON

Taking the tradition of horror hosts to sexy and hilarious heights, Cassandra Peterson’s Elvira character never forgot the dignity of the films she lampooned. For 30 years she’s kept forgotten horror franchises alive. One of the genre’s true pioneers.

  • GREG NICOTERO

In a world of suits and balance sheets, it’s rare that someone who gets it takes charge of a horror franchise as important as THE WALKING DEAD. A trailblazing makeup and effects artist, Nicotero’s deft directing touch keeps the show at the cutting edge of 21st Century storytelling. His work will be a guide for generations of  filmmakers to come.

  • ROBERT TAYLOR

In a world of collectors, few can compare with Robert Taylor, whose rooms of show business memorabilia from the early 1900s to the fright films of the 50s is a living museum. With access to Forrest J Ackerman’s writings and Vincent Price artwork, Taylor is a master of ephemera that matters. In addition, his years of serving as Sara Karloff’s aide de camp at conventions and elsewhere have kept icons available to fans and researchers. Shown above with Victoria Price and Karloff, Robert is a true gentleman of the genre.

  • HARUO NAKAJIMA

For decades he was the anonymous man in the Godzilla suit, walking silently through miniature cities. It was hot in the suit, he said later, sometimes he was injured. But Haruo Nakajima never faltered as he kept Toho’s monster franchise on schedule. Late in life fans learned his names and flocked to him at conventions. When he died at age 88, Nakajima knew that in his own way, he was a star.

  • MIKE HILL

Mike Hill’s lifelike sculpts of famous monsters can take your breath away. Full-size and detailed down to the tear on a teenage werewolf’s pants leg, Hill’s work reveals the humanity in even the fiercest of creatures. His work on the merman in THE SHAPE OF WATER shows his Hollywood  influence has only just begun.

Pixel Scroll 3/27/18 Godstalk It, Jake, It’s Pixel Scroll

(1) READ THE GAME. The Read it Forward site is celebrating Ready Player One’s theatrical debut this week with an interactive 8-bit-inspired excerpt that “gamifies” the prologue from Ernest Cline’s novel. [Click on the GIF to view.]

Read your way to the top of the Scoreboard as you earn points for discovering Easter eggs that bring the content to life. As readers learn of Parzival’s hunt for the keys to OASIS, they’ll maneuver their way around a maze, attend an ‘80s dance party, unlock footnotes, and more. Upon completion, readers can add their name to a Scoreboard and share their score with a link to the excerpt on social media. All of the excerpt’s hidden extras are unlocked once a reader earns the maximum score of 10,000 points.

(2) TV INTEREST IN THREE-BODY PROBLEM. From io9: “Report: Amazon May Pay $1 Billion to Adapt the Hugo-Winning Chinese Novel The Three-Body Problem”.

The Hugo-winning Chinese novel The Three-Body Problem could become Amazon’s Game of Thrones. A new report from Financial Times suggests Amazon is pursuing a deal to make a three-season television show based on the trilogy from Liu Cixin, and it may be willing to pay up to $1 billion to do so.

According to the Financial Times report, international investors say Amazon is negotiating for the rights to produce three seasons based on Remembrance of Earth’s Past, the scifi trilogy more commonly known by the title of its first book, The Three-Body Problem.

In a statement reported by Chinese news outlets, YooZoo Pictures stated that it remains the sole owners for the film and TV rights for The Three-Body Problem, though it didn’t comment on whether Amazon had approached the company or were in talks with them to collaborate on this reported streaming project. Cixin was also asked about this development by Chinese news outlet MTime.com, where he revealed he knew nothing about the project and doesn’t know if he’d be invited to work on it.

(3) DISSENTING VOICE. In contrast to those looking forward to the movie, Vox says “The Ready Player One book used to be considered a fun romp. Then Gamergate happened,” in “The Ready Player One backlash, explained”.

A time traveler from 2011 could be forgiven for being deeply confused by this response. In 2011, Ready Player One was beloved. It was “a guaranteed pleasure.” It was “witty.” It was not only “a simple bit of fun” but also “a rich and plausible picture of future friendships in a world not too distant from our own.”

What gives? How did the consensus on a single book go from “exuberant and meaningful fun!” to “everything that is wrong with the internet!” over the span of seven years?

… But the main thing Ready Player One is doing is telling those ’80s-boy-culture-obsessed gamers that they matter, that in fact they are the most important people in the universe. That knowing every single goddamn word of Monty Python and the Holy Grail can have life-or-death stakes, because why shouldn’t it? (Yes, that is a crucial step in Wade’s battle to save the OASIS.)

For readers in Cline’s target demographic in 2011, that message felt empowering. For readers who weren’t, it felt like a harmless piece of affirmation meant for someone else. Everyone deserves a silly escapist fantasy, right? And since Cline’s silly escapist fantasy wasn’t specifically meant for girls — unlike, say, Twilight, which was getting savaged in popular culture at the timeReady Player One was largely left alone by the people it wasn’t built for…

(4) ASHBY STORY. This month’s entry in the Future Tense Fiction series, “Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby, is a free read at Slate.

A partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University, Future Tense explores how emerging technologies will change the way we live. The latest consumer gadgets are intriguing, but we focus on the longer-term transformative power of robotics, information and communication technologies, synthetic biology, augmented reality, space exploration, and other technologies. Future Tense seeks to understand the latest technological and scientific breakthroughs, and what they mean for our environment, how we relate to one another, and what it means to be human. Future Tense also examines whether technology and its development can be governed democratically and ethically.

And there’s also a response essay from Ian Harris, who works on technology issues with the National Network to End Domestic Violence: “The Complicated Relationship Between Abuse and Tech”.

Violence against women is having something of a moment right now. Which is to say, portrayals of domestic violence in film and TV are gaining critical acclaim. Through shows like Big Little Lies and movies like I, Tonya, popular culture is grappling with more nuanced representations of domestic violence and the humanity of survivors of abuse. These are important conversations, and I hope that this is the start of a profound societal transformation, though time will tell. For me, the most disturbing part of these portrayals is not the brutality of the assaults, but how frequently physical violence is prioritized over other types of abusive behavior. It is what we don’t see that worries me.

We see this distorted prioritization in real life, too. I’ve been a domestic violence attorney for more than a decade. Despite the long list of clients who have struggled to get the justice system to live up to its name, I have found that survivors are much more likely to get help for physical assaults than for other kinds of abusive behavior such as stalking, surveillance, harassment, and intimate image disclosures, which frequently feel more harmful to the survivor.

(5) AVENGERS PLUG. A new TV spot for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War.

The end is near. One month until Avengers: Infinity War.

 

(6) SEARCH FOR DIVERSE FICTION. Rocket Stack Rank has another new feature. Greg Hullender explains:

In response to readers who wanted a way to find good stories by diverse authors, we did an analysis of the most-recommended short speculative fiction stories written by people of color in 2015 and 2016 — “Best People of Color SF/F of 2015-2016”.

This only looks at stories that got some sort of recognition (e.g. solid recommendation from a prolific reviewer, inclusion in a years-best anthology, finalist for a major award), so just 481 stories across those two years. Of those, 112 were written by people of color.

The credit for this work goes to Eric Wong, who did the hard work of looking up information on all the authors as well as customizing the software to let readers group the data different ways.

(7) BLOWN UP, SIR. In “This teacher aims to get kids fired up about chemistry”, the Washington Post’s Kitson Jazynka profiles University of Texas chemistry instructor Kate Biberdorf, who “breathes fire and makes explosions that blast the eyes out of jack-o-lanterns.”

Or what about one who, with a quick pour of potassium iodide into a mix of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and food coloring, makes bubbly foam that shoots toward the ceiling? Kate Biberdorf is no imaginary teacher. She’s real, and she’s coming to Washington next month, bringing along her blowtorch and cornstarch, her supplies of liquid nitrogen and dry ice, and a lot of enthusiasm for chemistry.

Bibersdorf’s website is http://katethechemist.com/.  How could Filers NOT be interested in a woman who says her goal in life is “to have an explosive science show in Vegas?”

(8) HELP BILL SPENCER. Paul Di Filippo urges readers to support a GoFundMe that will “Give Back to Bill Spencer”.

We all need a little help sometimes. This is one of those times for Bill. He has several different health issues going on right now and the medical expenses he is incurring that are not covered through Medicare are mounting and could get much worse.   As well, he’s facing some unforeseeable out of pocket expenses that could potentially end up being a serious problem.   Right now, Bill simply doesn’t have enough for monthly bills, day to day living expenses and numerous co-pays that keep coming his way for various medical necessities.

Many readers know Bill as the award-winning writer William Browning Spencer, author of novels like Zod Wallop, Resume with Monsters and short-story collections like his latest, The Unorthodox Dr. Draper and Other Stories.

But Bill has contributed to others in a very different way as well.  By freely and graciously donating endless amounts of his time over the years to sponsoring and supporting people who are facing their own daunting problems related to alcohol, drugs and living life.  It’s time to give back to Bill what he has so freely given.

This is something Bill would never ask for himself, but he is one of my best friends and I know he is important to folks like yourself, who may wish to help in his time of need.  Bill is truly one of the most amazing, caring and hilarious human beings I know and if you’re reading this you most likely feel the same.  I think we’d all love for Bill to have the peace of mind of knowing that, whatever happens, he need not be stressed out and worried each day about how he’s going to pay for medication or a test or procedure he needs on top of his modest monthly and day to day expenses.

(9) BISCHOFF OBIT. Writer David Bischoff, 66, of Eugene, OR died March 19. He was a contributor to Doug Fratz’ 1970s fanzine Thrust. His first professional successes included The Seeker, a novel published in 1976, and the Nebula-nominated story “Tin Woodman,” co-authored with Dnnis Bailey, later adapted into both a novel and TV episode for Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also wrote the Star Trek tie-in novel Grounded, which spent time on the bestseller list. His other TV work included Dinosaucers (with Ted Pedersen). Bischoff wrote 75 original novels, and tie-in novels for movies and TV series.

David Bischoff. Photo by and copyright Andrew Porter.

(10) A POLICEMAN’S LOT. Camestros Felapton reacted to Richard Paolinelli’s minor league prank of complaining to the Aussie cops about Felapton’s blog.

(11) MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE. “The hidden history of the UK’s highest peak”: A tourist hiking trail once led to an early weather station whose records are now being used to trace climate change.

Back in Victorian Britain, science was still largely an amateur pastime conducted by bands of self-financed enthusiasts who formed scientific societies. One was the Scottish Meteorological Society, which set up and maintained a network of weather stations across Scotland between 1855 and 1920.

(12) WAVE GOODBYE. “Stephen Hawking’s final interview: A beautiful Universe” starts from LIGO discovery of grav waves.

Tell us how important is the detection of two colliding neutron stars?

It is a genuine milestone. It is the first ever detection of a gravitational wave source with an electromagnetic counterpart. It confirms that short gamma-ray bursts occur with neutron star mergers. It gives a new way of determining distances in cosmology. And it teaches us about the behaviour of matter with incredibly high density.

(13) MAY THE ODDS BE ALWAYS IN YOUR FAVOR. Don’t look up — “Tiangong-1: China space station may fall to Earth ‘in days'”.

Should I be worried?

No. Most of the 8.5-tonne station will disintegrate as it passes through the atmosphere.

Some very dense parts such as the fuel tanks or rocket engines might not burn up completely. However, even if parts do survive to the Earth’s surface, the chances of them hitting a person are incredibly slim.

“Our experience is that for such large objects typically between 20% and 40% of the original mass will survive re-entry and then could be found on the ground, theoretically,” the head of Esa’s space debris office, Holger Krag, told reporters at a recent briefing.

“However, to be injured by one of these fragments is extremely unlikely. My estimate is that the probability of being injured by one of these fragments is similar to the probability of being hit by lightning twice in the same year.”

(14) WEDDING BELLS. Page Six headline: “‘Star Trek’ star marries Leonard Nimoy’s son”:

Live long and prosper, you two.

Adam Nimoy, son of the late “Star Trek” icon Leonard Nimoy, and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” actress Terry Farrell married on Monday, on what would’ve been Leonard Nimoy’s 87th birthday.

The couple tied the knot in a civil ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco, according to film critic Scott Mantz, who tweeted a photo of the couple on their wedding day. Farrell retweeted Mantz’s photo and wrote, “Freakin AWESOME day!!!!!!! Love ya all! Aka: Mrs. Adam Nimoy.”

She also changed her Twitter bio to include “Mrs. Adam Nimoy.”

(15) COMPLAINTS ABOUT DATE OF HUGO ANNOUNCEMENT. The announcement of the 2018 Hugo finalists wouldn’t be on March 31/Passover/Easter weekend/a Saturday if it was up to these folks:

(16) VERTLIEB CANVASSES. Rondo Awards voting closes April 8 at midnight and Steve Vertlieb hopes people will consider his nominated article “Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight” for Best Article of the Year.

My published work about the author of “Psycho” … “Robert Bloch: The Clown At Midnight” … has been nominated for a Rondo Award for “Best Article of the Year.” Anyone can vote.  This year’s competition ends Sunday night, April 8th, at midnight. To vote for my remembrance of Robert, simply send your choice, along with your name, to taraco@aol.com

This is the story of my twenty five year friendship with acclaimed writer Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho. It is the newly published remembrance of a complex, remarkable man, and our affectionate relationship over a quarter century.

Robert Bloch was one of the founding fathers of classic horror, fantasy, and science fiction whose prolific prose thrilled and influenced the popular genre, its writers, and readers, for much of the twentieth century. An early member of “The Lovecraft Circle,” a group of both aspiring and established writers of “Weird Fiction” assembled by Howard Phillips Lovecraft during the early 1930’s, Bloch became one of the most celebrated authors of that popular literary genre during the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s, culminating in the publication of his controversial novel concerning a boy, his mother, and a particularly seedy motel. When Alfred Hitchcock purchased his novel and released “Psycho” with Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh in 1960, Bloch became one of the most sought after authors and screen writers in Hollywood. His numerous contributions to the acclaimed television anthology series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” are among the best of the director’s classic suspense series, while his legendary scripts, adaptations and teleplays for Boris Karloff’s “Thriller” series for NBC are among the most bone chilling, frightening, and horrifying screen presentations in television history. He also famously penned several classic episodes of NBC’s original “Star Trek” series for producer Gene Roddenberry. Writers Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Harlan Ellison have written lovingly and profusely of their own literary debt to Robert Bloch. Bob was, for me, even more significantly, a profoundly singular mentor and cherished personal friend for a quarter century. This is the story of that unforgettable relationship.

(17) NUMBER PLEASE. A strange post at George R.R. Martin’s Not a Blog caught Greg Hullender’s eye: “I wonder if this is a coded announcement that Winds of Winter is coming?” “Yowza” consists of a series of pictures of hands with finger extended as though counting. But does the number 4534 really mean anything?

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Joey Eschrich, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Ghostbird, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Greg Hullender, Paul DiFilippo, and Mark Hepworth for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

2018 Rondo Awards Nominees

Online voting has begun for the 16th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any or all 29 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 8.

As teaser, here are the Best Movie, Best Television Presentation, and Best Article finalists.

BEST MOVIE OF 2017

  • ALIEN: COVENANT
  • ANNABELLE: CREATION
  • THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER
  • BLADE RUNNER 2049
  • COLOSSAL
  • 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
  • LIFE
  • LOGAN
  • MOTHER!
  • THE MUMMY
  • THE SHAPE OF WATER
  • STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
  • SUPER DARK TIMES
  • THOR RAGNAROK
  • WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
  • WONDER WOMAN

BEST TELEVISION PRESENTATION OF 2017

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT, ’11/9.’ 9.26.17, FX. Election results spark a murderous cult from both sides. ‘Take pain in one hand and anger in another. Use them.’
  • BLACK MIRROR, ‘USS Callister,’ 12.29.17, NETFLIX. A creepy take on fandom and Star Trek. ‘But then you threw my son out of an airlock.’
  • DOCTOR WHO, ‘Twice Upon a Time,’ 12.25.17, BBC America. The Twelfth Doctor, refusing to regenerate, meets the First Doctor. ‘There’s a few false starts, but you get there in the end.’
  • THE EXORCIST, ‘Darling Nikki,’ 11.10.17, FOX. An attempt to draw the Demon out of hiding. ‘After they’ve gone, we’ll start putting this house together again.’
  • FEUD, ‘You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?’ 4.23.17, FX. The Bette Davis-Joan Crawford finale includes recreation of Crawford filming TROG. ‘My mother told me to never speak ill of the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.’
  • GAME OF THRONES, ‘The Spoils of War,’ 8.6.17. A spectacular battle of fire and ice. Dragons, too. ‘I will fight for you. I will fight for the North. When you bend the knee.’
  • THE HANDMAID’S TALE, ‘A Woman’s Place,’ 5.17.17, HULU. An ambassador brings short-lived hope. ‘We let them forget their real purpose. We won’t let that happen again.’
  • THE ORVILLE, ‘Pria’ 10.5.17, FOX. Charlize Theron guests as an alien from the future. ‘When we get to my century, I’ll introduce you to Amelia Earhart.’
  • STAN AGAINST EVIL, ‘Girl’s Night,’ 11.8.17, IFC. Jeffrey Combs guest stars as Impish Man. ‘Answer the door. Then step outside and lock it, and everything will be great.’
  • STRANGER THINGS, ‘The Gate,’ 10.27.17, NETFLIX. Eleven and others confront beasts from the Upside Down. ‘I never gave up on you. I called you every night.’
  • THE WALKING DEAD, ‘Bury Me Here,” 3.12.17 AMC. Carol rejoins the fight after a delivery to the Saviors goes bad. ‘We have to fight. We do. But not today..’

BEST ARTICLE

  • ‘Battle of the Monster Makers: The Science Behind Henry and Victor Frankenstein,’ by Mark C Glassy, PhD, SCARY MONSTERS #103. The science behind Universal and Hammer’s dueling mad doctors.
  • ‘Boris Karloff: Host of NBC’s Thriller,’ by Dr. Robert J. Kiss, CLASSIC IMAGES #507. How the horror icon held viewers spellbound.
  • ‘Caltiki: The Name Written in Tripe,’ by Tim Lucas. SCREEM #33. The rediscovery of Mario Bava’s role in his Italian monster movie.
  • ‘Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight,’ by Steve Vertlieb, THETHUNDERCHILD.COM. Recalling a 25-year friendship with the author of Psycho.
  • ‘Could the Zombo Show Be Successful Today?’, by Mike DeMesa (art by Rob Costello), SCARY MONSTERS #103. A wistful look at the Munsters short-lived horror host.
  • ‘The Epic Untold Saga Behind Frankenstein: The True Story,’ by Sam Irvin, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #38. More than 100 pages on the 1973 NBC miniseries that brought elegance and star-power to Mary Shelley’s monster.
  • ‘Fan Therapy: Subscription Boxes,’ by Nathan Hanneman, HORRORHOUND #63. What do you actually get in those horror mystery boxes? HH opens them up.
  • ‘The Future of Horror: Directing a New Generation,’ by Nathan Hanneman and staff, HORRORHOUND #68. A look at directors who will be taking the genre in scary new directions.
  • ‘The Great and Secret Showman,’ by Sean Plummer, RUE MORGUE #176. The myths and truths behind Satanist Anton Lavey.
  • ”How Do You Solve a Problem Like Carmilla, Part Two,’ by John-Paul Checkett, VIDEO WATCHDOG #184. More surp[rising films based on LeFanu’s novella.
  • ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ by Nige Burton, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #9. An in-depth look at the 1939 all-time classic.
  • ‘James Whale,’ a three-part article by Neil Pettigrew, DARK SIDE #183, 188, 189. Visits to Whale’s birthplace and stage career offer insights to his Universal monsters.
  • ‘Less Is More: on the Need to Return to Generic Horror,’ by Preston Fassel, HeardTell.com. A prescription for change.
  • ‘The Mummy: 85 Years of Stalking,’ by Jon Kitley with Jason Jink Jenkins, HORRORHOUND # A museum-full of mummified films, toys, games and artifacts.
  • ‘Music to our Fears,’ by Jamie Jones, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #6. Dissecting the horror themes that made so many films so memorable.
  • ‘The Night of the Eagle Revisited,’ by Clive Dawson, DARK SIDE #181. The many incarnations of Burn Witch Burn.
  • ‘The Obscure Cinematic Lore of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,’ by Steve Joyce, the Journal of Stevenson Studies, Vol. 13. Exploring the many silent-film takes on one of literature’s original monsters.
  • ‘The Old Dark House, Fixed Up Good as New,’ by Tom Weaver, CLASSIC IMAGES #509. Interviews and tons of facts about the newly restored James Whale classic.
  • ‘Paul Blaisdell: The Strange Creature of Topanga Canyon,’ by Vincent di Fate, SCARY MONSTERS #104-105. The low-budget triumphs and career heartbreak of a master monster maker.
  • ‘Paul Naschy,’ by Rod Barnett, SCREEM #34. An expert examines the latest Naschy resurgence.
  • ‘Phyllis Coates, or Loosing Lois Lane in New York,’ by Bruce Dettman, FILMFAX #150. A first-person account of escorting the Superman star to a Manhattan convention.
  • ‘The Production of Universal’s Invisible Man Returns,’ by Greg Mank, MONSTER BASH #29. How Vincent Price went invisible.
  • ‘Regarding the Incomparable Acting Career of Peter Lorre,’ by Lucas Paris, MONDOCULT.com. The performances are the thing in this look at one of horror’s most singular presences.
  • “The Road to Hell: The Making of To the Devil a Daughter and the Unmaking of Hammer,’ by David Taylor, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #39. How Hammer blew a last chance to stay afloat.
  • ‘Supernatural Folklore in the Japanese Ghost Film,’ by Kat Ellinger, DIABOLIQUE #26. Tracing the cultural roots of apparitions and demons.
  • ‘Triple Threat: Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster,’ by Martin Arlt, MAD SCIENTIST #32. Everything, and more, you need to know about Godzilla’s arch-nemesis.
  • ’20 Years of Monsters,’ by Michael Ramsey and Deborah Painter, MONSTER BASH #30. A look back at two decades of fandom’s most monster-friendly convention.

Filer Steve Vertlieb’s article “Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight” is up for a “Best Article” Rondo Award, and he’d be glad to have you read and consider voting for it. Anyone can vote – simply send an e-mail to David Colton (taraco@aol.com) with their name, e-mail, and the nominees they’re voting for. Everyone may vote just once. Voting ends Sunday night, April 8, 2018, at midnight.

Pixel Scroll 9/16/17 We’ll Have Fun, Fun, Fun, ‘Til Her Daddy Scrolls The Pixel Away.

(1) PROOF AND REPROOF. David Brin, after congratulating N.K. Jemisin for her latest Hugo win, asks readers to predict what’s coming next in the sff genre, in “Perspectives from Science Fiction: Hugos and other marvels”.

Oh and also, let’s celebrate that science fiction has always – and yes always, ever since it was founded by our revered grandmother of SF, Mary Wollstonecraft (Shelley) – been the genre of literature most welcoming to bold ideas about human and non-human diversity, and brashly exploratory authors. Yes, SF was always “better than its times” when it came to such things, though every decade deserved the reproof of later decades, for its own myopic misdeeds. Leaving our self-critical movement always looking for the next cause for self-improvement!

So what are we doing now, that will cause later generations of brave questioners and boundary-pushers to reprove? What terrible habit will reformers tell us to break next, when we get the upper hand on racism, sexism and cultural conformity? I think I know what it will be! (Hint: what is the most harmful and nasty thing that even good people now routinely do to each other, with barely a thought to fairness or consequences? And I include people as good as you envision yourself to be. Discuss in comments, below.)

(2) THE SHAPE OF YEARS TO COME. And at Examined Worlds, Ethan Mills wants to know “Where did all the far-future science fiction go?”

This is a question I’ve thought about a lot lately.  I recently re-read the last book in the Dune series and am working my way through the delightfully/impossibly difficult Book of the New Sun, which my Goodreads review describes as “like taking an acid trip through a thesaurus.”

These days far-future stuff is harder to find.  There’s even a popular genre of science fiction that takes place in the past: steampunk.  Contemporary readers will call a book “far future” if it takes place a mere few hundred years or even sooner. See this list of allegedly “far future” science fiction that puts Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 on the list, and even more weirdly, Charles Stross’s Accelerando.  One of the main complaints about Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves was that people didn’t care for the the part that takes place in thousands of years (which for the record was my favorite part — see my review for more).

(3) THE RONDO OF A LIFETIME. Steven J. Vertlieb recently found buried digital treasure:

Discovered these wonderful photographs for the first time recently on my brother’s cell phone while vacationing in Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago. This marvelous shot was taken in Louisville, Kentucky during the prestigious annual Rondo Award ceremony in early June, 2016, after which actor, director, artist, writer, and old pal Mark Redfield and I were awarded these coveted Rondo “Hall of Fame” plaques in joyous recognition of a lifetime of creative productivity, and dedication to the arts.

(4) PUPPIES AND RACE.  In “Words Matter, Actions Matter and Race Definitely Matters” at Amazing Stories, Chris M. Barkley rebuts author Christopher Nuttall’s editorial, “A Character Who Happens To Be Black”.

When a writer, of any ethnicity, admits using characters of different ethnicities without even the slightest hint of any sort of context for doing so, it is the worst sort of cultural appropriation and is an insult to his readers as well. Using the “I don’t see color” explanation to pander his own world view about race may be satisfying to his bubble of readers ordering online, but I am quite willing to bet it would not pass muster at most publishing houses or with discerning and critical readers as well.

By erasing ethnicity, class or race as a factor in his characters, Mr. Nuttal is stating those centuries of history and culture, on which his future or fantasy worlds are built upon, don’t matter or worse, never happened. By homogenizing his black characters with his white male viewpoint, he is giving them the “gift” of being white and being as good as anyone else and calling for their heritage and culture is a bad thing and should essentially be swept under the rug. His attempt to do so does not make them equal, it diminishes them. It’s disingenuous at the very least and a patronizing example of white privilege at worse.

No person who is consciously aware of their ethnicity, culture and history would tolerate such a cleansing. By taking away their joy, you also take away their sorrow and their history. We are all human and that is the factor that should unites us, not divide us. By erasing our differences to make everyone the same, no one is special or an individual.

(5) APOLOGIZING. At Fast Company, Mike Su proffers “7 Lessons White People Can Learn From Bodega’s Apology”.

… Setting aside the idea of rebranding a mini-bar and putting it in apartment buildings and street corners and calling it disruption, there are some important lessons that can be learned from their poor apology that can be particularly important for well-meaning white people to understand when they unintentionally offend. Here are my key takeaways:

1. “I Didn’t Mean To” Doesn’t Matter

“Despite our best intentions and our admiration for traditional bodegas…”

Most of the post was focused on helping people understand what they were really trying to do. Why they weren’t super evil, and all the steps that they took, and basically, “I know we seemed like assholes, but we’re not! Or, at least, we didn’t mean to be!”

But here’s the thing?—?just cause you didn’t mean to hurt someone doesn’t mean you didn’t actually hurt them.

But if you spend all your time explaining what you meant to do?—?you’re spending all your effort on trying to make yourself look less bad, and make yourself feel less bad. That may do it for you, but then your apology is not about actually making the person you offended feel any better. Which leads me to…

(6) IN THE NEWS. Brookline, MA Town Meeting member (and noted sf writer) Michael A. Burstein isn’t kidding: “Town Leaders Seek to Make ‘Selectwoman’ the Official Title”.

“There’s been some recent interest in Massachusetts to change the name of board of selectmen to something that would be a bit more gender-neutral,” said Michael Burstein, a town meeting member.

Two warrants have been submitted to the Board of Selectmen and take aim at changing the governing body’s title and title of its members.

“One of them is kind of a straight forward and just wants to create gender-neutral language,” said Hamilton.

The other warrant filed by Burstein is very specific.

“I deliberately and specifically filed a warrant to change the name of Board of Selectmen to Board of Selectwomen,” he said.

The Boston NBC affiliate interviewed him for its September 14 news broadcast.

(7) ROMM OBIT. SF Site News reports the death of Minneapolis fan Baron Dave Romm.

Fan Dave E Romm (b.1955) died on September 14. Dave was active in Minneapolis fandom and was an avid photographer, taking pictures of various Minicons and other conventions he was able to get to. He traveled to Antarctic in 2005 and wrote about his experience in Argentus. He also hosted Shockwave Radio Theatre on KFAI-AM and archived the podcasts on his website. Romm became a baron of the micro-country of Ladonia in 2001.

(8) GOGOS OBIT. Bloody Disgusting bids farewell to “Legendary Monster Artist Basil Gogos” (1939-2017)  who died September 14.

Some of the most iconic pieces of classic monster art were found on the front covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine throughout the ’60s and ’70s, that art no doubt responsible for countless monster kids being bitten by the proverbial bug. Vibrant and eye-catching, the magazine’s cover art made horror stylish, beautiful and cool.

Those paintings were the work of illustrator Basil Gogos, who we’re sad to report is the latest in a long line of true horror legends who have recently left us….

Gogos also provided cover art for several other Warren magazines including Creepy, Eerie, Spaceman, Wildest Westerns and The Spirit.

(9) HANGDOG CHARACTER ACTOR. Harry Dean Stanton (1926-2017) died September 15 says The Hollywood Reporter.

Stanton, who also was memorable in Cool Hand Luke (1967), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), John Carpenter’s Escape From New York (1981) and John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink (1986) — in fact, what wasn’t he memorable in? — died Friday afternoon of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his agent, John Kelly, told The Hollywood Reporter.

(10) TODAY’S DAY

Play-Doh Day

Play-Doh Day is an opportunity for everyone, whether a child or simply young at heart, to celebrate this iconic modeling clay. Play-Doh was originally developed in the 1930’s, not as a toy but as a product for cleaning wallpaper! It was not until the 1950’s that it was marketed as a toy, in the trademark vibrant colors of red, blue, yellow and white.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 16, 1926 — Many people reported seeing lake monster Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.
  • September 16, 1963 The Outer Limits premiered on television.
  • September 16, 1977 — Returned television audiences to the world of Logan’s Run.
  • September 16, 1983 – The aptly-titled Strange Invaders was first screened.

(12) TODAY’S FORBIDDEN PLANET BIRTHDAYS

  • Born September 16, 1927 — Jack Kelly
  • Born September 16, 1930 — Anne Francis

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born September 16, 1917 – Art Widner

(14) JAY KAY KLEIN PHOTOS. Crowdsourced identification of Jay Kay Klein’s digitized fanhistorical photos is proceeding apace.

J.J. Jacobson, the Jay Kay and Doris Klein Science Fiction Librarian at the UC Riverside Library, says —

The first re-index of the Klein photos on Calisphere has loaded. We’ve harvested amazing amounts of amazing information, thanks to the generosity of the fan community.

She has been keeping an eye on the info form and as of September 11 there had been 448 entries, many of them containing multiple identifications.

(15) QUARRELING CURATORS. New Statesman says “Two museums are having a fight on Twitter and it’s gloriously informative”. They’ve collected the tweets.

2017 is undoubtedly the year of the feud. As celebrities and corporations alike take to Twitter to hash things out, two of the UK’s most respected scientific institutions, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum have got in on the action.

It all started with this rather innocous tweet, during The Natural History Museum’s Ask a Curator event on Twitter, where users could tweet in questions to The Natural History Museum’s twitter account. The resulting back and forth is both amusing and educational….

(16) THE TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN’S INTELLIGENCE… JC Carlton’s goodbye to Jerry Pournelle at The Arts Mechanical begins with a memory of the author’s opposition to the lowered expectations policy of the Seventies. That was one of the first things that came to my own mind when I heard he had died. And while Carlton was looking at another collection of his science essays, I was taking down That Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff from my own shelf.

At a time when technical optimists were as scarce as hen’s teeth, at least in the public eye, Jerry was unabashedly that technical optimist.  I did a post about  A Step Farther Out when I started this blog and how relevant it still remains today.

https://theartsmechanical.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/stepping-farther-out/

At a time when the language of the day all across the media was how we were all DOOMED, DOOMED by the monsters of our own creation and that there was nothing that could be done to save us.  Even the best stuff in media, like the classic series Connections was mildly pessimistic. Contrast that with any column in A Step Farther Out. 

… He thought though that, that people wouldn’t just collapse into a series of unending ghettos and endless tyranny.  he thought that people would use the skill and minds, the technologies that humans had created to overcome the problems we had.  He never accepted that we would just surrender and mostly die. he was also optimistic that with a little more oomph people would reach for the stars and create wealth for all.

(17) THE BREWS THAT MADE SPEC FIC FAMOUS. Charles Payseur is back with another installment of his review column where he pairs short stories with the appropriate beer: “THE MONTHLY ROUND – A Taster’s Guide to Speculative Short Fiction, 08/2017”.

Welcome! Pull up a stool—let me tell you what’s on tap today. August represents the height of summer for some, and for others the first step toward Autumn. For my SFF reading, the month seems full of heat, decay, distance, and ghosts. Which makes a certain amount of sense, what with 2017 on its downward slope, having cleared the peak of June and July and entered into the fast descent toward the end of the year. And what a year…

The flavors are mostly heavy, alluding to the coming harvest with the sweet tones of apple and barley. Looming behind that, though, is the specter of winter, and scarcity, and cold. The bite of IPA stands as a resistance to going gentle in that good night, a fire to guide lonely travelers through the chilling dark. The stories are pulled from across SFF, with a lean toward fantasy, from contemporary to historical to second world, but there’s a hint of science fiction as well, a glimpse of the void and a voice calling out into the distance of space….

Tasting Flight – August 2017

“Avi Cantor Has Six Months To Live” by Sacha Lamb (Book Smugglers)

Notes: Singing with notes of sweet romance complicated by the spices of trust, betrayal, and perception, its cloudy pour slowly resolves into a golden hue that shines with warmth.

Pairs with: Chai Spiced Ale…

 

(18) FAVORITE SON. Are you ready? In “Holy Adam West Day, Walla Walla!” the Union-Tribune tells everyone what’s laid on for the celebration happening Tuesday, September 19.

From before noon and into the evening, businesses around town will display Bat signal stickers and posters of West and offer special promotions. The city will also install a new sign commemorating West near his childhood home at the intersection of Clinton Street and Alvarado Terrace.

Other memorials to West can be found at the post office at 128 N. 2nd Ave and at the Marcus Whitman, both based around photos from the collection of Joe Drazan.

West will also be the focus of a series of events throughout the day. Here’s the itinerary, as listed by Grant:

11 a.m. — Opening ceremonies at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street. Mayor Alan Pomraning will present a key to the city to members of West’s family, and attendees will have the opportunity to meet Batman and pose for photos with an exact replica of the Batmobile that West drove as the Caped Crusader….

(19) ESTATE SALE. The LA Times reports “Debbie Reynolds’ family ranch and dance studio to hit the auction block in October”.

The ranch-estate in Creston, Calif., had been offered for sale before Reynolds’ death last year for $4.8 million but was taken off the market in June. The studio on Lankershim Boulevard is for sale, with an asking price of $6.15 million.

Both will hit the auction block Oct. 7-8 in Los Angeles as part of the Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds personal property collection, according to auction house Profiles in History.

Owned by Reynolds for more than two decades, the 44-acre ranch comprises a main house, a guesthouse, a caretaker’s cottage, an art studio and a barn. A 10,000-square-foot support building with metal and stage workshops and a 6,000-square-foot film and television production studio are among other structures on the estate.

(20) HOBBITS INHALE. Matt Wallace’s tweetstorm shows that where there’s smoke….there’s even more smoke.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Andrew Porter, JJ Jacobson, and Steve Vertlieb for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

15th Annual Rondo Award Winners

This photo of Hatton in the 1946 film House of Horrors was an inspiration for the distinctive bust given to winners.

The voters’ choices for the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were announced April 23. More than 3,200 fans and professionals participated in the voting.

The Rondo Awards Ceremony will be held at WonderFest Convention in Louisville on June 4.

BEST FILM OF 2016

  • THE WITCH

Runners-up: DEADPOOL Honorable mentions: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY; ARRIVAL; DOCTOR STRANGE

BEST TV PRESENTATION

  • STRANGER THINGS 

Runner-up: ASH VS. EVIL DEAD;

Honorable mentions:THE WALKING DEAD;  PENNY DREADFUL; WESTWORLD

BEST CLASSIC DVD OF 2016

  • THE THING COLLECTOR’S EDITION (Shout!)

Runner-up: PHANTASM REMASTERED (Well Go USA)

Honorable mentions: CAT PEOPLE (Criterion); CARRIE (Shout); CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Criterion); IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE 3-D (Kino)

BEST COLLECTION

  • FRANKENSTEIN: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal)

Runner-up: VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION III (Scream Factory)

Honorable mentions: HAMMER HORROR 8-FILM COLLECTION (Universal); HELLRAISER: SCARLET BOX (Arrow); GUILLERMO DEL TORO TRILOGY (Criterion)

BEST RESTORATION

  • PHANTASM REMASTERED (WELL GO USA)

Runner-up: SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (Universal)

Honorable mentions: CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Criterion); CARRIE (Shout)

BEST COMMENTARY

  • WILLIAM PETER BLATTY (The Exorcist III)

Runner-up: STUART COHEN (The Thing, 1982)

Honorable mentions: TOM WEAVER (Undying Monster); DAVID DEL VALLE (Theater of Blood)

BEST DVD EXTRA

  • THE THING (Interviews with John Carpenter, Keith David, Wilfred Brimley, others)

Runner-up: EXORCIST III (‘Legion’ cut of the film);

Honorable mentions: CAT PEOPLE (French interview with director Jacques Tourneur); CARRIE (Interviews with Nancy Allen, others)

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

  • HUSH, directed by Mike Flanagan

Runner-up: I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE

Honorable mentions: THE MONSTER; MODEL HUNGER; THE DARK TAPES; WERESQUITO: NAZI HUNTER

BEST SHORT FILM

  • H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE BEAST IN THE CAVE, directed by Cameron McCasland

Runner-up: EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Honorable mentions: WRAITH; THE STYLIST; THE PUPPET MAN; UFO DIARY

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK, directed by Adam Spock

Runner-up: KONG: LONG LIVE THE KING

Honorable mentions: FLESH AND BLOOD: THE HAMMER HERITAGE OF HORROR; JUST DESSERTS: THE MAKING OF CREEPSHOW

BOOK OF THE YEAR

  • SOMETHING IN THE BLOOD: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula, by David J. Skal

Runner-up: BELA LUGOSI IN PERSON by Bill Kaffenberger and Gary Don Rhodes

Honorable mentions: FANTASTIQUE: Interviews with Horror, Sci_fi and Fantasy Filmmakers, by Tony Earnshaw; BEWARE THE MOON: The Story of An American Werewolf in London; SCORED TO DEATH: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers, by J. Blake Fichera

BEST MAGAZINE

  • RUE MORGUE

Runners-up: HORRORHOUND; VIDEO WATCHDOG

BEST MAGAZINE (classic)

  • FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND

Runner-up: SCARY MONSTERS

Honorable mentions: LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS; CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES; FILMFAX; MONSTER

BEST ARTICLES (Two winners)

  1. ‘Dracula and the It Girl,’  by Andi Brooks, SCARY MONSTERS #100. (Lugosi and Clara Bow)
  2. ‘I Am the King of My Kind,’ by Constantine Nasr, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #36.

Runners-up: ‘The Great American Werewolf Reunion,’ by David Weiner, FAMOUS MONSTERS #284; ‘A HorrorHound’s Guide to Documentaries,’ by Nathan Hanneman, HORRORHOUND #60.

Honorable mentions: Madness, Myth and the Modern Prometheus,’ by Dejan Ognjanovic, RUE MORGUE #171; ‘The Witch of North Bennington,’ by April Snellings, RUE MORGUE #170; ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre: Variations and Version Bllod,’ by Tim Lucas, VIDEO WATCHDOG #182; ‘Uncle Forry: A Century of Inspiration,’ by Cliff Robertson, SCARY MONSTERS #102.

BEST INTERVIEW (Award goes to interviewer)

  • Jason Hignite interviews Cassandra Peterson, HORRORHOUND #61

Runner-up: Mark Mawston’s expanded interview with Ray Harryhausen, SCARY MONSTERS #100

Honorable mentions :John Bowen interviews Don Coscarelli and David Hartman, RUE MORGUE #166; Preston Fassel interviews H.G. Lewis, RUE MORGUE #173 Trevor Parker interviews Barbara Crampton, DELIRIUM #11;

BEST COLUMN

  • The Doctor Is In-Sane, by Dr. Gangrene (SCARY MONSTERS)

Runners-up: Larry Blamire’s Star Turn (VIDEO WATCHDOG); It Came from Bowen’s Basement, by John T. Bowen, RUE MORGUE

Honorable mentions: Rondo Remembers by Ron Adams (MONSTER BASH); They Came from the Crypt, by Jon Kitley, HORRORHOUND

BEST COVER

  • FAMOUS MONSTERS #284 by Rick Baker

Runners-up: DIABOLIQUE #24 by Mark Spears

Honorable mentions: SCARY MONSTERS #102 by Scott Jackson; HORRORHOUND # 57 by Jason Edmiston

BEST WEBSITE

  • BLOODY DISGUSTING

Runners-up: Dread Central; Blumhouse

Honorable mentions: Collinsport Historical Society; Dr, Gangrene’s Mad Blog; Vampire Over London; Better Days, Benner Nights

BEST MULTI-MEDIA SITE

  • TRAILERS FROM HELL

Runners-up: Shock Waves; The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price; Monster Kid Radio

Honorable mentions: Damn Dirty Geeks; Count Gore De Vol’s Creature Features; Between Light and Shadow: A Twilight Zone Podcast; Horror Happens

BEST CONVENTION

  • MONSTER BASH

Runners-up: Monsterpalooza; HorrorHound Weekend

Honorable mentions: WonderFest; Chiller; G-FEST; Texas Frightmare

BEST FAN EVENT

  • TRIBUTE TO BERNIE WRIGHTSON (Creature Features, Burbank)

Runner-up: Elvira inducted to Horror Host Hall of Fame (HorrorHound Weekend)

Honorable mentions: Guillermo Del Toro exhibit in L.A.; American Werewolves in Santa Rosa

FAVORITE HORROR HOST

  • SVENGOOLIE

Runner-up: Dr. Gangrene

Honorable mentions: ?Penny Dreadful; Count Gore De Vol; Lord Blood-Rah; Karlos Borloff

BEST HORROR COMIC BOOK

  • AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Francesco Francavilla)

Runners-up: John Carpenter’s Tales For a Halloween Night Vol. 2; Haunted Horrors

Honorable mentions: Creeps; Tales from the Acker-Mansion; Providence

BEST CD

  • STRANGER THINGS SOUNDTRACK VOLS. 1 AND 2

Runners-up: John Carpenter’s Lost Themes II; H.P. Lovecraft; Midnight Syndicate: Zombies!

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

WRITER OF THE YEAR

  • April Snellings

A true horror journalist, April Snellings has delved deeply intio the reality surrounding monsters and supernatural lore. from the secret history of opuija boards to a look at Shirley Jackson’s impact on horror, April is one of Rue Morgue’s most prolific staff writers. Recipient of a Society of Professional Journalists award, April also has ventured into radio drama with a well-received episode of Tales Beyond the Pale.

Runners-up: David Weiner, Nathan Hanneman, Larry Underwood, Tim Lucas, Tom Weaver, Tim Paxton

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Mark Maddox

When it comes to monsters we’ve known and loved, the work of Mark Maddox is everywhere. Whether reawakening the familiar (Dracula, Rodan), or the obscure (Doctor Who aliens, Carmilla), Mark is a fan favorite and an editor’s delight. No wonder his work is nominated for several covers each year.

Runners-up: Daniel Horne, Scott Jackson, Gary Pullin, Frank Dietz, Jason Edmiston, L.J. Dopp, Peter Von Sholly, Mike Hill, Ama Lea, George Chastain

LINDA MILLER AWARD FOR FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR (In memory of the late Linda Miller)

  • Malcolm Gittins

The art of Malcolm Gittins is raw and day-glo, taking observers back to the very essence of monster magazines, toys and fandom. Malcolm doesn’t go for hyper-realism but for the essence of what attracted kids, and Monster Kids, to the movies in the first place. In short, he paints what we used to see.

Runners-up: John Sargent, Jerrod Brown, Eric Swartz, Belle Dee.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

  • Forrest J Ackerman square

Monster fans in L.A. had a dream — naming a square near Forrest J Ackerman’s favorite haunt, the House of Pies, after FJA himself. With the help of Los Feliz Councilman David Ryu, fans Joe Moe, Sean Fernald, Paul Davids and others made it happen. (And yes, the period after J has been removed!)

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

  • Pierre Fournier, Return to ‘Frankenstein Lake’

Frankenstein scholar Pierre Fournier  spearheaded the idea to hold a remarkable reunion in the Malibou Mountains last spring. That’s when Sara Karloff met Don Watkins, son of Marilyn Harris who played  ‘Little Maria,’ at the exact same spot where the Monster threw Watkins’ mother into the lake in the 1931 Frankenstein. ‘All is forgiven,’ Watkins told Sara, but the moment was surprisingly emotional, even 75 years later.

MONSTER KIDS OF THE YEAR

  • Don and Vicki Smeraldi

During a time when print magazines face ever more obstacles, Don and Vicki Smeraldi took on the challenge of keeping SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE alive. After publisher Dennis Druktenis’ retirement, the Smeraldis took over with #101, ensuring the ‘Only Real Monster Magazine’ will live on!

THE MONSTER KID HALL OF FAME

  • BOB FURMANEK

Bob Furmanek has spent a lifetime preserving, seeking and celebrating the lost classics, with a special eye to the third dimension. Bob founded the 3-D Film Archive in 1990, and helped restore films such as IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and GOG to 3-D glory.

  • JOHN STANLEY

While he rarely dressed as a ghost, John Stanley was a true horror host, helming ‘Creature Features’ in San Francisco for six years after Bob Wilkins moved on. Erudite and playful, Stanley interviewed Vincent Price, Christopher Lee  and others. Now a writer, his movie guides recall the days before VHS, when monster movies ruled TV.

  • RICHARD HARLAND SMITH

Critic and writer Richard Harland Smith has the rare gift of being able to explain the nuances of horror movies to those who know little about the genre. Richard’s Movie Morlocks blog at TCM found new audiences for some of the channel’s cult films. A writer for VIDEO WATCHDOG, a founder of the Mobius Home Video Forum and a frequent DVD commentator, RHS always bring a fresh take on the odd, or the familiar.

  • VINCE ROTOLO

Podacsts often are hit-and-miss, odd schedules, flexible formats. Not so at B-Movie Cast, where the late Vince Rotolo, his wife and crew discussed B-movies every Sunday. The show influenced many, including Derek Koch of Monster Kid Radio who was a frequent  guest and called him a mentor.  Vince explained his passion this way: ‘Just because you grow old doesn’t mean you have to grow up.’

  • MARK MILLER

The late Mark Miller was a film historian who focused on British cinema and classic horror. His filmographies of  Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee,are the definitive references. A teacher for 30 years, he was a frequent contributor to monster magazines and books, and always a major presence at Cinevent in Ohio and the Fanex conventions in Maryland.

Pixel Scroll 4/10/17 The Phantom Scrollbooth

(1) OFF THE HOOK. Remember when she said she didn’t write sf? Now she is sf. Margaret Atwood makes a cameo in the game Zombies Run:

Hampus Eckerman adds, “I do recommend that game as a very good way of activating oneself for jogs or long walks. There is an additional game called Zombies, Run! 5k Training by the same creators for people who aren’t fit enough to jog as yet. It works as a prequel and lets you do basic exercises and gradually increased walk/runs for eight weeks to get fit enough to hit the main game. The main game works as a radio theatre, where your progress is checked by GPS and where (configurable) zombies sometimes attack you, forcing you to increase your pace.”

(2) MAYDAY. On Obscura Day, May 6, Atlas Obscura plans an international self-celebration.

Join us at an event.

We’re hosting over 170 events in 36 states and 25 countries.

A kayak exploration through the largest ship graveyard in the Western Hemisphere. A private tour of the world’s original nuclear power plant. A classical concert in an abandoned hilltop spy station outside Berlin. What discoveries await you?

There are a bunch of events in the LA area, including a walking tour of The Kitschy Culture of Los Feliz Village, not far from Forrest J Ackerman Square.

(3) AN UNORTHODOX MOVE. Michael A. Burstein helped his Facebook readers translate the Four Questions. But not the way you might assume….

Once again, for those of you celebrating Pesach (Passover) as it begins tonight, here are the Four Questions in Klingon:

(4) MORE ABOUT CHINESE SF. Another interview with the author of “Folding Beijing” — “Award-Winning Sci-Fi Writer Hao Jingfang Sets Her Sights Closer to Home”.

When you first posted Folding Beijing for free on a Tsinghua university server, was that also for pleasure?

Yes, when I was in school, I had lots of time.

I am very surprised that studying physics, especially quantum physics, gave you a lot of time?

Perhaps that’s why I didn’t become a scientist! I was a good student, but not one good enough to become a scientist. Probably 95% of the physics students entered other fields after graduation. Only 5% to 10% of the top students became real physicists.

Is sci-fi an effective tool for investigating social issues?

I think science fiction is perhaps the freest genre for me to set my characters and everything else according to my opinion. Because in pure literature, I need to make sure I have the whole background and the reality of the people. You cannot just change the reality, if you do that the readers will be like ‘oh no! Life isn’t like that’. In science fiction you’re free, you can set the stage and tell readers, life is this, and you can form other stories on that stage. In my longer novel, I created one society on Mars and another on Earth, and then I can compare different policies and methods in these two places. The two societies can mirror each other. This is the kind of freedom I cannot find anywhere else.

(5) COODE STREET ADDRESS. The April 2 edition of The Coode Street Podcast promotes “A New Theory of Science Fiction.” The podcast is looking at Robinson’s New York 2140 which Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan claim is more in keeping with the Heinlein thesis that capitalism can fix Big Problems without a change in political and social structures. And they believe it’s also critiquing the controversial usage of info dumps and the belief that they’re particular to SF.

They also cover the history of the Crawford Award, the ICFA and Gary’s new History of Science Fiction.

(6) FIRST ON THE LIST. Popsugar ranks this café as “The 1 Place in Scotland that All Harry Potter Fans Should Visit at Least Once”.

Scotland is a veritable mecca for Harry Potter fans, considering J.K. Rowling herself lives there and wrote a large majority of the series there. Everywhere you turn, you can see Rowling’s inspiration or something that could easily be found in one of the films. While our Harry Potter travel bucket list can take you all over the world, it’s important to make a stop at where it all began: the Elephant House Cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The cafe in the heart of Edinburgh touts itself as the birthplace of Harry Potter, because Rowling spent countless hours in this shop penning Harry Potter. She sat in the back of the restaurant, overlooking Edinburgh Castle and Greyfriars Kirkyard, where a grave for a man named Tom Riddell can be found.

(7) BROWN OBIT. Chelsea Brown (1942-2017), best remembered as a cast member on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in the Sixties, passed away March 27 at the age of 74. She also had a genre credit — as Rosey Grier’s love interest in The Thing With Two Heads (1972). As the New York Times explains —

In that film, the head of an ailing bigot, played by Ray Milland, is grafted onto the body of a death-row inmate played by Mr. Grier, a former defensive lineman in the N.F.L. Car chases, gunfights and bickering ensue.

Mr. Grier and Mr. Milland eventually reach Ms. Brown. At first undaunted by Mr. Grier’s second head, she moves in for a kiss, then quickly withdraws and deadpans, “Honey, I know you don’t like to answer a lot of questions — but, but, how did that happen?”

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 10, 1981 The Howling was released in theaters.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born April 10 – David Langford

(10) TIME’S A-WASTIN’! There’s less than a week left to vote in the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards and Steve Vertlieb would like people to take a look at his nominated blog.

My blog, BETTER DAYS; BENNER NIGHTS, has been nominated for BEST BLOG OF 2016 in this year’s annual RONDO AWARDS competition. To vote for my series of articles, just send your selection (along with your name and E-Mail address) to David Colton whose voting address is taraco@aol.com prior to Sunday night, April 16th, 2017, at midnight.

Thanks sincerely for your consideration of my work. It’s an affectionate remembrance of the Saturday Matinee and 1950’s television when classic cliffhanger serials thrilled and excited “children of all ages”… when careening spaceships and thundering hooves echoed through the revered imaginations and hallowed corridors of time and memory…and when Buster Crabbe lovingly brought “Flash Gordon,” “Buck Rogers,” and “Captain Gallant Of The Foreign Legion” to life in darkened movie palaces all over the world. Return with us now to “those thrilling days of yesteryear” when Zorro, Hopalong Cassidy, “Space Patrol,” Ming, The Merciless, and Larry “Buster” Crabbe lit the early days of television, and Saturday afternoon motion picture screens, with magical imagery and unforgettable excitement.

(11) LIADEN UNIVERSE. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have posted their appearance calendar for the rest of the year.

We’ve had some queries about upcoming publications, and upcoming appearances, and, and — herewith an attempt to get them all in one place, for you, and for us.  Please note that the list is probably not complete; it’s only as complete as far as we know, as of Right Now.

(12) MAKE SCI-FI COME TRUE. GeekWire claims “NASA funds ideas from science fiction”. Well, if they’re smart they do.

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, also known as NIAC, has been backing far-out aerospace concepts for almost 20 years. It started out as the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, modeled after the Pentagon’s DARPA think tank.

NIAC’s latest crop of 22 tech projects was announced this week, and they include a few concepts that were virtually ripped from the headlines of science fiction’s pulp magazines. Here are our favorite five:

Flying airships of Mars: The idea of sending airships floating through the Red Planet’s skies dates back to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom novels of the early 20th century.

One big problem: Mars’ actual atmosphere is so thin that an airship would have to maintain a vacuum to become buoyant. That’s exactly what Georgia Tech’s John-Paul Clarke intends to do with an experimental double-shelled, reinforced vacuum airship….

(13) EVEN BETTER. The 2084 anthology of dystopian fiction hit its funding target and now is plowing through its stretch goals.

Stretch goals!

After an opening week like that there’s only one thing we can do… And what better way to make the anthology better than with more stories? We’ve got more great writers lined up – people who will bring a fresh angle to the theme, people whose writing we love – and they’re poised and ready to go, right now. The first target is nice and easy, as well…

£6,000 – we add another story – HIT!

£7,500 – we add a second bonus story – HIT!

£9,000 – we add a third extra story

(14) SOUND OF HUGOS. Camestros Felapton can’t believe his ears. (I really want to make this a Spock reference. I’m sure you do, too.) “Hugo 2017 Review: Splendor & Misery by Clipping”.

Experimental Hip Hop group, Clipping are not a stereotypical Hugo nominee but I’d be hard pressed to name an album that is so tightly linked to the Hugo tradition. Science fiction themes are not new to popular music from David Bowie to Janelle Monae but Splendor & Misery approaches science fiction from a different direction musically. Rather than reaching for the broader aesthetics of SF visuals, Splendor & Misery dives directly into science fiction as both a narrative and as a distinct historical genre.

(15) THOSE TRAD PUB JUNKIES. Claire Ryan (intentionally) revives the Sad Puppies favorite argument in “The Hugo Awards are irrelevant”.

I went to Amazon.com, and I took a look at the current bestsellers for sci-fi and fantasy in Kindle. I found a couple of self-published authors immediately. Let’s not hash out the same tired arguments that the indies are somehow less worthy or less talented, please. Clearly the readers don’t think so. Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking probably have more readers than all the current Hugo Best Novel finalists put together, and they’ve never even been nominated.

(16) LONDON CALLING. Shhh! Please remember, Jonathan McCalmont abhors attention.

(17) KAEDRIN BLOG. Mark Kaedrin says the novel category of the final Hugo ballot looks pretty good.

The novel ballot looks pretty good and indeed, I’ve already read three of the nominees, all of which were pretty good (and two of which were in my nominations). Ninefox Gambit is the clear front-runner for me, with its intricate worldbuilding and simple, pulpy plot. A Closed and Common Orbit ranks a distant second, but I liked its focus and positive attitude enough to throw it a nomination. All the Birds in the Sky has a great, whimsical tone to it, but of the novels I’ve read, it’s the one that could fall behind some of the things I haven’t read yet. Speaking of which, Cixin Liu returns to the ballot with Death’s End, the conclusion to the story begun in the Hugo-winning Three Body Problem and the one I’m most looking forward to catching up with (even if it requires me to read the second novel, which I never got to last year). Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning has been on my radar for a while, but I never pulled the trigger. It sounds like it has potential for me. N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate rounds out the nominees. A sequel to last year’s Hugo-winning The Fifth Season, a book that I have to admit that I did not enjoy at all. Well written and executed, but it felt a little too much like misery-porn for my liking, and thus I’m not particularly enthused about reading the sequel. I realize this puts me in the minority here, but it’s got me seriously considering not actually participating this year. I really don’t want to return to that gloomy world of suffering and despair, as well written as it may be…

He’s able to restrain his enthusiasm about some of the others.

(18) RED, WHITE AND BLUE. But somebody in their comments says they use Russian rockets – “Building on ULA’s Heritage, Setting the Pace for the Future of Space Launch.”

As a new era dawns, ULA continues to set the pace in space launch. Building on a heritage extending to the early days of American space launch, ULA is bringing future innovations to the table to support human launch from American soil and next-generation technology that will create transportation infrastructure to support a permanent human presence in space.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

Pixel Scroll 3/9/17 ‘Is There Anyone There?’ Said The Pixeler, Knocking On The Moonlit Scroll.

(1) DINOS DOUBLE DOWN. Jurassic Park 2, planned for release in 2018, is starting to crank up its publicity machinery 

(2) BLOGGERS STICK TOGETHER. Steve Vertlieb reminds me his blog Better Days, Benner Nights, is up for a Rondo Award as Best Blog of 2016.

It’s an affectionate remembrance of the Saturday Matinee and 1950’s television when classic cliffhanger serials thrilled and excited “children of all ages”… when careening spaceships and thundering hooves echoed through the revered imaginations and hallowed corridors of time and memory…and when Buster Crabbe lovingly brought “Flash Gordon,” “Buck Rogers,” and “Captain Gallant Of The Foreign Legion” to life in darkened movie palaces all over the world. Return with us now to “those thrilling days of yesteryear” when Zorro, “Space Patrol,” Ming, The Merciless, and Larry “Buster” Crabbe lit the early days of television, and Saturday afternoon motion picture screens, with magical imagery and unforgettable excitement.

Anyone can vote in the Rondos – see the nominees here —  just send your selection (along with your name and E-Mail address) to David Colton whose voting address is taraco@aol.com prior to Sunday night, April 16th, 2017, at midnight.

(3) TO THE MOON. A Business Insider writer says we’re getting close to having a Google Lunar XPrize winner.

A real lunar race that has been in the making for years is now in the final stretch.

The Google Lunar XPrize Foundation recently announced five final teams that will compete for the honor of being the first private group to land on the moon — and a $20 million prize.

The Google Lunar XPrize is more than pronouncements by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. It will prove the utility of commercial lunar exploration.

Sometime before the end of 2017, one or more of the final five groups will shoot for the moon. The Final Five are Moon Express, SpaceIl, Synergy Moon, Team Indus, and Team Hakuto.

All the winning team has to do to gain the prize is to cross a quarter of a million miles of space, soft land on the lunar surface, return high resolution videos and images to Earth, and move 500 meters from the landing site.

(4) UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Cat Rambo is grieving the loss of her cat Raven.

I record the notes of my grief: my eyes feeling as though filled with hot sand, the tired and lonely ache inside my heart, the way my throat hardens,  my vision blurring more at the bottom than the top when tears well. The wet tremble as they linger on my cheeks. It’s the only thing I can think to do.

(5) IT’S COMPLICATED. Paul La Farge writes about “The Complicated Friendship of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Barlow, One of His Biggest Fans” in The New Yorker.

On June 18, 1931, a young man named Robert Barlow mailed a letter to the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft’s stories about monstrous beings from beyond the stars were appearing regularly in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, and Barlow was a fan. He wanted to know when Lovecraft had started writing, what he was working on now, and whether the Necronomicon—a tome of forbidden knowledge that appears in several Lovecraft tales—was a real book. A week later, Lovecraft wrote back, as he nearly always did. It’s estimated that he wrote more than fifty thousand letters in his relatively short lifetime (he died at the age of forty-six). This particular letter was the beginning of a curious friendship, which changed the course of Barlow’s life, and Lovecraft’s, too—though almost no one who reads Lovecraft these days knows anything about it. Who keeps track of the lives of fans?

Raises hand.

(6) CARNEGIE AND GREENAWAY LONGLISTS. The longlists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals have been announced.

The Carnegie Medal, established in 1936, is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The Kate Greenaway Medal has been given since 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children.

Locus Online identified the following as titles of genre interest:

Carnegie Medal

  • Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, Frank Cottrell Boyce (Pan Macmillan)
  • Whisper to Me, Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
  • Beetle Boy, M.G. Leonard (Chicken House)
  • Beck, Mal Peet & Meg Rosoff (Walker)
  • Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
  • Orbiting Jupiter, Gary D. Schmidt (Andersen)
  • Island, Nicky Singer (Caboodle)
  • Time Travelling with a Hamster, Ross Welford (HarperCollins)

Greenaway Medal

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay (Bloomsbury)

The shortlists will be announced on March 16, and winners will be announced June 19.

(7) ALETA JACKSON OBIT. Loretta Jackson Delong, known in fandom as Aleta Jackson, died December 4, 2016.

Aleta worked for Xerox for ten years as a repair technician and wrote both science fiction and non-fiction stories. She worked for the L-5 Society, both in Tucson and later in Washington DC. During her stay in DC, Aleta became an aide to General Daniel Graham and helped create the DC-X launch vehicle, later renamed the Clipper Graham. She also edited the Journal of Practical Applications of Space while with Graham’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

As an indefatigable supporter of launch vehicle development, Aleta then became one of Rotary Rocket Company’s first employees, where she was general office manager. When the propulsion group was laid off from Rotary, Aleta was the person who told Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong, and Doug Jones that they had to stick with it, and founded XCOR Aerospace.

I first met her at NOLAcon II in 1988. Years later, when she was at XCOR and I was organizing Loscon program we crossed paths again.

(8) WELCOME ABOARD. “’Star Trek: Discovery’ Finds Its Captain In Jason Isaacs” reports Deadline Hollywood.

Former Awake and Dig star Jason Isaacs has been cast in Star Trek: Discovery for CBS All Access as Captain Lorca, Captain of the Starship Discovery. It is a major role opposite lead Sonequa Martin- Green in the series, which eyes a debut in late summer or fall….

Isaacs’ recently co-starred in the Netflix mystery drama series The OA and will next be seen in Weinstein Co.’s Hotel Mumbai and Armando Iannucci’s Death of Stalin.

(9) FACE THE TRUTH. Wesley Chu, the Edison of digital publishing, has invented a new service for authors.

(10) ANOTHER GAME OF THRONES CASUALTY? The Azure Window of Malta collapsed into the sea after a recent storm. The Azure Window was a backdrop for the wedding of Daenerys Targaryen, a recurring character played by Emilia Clarke, to Khal Drogo, portrayed by Jason Momoa, in the first episode in mid-2011.

(11) TRASH BECOMES TREASURE, AGAIN. Atlas Obscura says they were hidden in a circulation chamber in an old Chicago theater — “Found: A Treasure Trove of Candy Wrappers Dating Back to the Depression”. Pictures over there.

Eric Nordstrom of Urban Remains has been exploring Chicago’s Congress Theater, which was built in 1926 and is currently under renovation. Earlier this year, Nordstrom, whose business reclaims objects from old buildings, started working his way through the old theater, finding newspapers, pipes, tools, and blueprints left there since the 1920s.

Recently, he returned to the theater, and this time, as DNAInfo reports, he found a trove of candy wrappers and matchbooks that date back to the theater’s earliest years.

(12) WHEN MAN PURSUETH. Motherboard says the “Anti-Social ‘Shybot’ Rolls Around the Sonoran Desert, Running Away From Humans”.

We’re all afraid of our future robot overlords, but what if those robots were afraid of us, too?

Over the course of the last week, California’s Coachella Valley hosted a strange, anti-social visitor. Its name was Shybot, a six-wheeled rover whose only purpose in life is to roam the Sonoran desert avoiding humans at all costs.

(13) A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. In “This Land of Mine Revised” on Vimeo, Nina Paley updates the classic song from Exodus to show the bloody history of the Middle East.

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Rambo, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

Steve Vertlieb Recalls His 2016 Rondo Hall of Fame Award

David Colton and Steve Vertlieb

By Steve Vertlieb: David Colton has announced the nominations for this year’s slate of recipients for the prestigious Rondo Awards, honoring the very best in “fantastic” creativity, comprising imaginative cinema, television, books, magazines, and art.

I shall always remember with both pride and honor the very special moment less than a year ago when, on Saturday evening, June 4th, 2016, I was awarded Rondo’s highest honor…the Rondo “Hall of Fame” in recognition of a lifetime of journalism and publishing. That wondrous evening will always stand out as, perhaps, the most memorable night of my own seventy-one years.

With that thought in mind, I’d like to take a moment to wish all of this year’s worthy nominees the same fortune and good luck that made my own special night so memorable in 2016. Wishing each of this year’s worthy nominees God speed and sublime recognition of your work and inspiration.

 

2017 Rondo Awards Nominees

Online voting has begun for the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any or all 29 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 16.

As teaser, here are the Best Movie and Best Television Presentation finalists.

BEST MOVIE OF 2016

  • ARRIVAL
  • AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
  • THE CONJURING 2
  • DEADPOOL
  • DOCTOR STRANGE
  • DON’T BREATHE
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND 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 VVITCH

BEST TELEVISION PRESENTATION OF 2016

  • BATES MOTEL, ‘Norman,’ 5.16.16, A/E. In season finale, Norman digs up the body of Norma. ‘Mother we’re home. We’re finally together.’
  • ASH VS. EVIL DEAD, ‘The Morgue,’ 10.9.16, STARZ. Ash goes where no VFX have gone before. ‘That is horrible. And also awesome.’
  • BLACK MIRROR, ‘San Junipero,’ 10.21.16, NETFLIX. Time and memory have little meaning at the Quagmire.  ‘I was like a frightened horse on a frozen lake back there.’
  • CHANNEL ZERO, ‘A Strange Vessel,’ 11.1.16, SYFY. Clues to murders on children’s show Candle Cove lead to Paris. ‘When you think about this, it’ll just seem like some nightmare you had.’
  • DOCTOR WHO, ‘The Return of Dr. Mysterio,’ 12.25.15, BBC America. Super hero Easter Eggs abound in this Christmas special. ‘I started it. They’re all based on me. Now everyone who wants to sound clever calls themselves Doctor.’
  • PENNY DREADFUL, ‘A Blade of Grass,’ 5.22.16, SHOWTIME. Vanessa, in a padded cell, encounters Lucifer and demons. ‘I should have died a virgin like Joan of Arc. Did you know she sang as she burned?’
  • STAN AGAINST EVIL, ‘Dig Me Up, Dig Me Down,’ 10.31.16, IFC. Can disgraced former sheriff survive a town crawling with demons? ‘Anniversary of witch trials brings mysterious screams, pie contest.’
  • STRANGER THINGS, ‘The Bathtub,’ 7.15.16, NETFLIX. El uses her powers to save her friends.  ‘Did you see what she did to that van?’
  • THE WALKING DEAD, ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” 10.23.16 AMC. Nagen’s brutality shakes up survivors and viewers. ‘Not today. Not tomorrow. But I am gonna kill you.
  • WESTWORLD,  ‘The Bicameral Mind,’ 12.4.16, HBO.  Robert the park designer reveals his secret as one Host tries to leave. ‘How can you learn from your mistakes if you can’t remember them?

Remembering Jim Burns

Jim Burns and Steve Vertlieb.

Jim Burns and Steve Vertlieb.

By Steve Vertlieb: My win for the 2016 Rondo Hall Of Fame Award the other night was, is, and always will be tempered by the heartbreaking news and realization that my beloved friend and brother, Jim Burns, has tragically passed away at age fifty-four of an undisclosed illness. Jim was one of the best friends that it’s ever been my honor to have. He was a cherished pal, confidante, and brother. Jim and I would speak for hours on the telephone, catching up on the latest news, talking, and always, always laughing.

When I nearly died just six or so years ago during major open heart surgery, Jim was ever on the telephone, and always sending me supportive e-mails and love.

Jim pushed hard for my lifetime achievement award at the Rondo’s every year, and it was Jim who joyously announced my win for the Hall Of Fame by awaking me from a deep sleep just two months ago to inform me that I’d been elected to the Rondo Hall Of Fame.

My elation on Saturday morning in Louisville, Kentucky, was abruptly shattered when David Colton (the head ot the Rondo Awards, and former editor of U.S.A. TODAY) gave me the terrible, terrible news that Jim has passed away on Thursday, June 2nd.

Jim…I love you. I shall always love you. I cannot believe that I’ll never hear your voice, or your terrible jokes ever again. I cannot believe that I’ll never again know the happiness of reading your prolific commentary on the arts. Your work was sheer poetry. It was beautiful, haunting, and evocative. Your last years were tortured, and I hope that you found a degree of comfort in my love and respect for you, and in our profound bonding and friendship.

I dedicated my Rondo Award to you in my acceptance speech in Louisville Saturday evening. You always wanted to win a Rondo but never had an opportunity to do so. May it bring you a degree of solace to know that David Colton dedicated this year’s Rondo Awards ceremony to you. I love you, Jim. I miss you…and I cannot believe that I will never have an opportunity to speak with you again. God Bless you, my friend. God Bless you, my cherished brother. Sleep well, Prince Jim. Sleep throughout eternity in the knowledge that you shall always be loved….both by me, and by so many adoring friends and fans.