2023 Rondo Awards

Rondo Awards administrator David Colton announced the winners of the 21st Annual Rondo Awards on May 4.

The Rondo Awards, named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, honor the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation.

Among top winners of the publicly-voted Rondo were the Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All At Once, voted Best Film, and Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities, was picked as Best Television Presentation.

The newest entries to Rondo’s Monster Kid Hall of Fame are longtime horror historian Buddy Barnett, who helped found Cult Movies, one of the earliest fan magazines; writer Frank J. Dello Stritto; Amanda Reyes, the chronicler of obscure made-for-TV horror films; the late director Dan Curtis; and horror hosts Penny Dreadful and Joe Bob Briggs (Joe’s co-host Darcy the Mail Girl will also receive an award as his Last Drive-In folding chair mate).

More than 5,250 fans and pros voted online, the second largest turnout in the award’s 21 years.

In addition to the winners named below, go to the Rondo Award site to see the runners-up and honorable mentions (generally, everything else that was nominated.)

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

BEST FILM OF 2022

  • Everything Everywhere All At Once, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

BEST TV PRESENTATION

  • Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities (Netflix)

BEST BLU-RAY

  • Invaders From Mars (1953; Ignite)

BEST BLU-RAY COLLECTION

  • Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection Vol. 2 (4K; Universal)

BEST RESTORATION

  • Invaders From Mars (1953; Ignite)

FAVORITE COMMENTARIES

  • Tim Lucas

BEST DVD EXTRAS

  • Boris Karloff: The Man Behind The Monster (Voltage), includes two hours on extra interviews and content. Directed by Thomas Hamilton, written by Ron MacCloskey

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

  • Mad God, directed by Phil Tippett

BEST SHORT FILM

  • 13 Minutes of Horror, a compilation of short films from NYX

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • The Legend of King Kong, directed by Tom Grove

BOOK OF THE YEAR

  • Masters of Make-Up Effects: A Century of Practical Magic by Howard Berger & Marshall Julius

BEST CLASSIC HORROR FICTION (Fiction that uses classic horror icons as jumping off points.)

  • Classic Monsters Unleashed, edited by James Aquilone

BEST MAGAZINE (Classic)

  • Scary Monsters

BEST MAGAZINE (modern)

  • Fangoria

BEST ARTICLE

  • ‘Hex of the Century,’ by Dejan Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue #205

BEST INTERVIEW

  • Adrienne Barbeau, by Andrew J. Rausch, Shock Cinema #62

BEST COLUMN

  • Scene Queen, by Barbara Crampton (Fangoria)

BEST COVER

  • Scary Monsters #128 by Scott Jackson

BEST WEBSITE

  • Bloody Disgusting

BEST PODCAST

  • Mick Garris’ Post-Mortem

FAVORITE HORROR HOST OF 2022

  • Svengoolie

BEST EVENT

  • Scares That Care, conventions have raised $300,000 for breast cancer, childhood diseases

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL OR COLLECTION

  • Kolchak The Night Stalker 50th Anniversary edited by James Aquilone

INDIVIDUAL RONDO AWARDS

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

Robert Zier

In a world of AI and “screen time”, the pleasures of movies from almost 100 years ago seem increasingly lost on the young. But that hasn’t stopped Robert Zier, the proprietor of YouTube’s “Lugosi Theater,” where he talks knowledgeably and directly about horror movies old and older.

“Hi, I’m Bobby,” he says in one video. “I play Dracula in the classic Bela Lugosi style on YouTube and my TikTok videos, and at my friend’s haunted house. And I know my autism makes me a better Dracula.”

That kind of honesty helps explain why his YouTube page has more than one million views. A Monster Kid influencer has long been needed!   “I never imagined these movies existed,” one of his many fans said in her write-in vote. “He makes them come alive!”
For opening our old world to new audiences, Robert Zier receives a Special Recognition Rondo.

Simon Fitzjohn

A barely remembered thriller from 1977, THE HAUNTING OF JULIA with Mia Farrow, became something of a personal cause for film fan Simon Fitzjohn, who spent seven years trying to convince studios and overcome legal obstacles to get the movie, also known as FULL CIRCLE, restored and released on Blu-Ray. His efforts included negotiations with reluctant studio bureaucracy, some of whom were nervous about being sued. He even hired what he called a “fixer” to help clear rights problems.

“The re-release is on,” he announced in October. “I didn’t think I would ever say those words.”

Fitzjohn is a journalism tutor in London who has written three books, including one on the history of the character Norman Bates. Now the film is out from Imprint in a 4K version with numerous special features, and new attention on a film few thought would ever emerge again.

WRITER OF THE YEAR

Sam Irvin

Sam Irvin has done just about everything in show business, a director of more than 50 films, including one with Elvira, a biographer, a horror journalist, a consistent online presence and a supporter of the genre in every way.

But his recent book. I WAS A TEENAGE MONSTER HUNTER, has become an instant classic, a memoir ranging from his days helping with the family movie theatre business, to meeting Brian DePalma, and encounters of the close or awkward kind with stars  such as Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Rondo voters responded with support for the multi-Rondo winner for his writing and his seemingly endless storytelling prowess.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Mark Maddox

Mark Maddox continues his historic run as Best Artist, captivating voters with his vibrant takes on some of horror’s most unusual scenes. One example: The crawling eye from the movie of the same name on the cover of LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS. You cannot look away.

Mark’s work now includes Blu-Ray and books in addition to black-and-white portraits and the numerous magazine covers he produces each year. He has a near-Wiki grasp of movie history, and is a popular personality at various conventions and festivals.

FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Noufaux

For a third year, Britain’s Adele Veness, also known as Noufaux, has topped the growing world of fan artists. Noufaux stands out by experimenting with a variety of media, producing an art nouveau look that is both frightening but somehow comforting. Her subjects range from Bela Lugosi to more modern personalities, but always enveloped in an gilded cage of flowers and swirls.

THE MONSTER KID HALL OF FAME

Buddy Barnett

Few horror fans have been as influential as Buddy Barnett, who with West Coast colleagues in the 1990s transformed his love of monsters and Bela Lugosi into a lifelong search for the origins of horror films and their offshoots.

A one-shot Bela Lugosi magazine soon became the long-running CULT MOVIES publication, a home for some of classic horror’s most important writers and historians. In addition, Barnett co-hosted CULT MOVIES TV, produced low-budget monster spoofs such as THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS CLUB (with Forrest J Ackerman among others), oversaw cult film conventions. and a collectible store. A stickler for accuracy, Barnett once said erroneous claims about Lugosi “always make me mad.”

Frank J. Dello Stritto

Many writers these days come up with genre “mash-ups,” where Tarzan, for example, meets Sherlock Holmes, but no one does it as brilliantly as Frank J. Dello Stritto. In three can’t-put-down novels, he has woven together the untold histories of various movie werewolves and wolf men, untangled the wanderings of Universal and Hammer’s mummies, and explored with Carl Denham the many lost worlds and giant monsters of the Pacific.

All this in addition to his trailblazing work on the real-life history of Bela Lugosi, shedding light on the unknown corners of classic horror history, and providing entertaining looks at the genre’s many totems and themes. Dello Stritto’s work always delivers, and he has changed horror scholarship for the better.

Amanda Reyes

Horror has many tantalizing blank spots — lost films, alternate endings, deleted scenes, and mysteries of casting and auditions. Surprisingly, another part of genre history is missing as well. Many of the made-for-TV horror and science fiction movies from the 1970s and 80s are lost or forgotten.

Enter television historian Amanda Reyes, who has chosen to accept her mission to reveal the many TV thrillers that showed up in living rooms and then vanished. In books such as “Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium, 1964-1999,” her lectures, commentaries, and Made for TV Mayhem blog, Reyes has renewed interest in these one-and-done movies, many of which were not considered part of horror history.

And she brings these “lost” movies back to life with wit, research and engaging writing.  We get the feeling she has only just begun.

Dan Curtis

One TV producer and director who did leave a mark was the late Dan Curtis, who revived the horror myths with TV shows such as Dark Shadows, and Jack Palance as Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the classic Night Stalker TV movies.

Curtis was able to modernize the monsters, mixing love and romance with gothic settings, or showing ghouls and beasts scrambling along rain-swept city streets, or a vicious Zuni doll terrorizing a kitchen. Horror wasn’t his only gift, producing numerous mini-series and theatrical movies.

Curtis, who died in 2006, left entertainment better than he found it, and showed how horror films could stay relevant even in changing times.

Penny Dreadful

From the earliest days of Vampira and Zacherley, horror hosts have used the movies they aired for laughs, visuals, and time fillers. But few realized the monster lode of possibilities like Penny Dreadful (Danielle Gelehrter), and her creative crew in Massachusetts. No more only joking from the commercial breaks; she and her co-stars, including her late wolfman husband Garou, would insert their faces and shadows into videos and clips.

Her show, Shilling Shockers, was way ahead of its time, and Penny Dreadful’s reach has grown far beyond her Massachusetts mandrake roots.

Penny has also brought research and performing skills to her Terror at Collinwood podcast, methodically retracing the saga of Barnabas Collins episode by episode. In a world of sometimes cookie cutter hosts and hostesses, Penny Dreadful remains one of a kind.

Joe Bob Briggs (and Darcy)

Deeply knowledgeable and whiplash fast, Joe Bob Briggs has had a Texas-sized impact on the world of horror appreciation. Even the grisliest films — and he shows them all on his five-year Shudder series, Joe Bob’s Last Drive-In — have redeeming values in his twinkling eyes. Before each showing he uses a sketchboard to tally the kills, including whether a movie has “hatchet fu,” “scalding fu,” or “choking fu.”

It’s all in good fun. A journalist and sportswriter, Joe Bob switched to films of mayhem in the 1980s and has been a constant presence, even when he disappeared for awhile, for almost half a century. Recently joined by Diana Prince, also known as the take no guff Darcy the Mail Girl, their efforts are ensuring that the often absurd world of splatter fu will live on!

Joe Bob, for his long career, will receive the Hall of Fame plaque. Darcy will get a Drive-In Co-Host statuette. Or as we call it, “Rondo fu.”


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