Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bava Book Receives Rondo Award for Best Book

"Nurse Moan-eek" (Linda Wylie) and David Colton present Tim Lucas with the Rondo Award at Wonderfest 2008. Photo by Eileen Colton.

Can it already be one week ago that the 6th annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Film Awards were held at Wonderfest in Louisville, Kentucky?

I am grateful to have won two Rondos this year, one for Best Book (MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK) and another for Best Writer. In my acceptance speech for the Bava book, I naturally thanked Donna for her selfless contribution to the project, and also everyone who pre-ordered the book and helped to make it a reality. I sincerely believe that, despite all the warning signs, we are not witnessing the end of printed matter -- just the elimination of extraneous printed matter, of which the desktop publishing movement of the late '80s and early '90s brought us in quantity too great to collect over so long a period of time. The success of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK proves that there is still an audience out there that is interested in reading about interesting pop cultural and historical topics in depth, not merely glancing at factoids as they scroll past. And that audience is prepared to not only support but enable publication, if they have to.

One thing I meant to say while accepting the Best Book award is that my feelings about it differ from the way I feel about all the other Rondos we've been fortunate enough to acquire over the past six years. The others represent work done in a single year, but this one represents to Donna and me the work of a lifetime shared together. My thanks to David Colton for making this award, and its attendant recognitions, possible -- and my congratulations to the publishers and editorial staff of RUE MORGUE, who won the Best Magazine award this year, breaking VIDEO WATCHDOG's five-year winning streak.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bava Book at Wonderfest

Donna and I recently returned from Wonderfest in Louisville, Kentucky -- which has become such a favorite getaway for us and a close group of friends that we've taken to reuniting twice more each year just to share good company, food and laughter. It's taken me awhile to post these images, which actually date back to last year. This first picture shows Randy Fox of Nashville, Tennessee, whose world was clearly rocked by his first gander at the Bava book -- at the first Wonderfest Reunion last November. Thanks to Jeffrey Nelson for taking the photo.

"Hey! My copy wasn't signed by Donna!" complained Old Dark Club House host (and past VW contributor) Gary L. Prange. The book's designer promptly stepped forward with a silver signing pen to grant Gary's wish.

And here are Donna and me posing with Wonderfest's wonderful talent coordinator "Admiral" Donnie Waddell of Louisville, KY, who received a copy of the Bava book as a gift from friend Joe Busam. A nice friend to have, that Joe!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Bava Book Nominated for IHG Award

Since returning home from the Saturn Awards, Donna and I thought we had seen the last of the award nominations for MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK -- so imagine our surprise when we learned today that the Bava book has been nominated in the Non-fiction category for the 2007 International Horror Guild Awards!

This is wonderful news, very exciting -- and we get to share our elation with cherished VW contributor Ramsey Campbell, who has been nominated in two important categories!

Here is the complete list of nominations (with VW-related nominees bolded) as found on the IHG website.


Peter Straub

Grin of the Dark. Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)
Generation Loss. Elizabeth Hand (Small Beer Press)
The Missing. Sarah Langan (HarperCollins)
Season of the Witch. Natasha Mostert (Dutton)
The Terror. Dan Simmons (Little, Brown & Company)

The Imago Sequence and Other Stories. Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
Plots and Misadventures. Stephen Gallagher (Subterranean Press)
Shadows Kith and Kin. Joe R. Lansdale (Subterranean Press)
Masques of Satan. Reggie Oliver (Ash Tree Press)
Dagger Key and Other Stories. Lucius Shepard (PS Publishing)

Procession of the Black Sloth. Laird Barron (The Imago Sequence: Night Shade Books)
The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story. Susan Hill (Profile)
Softspoken. Lucius Shepard (Night Shade Books)
The Scalding Rooms. Conrad Williams (PS Publishing)

"The Janus Tree". Glen Hirshberg (Inferno: Tor)
"Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed". Steven Duffy (At Ease with the Dead: Ash Tree Press)
"The Bone Man". Fredric S. Durbin (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, December 2007)
"Closet Dreams". Lisa Tuttle (Postscripts 10: PS Publishing)

"Digging Deep". Ramsey Campbell (Phobic: Comma Press)
"Honey in the Wound". Nancy Etchemendy (The Restless Dead: Candlewick Press)
"The Tank". Paul Finch (At Ease with the Dead: Ash Tree Press)
"Splitfoot". Paul Walther (New Genre 5, Spring 2007)
"The Great White Bed". Don Webb (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 2007)

Inferno. Ellen Datlow, editor (Tor)
Summer Chills. Stephen Jones, editor (Carroll & Graf)
American Supernatural Tales. S.T. Joshi, editor (Penguin)
Strange Tales Volume II. Rosalie Parker, editor (Tartarus Press)
At Ease with the Dead. Barbara and Christopher Roden, editors (Ash Tree Press)

Frankenstein: A Cultural History. Susan Tyler Hitchcock (W.W. Norton & Company)
Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark. Tim Lucas (Video Watchdog)
Warnings to the Curious: A Sheaf of Criticism on M.R. James. Rosemary Pardoe & S.T. Joshi, eds. (Hippocampus Press)
Sides. Peter Straub (Borderlands Press)
The Science of Stephen King. Bob Weinberg & Lois M. Gresh (John Wiley)

Black Static
Dead Reckonings
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Weird Tales

Scalped: Indian Country. Jason Aaron (writer) R.M. Gu�ra (artist) (Vertigo/DC Comics)
The Nightmare Factory. Thomas Ligotti (creator/writer), Joe Harris & Stuart Moore (writers), Ben Templesmith, Michael Gaydos, Colleen Doran & Ted McKeever (illustrators) (Fox Atomic/Harper Paperbacks)
The Blot. Tom Neely (I Will Destroy You)
The Arrival. Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine Books)
Wormwood Gentleman Corpse: Birds, Bees, Blood & Beer. Ben Templesmith (IDW)

Didier Cottier for Exhibit at Utopiales, Nantes, France, November 2007
David Ho for his body of work
Elizabeth McGrath for "The Incurable Disorder", Billy Shire Fine Arts, December 2007
Chris Mars for "New Salem", Jonathan Levine Gallery, October 2007
Mike Mignola for cover & illustrations: Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire (Bantam Spectra)

My congratulations to Mr. Straub and ALL the 2007 IWGA nominees!

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tim & Donna at the Saturn Awards

It's taken us awhile to figure out how to present it, but here is some original camcorder footage of the Bava book segment of the 34th Annual Saturn Awards, beginning with host Jeffrey Ross' introduction of John Saxon, Mr. Saxon's generous introduction of Donna and me, and our joint acceptance speech.

The footage runs 12 minutes or so and was shot off one of the onstage videoscreens at an angle. I hope you will enjoy it.

Our thanks, once again, to Robert Holguin and the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films for making possible one of the most memorable evenings of our life together.

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When it comes to classic monster magazines, Jim Clatterbaugh's MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is in a league unto itself. Published twice a year, MFTV is in many ways the magazine that FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND should have matured into. Its exclusive focus is classic horror cinema (from the silents through the 1960s) and it manages to address a popular readership while at the same time presenting intelligent, well-written articles on such interesting arcana as Bela Lugosi's controversial performance as the Frankenstein Monster in FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, memoirs of various stage productions starring the greats of classic horror, and the cinematography of Golden Age monsterfests. Many of VIDEO WATCHDOG's favorite guest contributors also appear regularly in MFTV: among them Tom Weaver, Greg Mank, Gary D. Rhodes, Gary L. Prange and the unsinkable Bob Burns. Every issue is also impeccably designed, with a glossy black-and-white interior and a typically breathtaking cover that brings the FM style of monster cover into the 21st century.

MFTV's current issue, #25, features articles on WEREWOLF OF LONDON star Henry Hull, written by his descendant Cortlandt Hull (also the subject of Daniel Horne's wonderful cover painting), Greg Mank's production history of Val Lewton's CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (containing many photos not seen in VW's recent Ann Carter coverage), an interview with actor David Hedison about his work on Irwin Allen's remake of THE LOST WORLD, and a riveting Gary Rhodes article about 1930s screenwriter Manley P. Hall and his treatment for an unfilmed sequel to Universal's DRACULA.

Also included in MFTV #25 -- and the reason prompting our appreciation -- is a staggeringly complimentary, three-page review of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK by Mark A. Miller, author of CHRISTOPHER LEE AND PETER CUSHING AND HORROR CINEMA: A FILMOGRAPHY and co-author of THE CHRISTOPHER LEE FILMOGRAPHY. Miller calls ATCOTD "without a doubt, the most well-researched and and detailed study of any filmmaker ever written" and "a unique masterwork of of film scholarship that will probably never be equaled."

I encourage you to visit the MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT website for ordering information, and collect their back issues while they are still available.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bava Book at the Saturn Awards

Last Tuesday, June 24, Donna and I were in Los Angeles to attend the 34th Annual Saturn Awards and to accept the Saturn Award for Special Achievement for our work on MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. The award was presented to us by John Saxon, the star of Bava's seminal giallo LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, aka THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1963), aka EVIL EYE. John's speech was exceptional and both it and our acceptance speech was recorded. We'll be posting it, or a link to it, here in the days ahead.

It was a mind-blowing evening: after making our acceptance speech, we were whisked backstage to be photographed and interviewed and, as we made our way toward the press area, we passed Ray Wise who was waiting to present one of the other awards. I only had time to shake his hand, stammer "You are one of my favorites," and move on. The star of one of the greatest horror films of the last twenty years -- TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME -- and I had to keep moving.

But it got still more surreal. When Guillermo del Toro (winner of this year's George Pal Memorial Award) showed up at the after-party, he gave me a big hug the moment he saw my face and kept numerous interviewers and other people waiting for a moment of his time as he talked to Donna, Charlie Largent and me about how important he believes the Bava book to be.

I didn't have a tape recorder running, but he said something very like: "To my mind, the two greatest film books of all are HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT and yours, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. These books are incredible not only for the way they discuss movies, but for the way they convey the sheer love of movies. When I read your book -- and I have two copies, one to read and one to keep -- it makes me want to get off my ass and get out there and shoot a fucking movie!" And now there's an online audio interview with Guillermo by Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, in which he says something similar at 27:28-47. Thanks to correspondent William D'Annucci for letting me know about it.
Guillermo and I are a mutual admiration society. In an age when all films are relentlessly stylized and visual, his films stand almost alone in earning the right to tell stories in those terms. He has a command of visual magic of the sort that drew me to Bava's work, moreso than any other filmmaker working today; if Bava has any true disciple among contemporary filmmakers, it's Guillermo del Toro. Donna and I saw a trailer for HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles and were dazzled by its ingeniously designed monsters and miraculous images. We can't wait to see it.
I'm also happy to note that Anchor Bay Entertainment's THE MARIO BAVA COLLECTION, VOLUMES 1 and 2 won in the Best DVD Collection category. Producer Alfredo Leone accepted the award, and it was a pleasure to hug him after the ceremony in acknowledgement of our mutual success at making Mario Bava one of the most prominent figures in the past year of fantastic cinema -- almost 30 years after his untimely death.

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