Friday, July 11, 2008
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.
INTERNATIONAL HORROR GUILD AWARD NOMINATIONS for WORKS from 2007
LIVING LEGEND AWARD
Grin of the Dark. Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)
Generation Loss. Elizabeth Hand (Small Beer Press)
The Missing. Sarah Langan (HarperCollns)
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)
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
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 IHGA nominees!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Some will inevitably disagree, but I prefer HELLBOY II to the original: it's true that Hellboy himself is less the center of attention, but he and all the characters are more fully realized here, and the world (or should that be "worlds"?) they inhabit seems infinitely more byzantine. The entire cast is at the top of their game, sporting some truly amazing makeup; while Ron Perlman and Doug Jones continue to delight as Hellboy and Abe Sapien, Selma Blair in particular mines appreciable new depths as firestarter Liz Sherman, now secure in her otherly domesticity with the big lug she calls "Red." In addition to some new key characters (like the ectoplasmic Johann Krauss), the film introduces a legion of new monsters and creatures so numerous and inventively designed that their burgeoning presence lends luster to the opening Universal logo, the family crest of the most iconic movie monsters.
But such small matters fade into insignificance in the light of HELLBOY II's well-balanced package of action, horror, spectacle, warmth (even where its cold-blooded characters are concerned) and humor. Highlights include an attack by a terrifying new breed of monster called Tooth Fairies (feeding on calcium, these cute little devils go for your teeth first); a visit to the Angel of Death; Hellboy's midtown encounter with a towering Lovecraftian monstrosity called an Elemental, a descent into a Troll Bazaar under the Brooklyn Bridge (I couldn't help comparing this sequence to the cantina scene of STAR WARS, not my favorite film series, and thinking to myself "I would even watch a STAR WARS film by this guy!"); and an instant-classic scene in which the lovelorn Abe Sapien and Hellboy cry into their beer while binging on sappy love songs. No one who has ever been a teenager can fail to feel the subtext as these two outsiders grit their teeth and purge their hearts to a Barry Manilow number. And when the song reappears to guide us through the end credits, we feel in the presence of a gifted filmmaker who has also become a great showman.
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY opens in theaters across America on Friday, July 11.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Comedies, romances, war and adventure pictures followed in quick succession, preparing Dr. Reinl for his rendezvous with destiny. In 1959, he directed the first of the West German Edgar Wallace krimis, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE FROG. Many of the basic tenets of the krimi were established by Reinl in this film and his subsequent contributions, THE TERRIBLE PEOPLE (1960) and THE FORGER OF LONDON (1961) -- particularly those in the realms of casting and atmosphere. Beginning with THE TERRIBLE PEOPLE, Reinl usually cast his second wife, Karin Dor, whom he had married in 1954, as the leading lady in his thrillers; she quickly became known as "Miss Krimi" to theater goers. It would seem that Reinl's personal hero was Fritz Lang, as he was lured away from Rialto Film's Wallace series to helm the best of CCC's Dr. Mabuse sequels: THE RETURN OF DR. MABUSE (1961) and THE INVISIBLE DR. MABUSE (1962). He also made an odd non-associated German thriller, THE CARPET OF HORROR (1962) around this time, which actually had more to do with poison gas than carpeting.
While Rialto's Wallace directors generally stayed faithful to the studio and series, Reinl prefered to remain a free agent and drifted freely from CCC back to Rialto (where he inaugurated their successful Karl May Western series with 1962's wonderfully entertaining THE TREASURE OF SILVER LAKE) and back again to CCC, where he contributed to their competing Bryan Edgar Wallace series with the outstanding THE STRANGLER OF BLACKMOOR CASTLE (1963). Between 1963 and 1965, he made another oddball krimi starring Klaus Kinski (THE WHITE SPIDER), returned to the Wallace series with the violent ROOM 13 and series standout THE SINISTER MONK (which in many ways foreshadowed Argento's SUSPIRIA), and then directed the three films that collectively compose what is arguably the pinnacle of his career and the Karl May series: the WINNETOU trilogy starring Lex Barker and Pierre Brice. Reinl's sweepingly romantic, unabashedly heroic view of the Old West was a significant influence on the operatic Italian Westerns of Sergio Leone. The final film in the WINNETOU trilogy, released in this country as THE DESPERADO TRAIL, has the personal distinction of being one of only two Westerns that have ever brought me to tears -- though I can't be sure the English dubbed version would affect me the same way.
Reinl was rewarded for this success by being permitted to indulge himself in a fantasy assignment: a lavish, two-part, color and stereo sound remake of Fritz Lang's DIE NIEBELUNGEN, featuring Uwe Beyer as Siegfried and Karin Dor as Brunhilda. (Sadly, I have never seen it, but some have called it a masterpiece.) By this time, Reinl's marriage to Dor was turning rocky; they made one last film together, DIE SCHLANGENGRUBE UND DAS PENDEL ("The Snake Pit and the Pendulum") before divorcing in 1968. This horror film, heavily influenced by Bava's BLACK SUNDAY and one of the most eerily atmospheric of its period, also starred Christopher Lee, Lex Barker and krimi favorite Dieter Eppler -- and it is known here in America by many other lurid titles, including BLOOD DEMON, CASTLE OF THE WALKING DEAD and THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM.
The remainder of Dr. Reinl's career is an intriguing conglomeration of trivia. He made another Karl May film (1968's IN THE VALLEY OF DEATH), three of the best Jerry Cotton thrillers starring George Nader (DEATH AND DIAMONDS, CORPSE IN A RED JAGUAR and DEADLY SHOTS ON BROADWAY), a film in the "Dr. Fabian" comedy series, and in 1970, he directed the film based on Erich von Däniken's best-selling CHARIOTS OF THE GODS. In a career highlight, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Six years later, he helmed a sequel of sorts, MYSTERIES OF THE GODS, also based on a book by von Däniken. It was in the year of this last international success, 1976, that Reinl met and married his third and last wife, Daniella Maria Dana, who reportedly stabbed him to death on October 9, 1986. One last film, a documentary about Sri Lanka, was issued to theaters posthumously.
As a young viewer discovering Reinl's work on video, I always imagined -- from the doctorate he so often insisted on attaching to his name -- he must have been a humorless, Kissinger-like fellow and a tyrant on the set, rather in the mold of his hero, Fritz Lang. However, more recently, the TOBIS/UFA DVD import discs of the Edgar Wallace krimis have included archival interviews with Harald Reinl that show him to have been an outgoing, gregarious and quite humor-driven man, well-liked by his cast and crews. I'm happy to honor him today as an outstanding contributor to the fantastic cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, a chief architect of the krimi and the post-Lang Mabuse thriller, and as something he is too seldom acknowledged as being: one of the great Western directors of all time.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Here, as promised, is Guillermo del Toro's acceptance of the George Pal Memorial Award at the 34th Annual Saturn Awards, preceded by a short video prologue and introduced with what I believe are universal sentiments by writer-director Frank Darabont.
I photographed this material myself, and I should forewarn you that the picture goes black for a short time between Guillermo's introduction and his first words onstage. That's because I had to put the camera down and pay the man his due by clapping my hands together.
Not included in this clip is my relevant after-party banter with Guillermo, which went something like this...
TL: Guillermo, did you ever meet George Pal?
GDT: No, I never did, I am sorry to say.
TL: I met George Pal once.
GDT: Do you want me to hit you over the head with this fucking award?
We also recorded Guillermo del Toro's speech upon receiving the George Pal Memorial Award, and Frank Darabont's extraordinary introduction of him, which I'll be posting here anon. The version on YouTube is only a fragment of the actual speech.