Posts Tagged ‘Rondo Awards’

Another day, another title borrowed from Matheson—not that he coined the phrase or anything, but he did use it for a short story that he later adapted into a fun episode of Amazing Stories.  Be that as it may, John Kenneth Muir recently posted about the film and TV books he grew up with, and while the six years I have on John help explain the only partial overlap between his list and the one I’d compile, he makes some interesting observations about the treasured tomes that were our Bibles in the pre-Internet era.  For the record, our shared frame of reference consists of these:

  • Stephen King, Danse Macabre (although I did not acquire it until years after it was published)
  • Paul R. Gagne, The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh: The Films of George A. Romero (where I first learned that Romero openly admitted I Am Legend inspired Night of the Living Dead)
  • John Stanley, Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again (I’ve owned several iterations of this periodically updated book, and what it lacks in depth it more than makes up for in wit and breadth)

He also name-checks such mainstays as John Brosnan and Ed Naha, and mentions the books by my sometime mentor John McCarty, several of which I’d publicized at St. Martin’s Press.  Muir, you will recall, posted an incredibly generous review of Richard Matheson on Screen, and kindly cited me in this recent entry as one of those now writing quality books on the genre.  That makes up a little for the fact that—despite the recommendation of no lesser light than Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas, whose book on Mario Bava is the envy of us all—RMOS wasn’t even nominated for the Rondo Award (for which The Twilight and Other Zones got an Honorable Mention in 2009).

My own almost-200-volume reference library of film and TV books is also a sore subject, for it suffered the most damage during our recent leakage.  Nine were soaked to one degree or another, and must be considered write-offs as actual possessions, although I will probably cling to them stubbornly for whatever bits of information might still be gleaned therein.  (Because most if not all are probably long out of print, I have to decide which are worth trying to replace.)  They are:

  • Williams, Lucy Chase, The Complete Films of Vincent Price
  • Willis, Donald C., Horror and Science Fiction Films II
  • —–,  Horror and Science Fiction Films III
  • —–, Horror and Science Fiction Films IV
  • Winter, Douglas E., Faces of Fear: Encounters with the Creators of Modern Horror (which I value despite Winter’s doing me a disservice years ago)
  • Wolf, Leonard, Horror: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Literature and Film
  • Wright, Bruce Lanier, Nightwalkers: Gothic Horror Movies: The Modern Era
  • —–, Yesterday’s Tomorrows: The Golden Age of Science Fiction Movie Posters
  • Zicree, Marc Scott, The Twilight Zone Companion, second edition (autographed “To Matthew—in friendship—Richard Matheson.”  Son of a BITCH!)

Fortunately, only one of these, the earliest Willis volume (I never did get his first), would be on my own roster of formative texts, some of which are listed below.  For simplicity’s sake, I am restricting myself not only to Muir’s time frame of books published by the time I was 21, but also to those that made it into the bibliography for RMOS.  Mind you, not every one of these books is invaluable, and many were easily surpassed by the Phil Hardys of this world in later years, but they and others such as Carlos Clarens’s  Illustrated History of the Horror Film were virtually the only game in town when the genre enslaved me.

  • Baxter, John, Science Fiction in the Cinema: 1895-1970
  • Beck, Calvin Thomas, Heroes of the Horrors
  • —–, Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors
  • Bojarski, Richard, and Kenneth Beals, The Films of Boris Karloff
  • Brosnan, John, Future Tense: The Cinema of Science Fiction
  • —–, The Horror People
  • Everson, William K., Classics of the Horror Film
  • Eyles, Allen, Robert Adkinson, and Nicholas Fry, editors, The House of Horror: The Story of Hammer Films
  • Gifford, Denis, Karloff: The Man, the Monster, the Movies
  • —–, A Pictorial History of Horror Movies
  • Glut, Donald F., The Dracula Book
  • Johnson, William, editor, Focus on the Science Fiction Film
  • Lee, Walt, Reference Guide to Fantastic Films: Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror (3 volumes)
  • Lentz, Harris M. III, Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film and Television Credits (2 volumes)
  • Meyers, Richard, S-F 2: A Pictorial History of Science Fiction Films From “Rollerball” to “Return of the Jedi”
  • Naha, Ed, The Films of Roger Corman: Brilliance on a Budget
  • Pirie, David, The Vampire Cinema
  • Weldon, Michael, The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film
  • Willis, Donald C., Horror and Science Fiction Films II

The Horror People probably had the greatest impact on me, because it’s the first time I remember seeing the creators of these films—including a guy named Matheson—actually interviewed, which led indirectly to my own attempts to get them down in their own words.  Baxter’s book is oft-mentioned on the Outer-Limits-a-day blog We Are Controlling Transmission (about which more tomorrow) as one of the first to treat genre television with some of the same respect as SF cinema.  Despite being little more than a glorified checklist, Lee’s was a landmark work of scholarship, and Lentz’s was a godsend to a guy who had been frantically dictating movie credits into his tape recorder for transcription on 3” x 5” index cards.

I remember drawing heavily on Beck’s books when the future Madame BOF and I were pining for each other at separate colleges (if memory serves me correctly, her very strict parents allowed us a grand total of one visit in each direction during the whole four years) and, just for fun, I sent her a “correspondence course” in certain aspects of genre history.  Weldon’s was a late addition but revelatory for the more, yes, “psychotronic” entries.  A final recollection:  when Horror[s] of Malformed Men gained some notoriety on its DVD release a few years ago, I remember with pride that I was the only one in my little circle who had ever heard of it, thanks to the single still reproduced in Gifford’s Pictorial History of Horror Movies.

Addendum:  Here’s the nice VideoScope review of RMOS in its entirety.


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Your Humble Correspondent is officially running on fumes after two consecutive nights with the barest minimum of sleep, which even together probably did not add up to a single decent night’s repose.  One was an inaugural 2011 gathering with the Musketeers in Ozone Park, and the other a grueling road trip on which I rode shotgun with a typically selfless Madame BOF, transporting our daughter and her boyfriend from Syracuse—into which they had flown after saying adieu to his late father in Oregon—back to Ithaca.  That said, however, I am trying to muster up enough energy to share with you a number of tidbits, all in some way or other Richard Matheson-related.

First of all, I see from Internet traffic that Video Watchdog top dog Tim Lucas was kind enough to recommend Richard Matheson on Screen for a 2011 Rondo Award nomination, and since his book on Mario Bava is the standard to which all may aspire, that means a lot, coming from him.  Faithful BOF readers might remember that The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson (a revised and updated version of The Richard Matheson Companion, which I edited with Stanley Wiater and Paul Stuve) received a 2010 Rondo Honorable Mention as one of the best books of ’09.  I will of course keep you posted on this year’s nominations and balloting.

Second, in no particular order, John W. Morehead has posted a very gracious interview regarding my book on his thought-provoking website, TheoFantastique, and as a public service I’ll identify the folks shown with Richard.  The first photo depicts him flanked by Ray Bradbury and the late Robert Bloch; the second shows him with Roger Corman.  An early and enthusiastic supporter, John plugged the book as far back as October, and it says a lot that this is his third consecutive Matheson-related post; the previous two covered Joseph Laycock’s article on The Omega Man and “the sociophobics of cults,” and tomorrow’s SF episode of Pioneers of Television on PBS.

Next, Joe Kane (aka The Phantom of the Movies)—whose fine book on Night of the Living Dead was favorably reviewed here—has more than returned the compliment with his RMOS review in the new issue of my sometime outlet, VideoScope.  I’ll probably include it in its entirety on the new Reviews page I’m going to be working on shortly, but for now, try this excerpt on for size:  “Matheson maven…Bradley lends his entertaining style and vast expertise to this addictive exploration of the prolific author’s extensive cinematic oeuvre….[This book] arrives as the definitive word on one of the genre screen’s most influential, enduring and inventive scribes.”

Next, the scholar in me is always delighted to see the book being used as an actual resource, even in a venue as admittedly problematic as Wikipedia, where the following now appears on the page devoted to Matheson’s 1971 TV-movie Duel in the “References in other works” section:  “Stock footage from Duel appears throughout The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982) first-season episode ‘Never Give a Trucker an Even Break’…Director [Steven] Spielberg was reportedly ‘not too happy about it,’ according to Duel author Richard Matheson, quoted in Richard Matheson on Screen: A History of the Filmed Works by Matthew [R.] Bradley (McFarland; 2010, page 70).”

Finally, Susannah York—an Oscar nominee as Best Supporting Actress for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969)—died on Friday at 72.  While probably best recalled for Tom Jones (1963) and as the title character’s mother, Lara, in Superman (1978), she starred in an old BOF favorite, Gold (1974), which teamed up then-007 Roger Moore with ex-Bond director Peter Hunt and editor John Glen, as well as Elmer Bernstein, whose catchy main-title theme I remember very well.  La York was to have starred with Jack Palance and Paul Dooley in Matheson’s abortive Broadway mystery-suspense play Magician’s Choice, which he later turned into a novel, Now You See It….

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Men of Honor

The results are in for this year’s 8th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards (see them all at http://www.rondoaward.com/rondo/rondos.html).  I’m proud to say that Stanley Wiater, Paul Stuve and I shared an honorable mention in the “Best Book of 2009” category for our Kensington volume The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson.  Heartiest congratulations to all of the winners, runners-up, and other honorees, and sincerest thanks to all of those who supported us.  Maybe I’ll do better with Richard Matheson on Screen!

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Stanley Wiater, with whom Paul Stuve and I edited The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson, has shared the wonderful news that it has been nominated for one of the 8th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards as “Best Book of 2009.” Although Matheson hates to be pigeonholed as a horror writer (or any other kind), I know he’d be thrilled to have this revised and updated version receive some of the recognition denied the original limited edition, The Richard Matheson Companion.

I see we’re up against some stiff competition, including Michael Mallory’s Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror, which I’ve favorably reviewed here (see “Universal Exports”). And, as a contributor to Benjamin Szumskyj’s The Man Who Collected Psychos: Critical Essays on Robert Bloch, I’m in the bizarre position of competing against myself. But without taking anything away from any of the other books, ours was such a labor of love, on such a hitherto neglected subject, and—if I may say so—such a monumental piece of scholarship that I think, as a guy named Miller once said, “Attention must be paid.”

According to organizer David Colton, “The Rondo Awards are a fan-based program designed to honor the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation. Sponsored by the Classic Horror Film Board, the awards focus on classic horror and science fiction and especially the writers, researchers, archivists and just plain fans who try to keep those traditions alive. Winners are determined by e-mailed votes, and we routinely have 2,500-3,000 fans fill out the insanely detailed ballots. It’s become quite a genre tradition, and the Rondo Hatton busts are highly prized. Voting continues through April 3, 2010, and…this is purely a fan-based effort with no commercial affiliations.”

Anyone can vote (only once, alas—ha ha), and everything you need to know about casting your ballot is in the link below. Best of luck to ALL of the nominees…but wouldn’t it be great if McFarland could promote Richard Matheson on Screen as being “by the Rondo Award-winning co-editor of The Twilight and Other Zones”? If you see fit to vote for our book or, for that matter, Stanley’s DVD documentary series Dark Dreamers, our thanks in advance.


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