Monday, June 27, 2011

The 2nd Annual Black Glove Horrorhead Awards: The Best of 2010

It's been a hell of a year for the genre. There have been some releases in fiction, which I think may actually go on to considered by fans as classic stuff in later years. I haven't been able to say that for about ten years now. At least not in the stuff that I was unfortunate enough to read in 2010. 2011 is looking up, but there was some really bad fiction, mostly from small press and e-publishers who still think self publication is the most awesome thing they could ever do for themselves and the horror genre.

I wish they'd stop.

They really are dragging the whole horror genre into a place that we may not ever be able to pull it again, as an industry and as fans. But trying to get these assholes to use good judgement in plaguing the world, to get them to look past their own HUGE egos for a moment, and think that maybe, just maybe, there's a reason why no one is publishing them.

Of course, it didn't help a big publisher like "LEISURE/DORCHESTER" completely fucked over its entire list of genre authors by stealing their books and NOT paying the authors. I'm still stunned that a company as respected as this actually did something so low and illegal. I mean, if we cannot trust the 'gatekeepers' of the industry, then who the hell are we supposed to trust? It's just one more thing that makes me lose faith in the entire industry, as a writer and a fan.

But back to our Horrorheads...our first winner for this year's Horrorhead is for Peter Straub's incredible homage to Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon", A DARK MATTER.

As with Straub's other works, this novel is literate, smart and existentially terrifying. What if magic was real and you could summon a real demon into your life? No other author could answer that question like Straub. Now, if you're looking for a breakneck pace and a video game minded wham!bam! rollercoaster ride, this is not the book for you. But if you want something that will haunt you long after turning the last page, then do yourself a favor and read this book.

There was one other book we all felt was a definite close call runner-up:
HORNS by Joe Hill

In the short story collection/anthology category there were a few which got several votes but only one can win. This year's Horrorhead goes to:
FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King. In this four novella collection on the theme of retribution, human and othewise, King again gives us a superior collection of fiction that I believe will eventually become known as one of his best later works.

We had many more runners up in this area than novels:
NEVER AGAIN, edited by Allyson Bird and Joel Lane
BLOOD AND GRISTLE by Michael Louis Calvillo
LITTLE THINGS by John R. Little

For poetry, this year's Horrorhead goes to:
Wild Hunt of the Stars by Ann K. Schwader

In film, there were only a few movies we thought deserved serious consideration. The Horrorhead for film clearly has to go to a surprisingly great remake of an original George Romero movie of the same name:

(For a full review of this film, see mine in this month's CELLULOID HORRORS section here.)

The runners up include:
SHUTTER ISLAND, reviewed last year in our June 2010 issue hereTHE LAST EXORCISM, reviewed in our January issue hereLET ME IN, another remake from the new redux of HAMMER STUDIOS, renamed from the foriegn horror hit LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. It was reviewed here in our February 2011 issueDREAM HOME, reviewed in January 2011's issue here

In music, there were a lot of great releases in 2010. But it was very easy to pick the Horrorhead winner; it's an album which has been discussed several times in our magazine since its release:

DIAMOND EYES by The Deftones, an album that is filled with songs that rock and sit heavy on the heart. The lyrics are some of the most mature this band has ever produced. The soundwork is layered, thoughtful, at once ambient and hard, a great combination. A full review can be found in our May 2010 issue here.

The runners up included:
THE RESISTANCE by Muse (see our review in June 2010 issue here)
HELIGOLAND by Massive Attack
HELLBILLY DELUXE 2 by Rob Zombie (see our review in March 2010 issue here)
SCREAMWORKS: LOVE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE BY H.I.M. (see our review in March 2010 issue here)
PLASTIC BEACH by Gorillaz (see our review in April 2010 issue here)
SLASH by Slash
THE BOOK OF ELI by Atticus Ross

In our game category, the Horrorhead winner is...

review written by Brian M. Sammons

2010 wasn’t a great year for horror gaming. A lackluster sequel to a truly great and spooky as hell game from a few years back, DEAD SPACE 2, started things off with a whimper and things mostly went downhill from there. However there was one pretty darn good horror game, but it was only on PC and I usually just use my PC for work anymore. However with everyone telling me how good it was I just had to try it out. So I did, and while it wasn’t a perfect game, it was a hell of a good one that actually succeeded at being scary instead of just giving the player a bunch of guns and telling them to go blast baddies in the face for six to eight hours. That game was AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT and if you haven’t heard about it yet, well once again, it was only on PC, and it also had a microscopic marketing campaign. Meanwhile games like “Modern Military Shooter part 9” had the GNP of a small country devoted to pushing them, where’s the justice in that? Anyway, for something completely different, you don’t even get a gun in AMNESIA, let alone a bunch of them. If a horrible, shuffling thing comes lurching at you out of the dark, the best thing for you to do is what you’d probably do in real life; run the hell away and hide like a little girl in a closet. Also, at its heart, this game is an old school exploration and adventure game set in dark and creepy places. So obviously it isn’t for everyone, the twitchy A.D.D. generation of gamers are sure to hate it, but if you’re actually looking for a creepy, atmospheric game instead of the usual run and gun shooters that call themselves “horror games”, then AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT is for you.

--Brian M. Sammons

In our comic/graphic novel section, we have a Horrorhead going to Stephen King's AMERICAN VAMPIRE. Click here to see Jason Shayer's review of this year's Horrorhead and the runners up.