Horror at the Oscars Part 1: The Quickening

Horror at the Oscars Part 1: The Quickening It’s that time of year again, kids. Dread Central’s 2010 Horror at the Oscars coverage. Horror was indeed present this year and in black-tie. While Roger Corman and Lauren Bacall were honored a few months back at the Governor’s Award Ceremony, it was an unexpected delight to see Corman, recipient of the lifetime achievement Oscar, enjoy a standing ovation on national television.

I was, however, very disappointed that neither of them were allowed to speak. Roger Corman’s contributions to modern cinema are too vast for him to just stand up and wave. James Cameron was one of many Corman acolytes present, and his nomination speaks to Corman’s tremendous legacy. On the Terminator DVD Cameron mentions, “I trained at the Roger Corman Film School.” Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola, among many others, were also former students.

The terror continued with a spoof of Paranormal Activity staring hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Following this was a horror montage presented by Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner of the Twilight series. Clips included the usual suspects — Jaws, The Birds, Psycho, Poltergeist, The Exorcist and some surprises like Hellraiser, Leprechaun, Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (looked like parts 1 through 4 plus the remake with at least one great shot of Gunnar Hansen front, center, and chainsawing).

I did take issue with the Twilight tweens’ speech mentioning that it had been 36 years since horror was significantly acknowledged at the Oscars. Now, of course, they were alluding to The Exorcist, which was nominated for Best Picture in 1974. But they did forget to mention that The Silence of the Lambs, which was included in the montage, is a horror film and swept the Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1991. (For more horror history at the Oscars read Kim Newman’s blog entry on Facebook.)

Why such spookiness? Maybe the Academy is aware that 2010 is the celebration of 100 years of horror, counting forward from Edison’s Frankenstein in 1910. But aren’t the real monsters the folks that did not give Corman his due during the live event?

As for the “death montage”, it was nice to see genre talent like Ron Silver (Timecop) and David Carradine (Deathrace 2000, Q The Winged Serpent, Sonny Boy) represented, but did the Academy not have time to even mention screenwriter, director, and uncredited art director Dan O’Bannon, whose films (Alien, Return of the Living Dead, Total Recall) and production design are still influencing contemporary genre cinema? 2009 was the year of great genre loss, and we would have liked to see that loss better represented. We may never get Chas Balun up on the Academy’s screen (where he belongs), but O’Bannon? There is no excuse.

And now for the list all you boils and ghouls have been waiting for, containing many ghosts from VHS pasts include Stripped to Kill II: Live Girls, Hear No Evil, Basket Case 2-3, Pet Sematary, My Demon Lover, Bride of Re-Animator, and Head of the Family. And as tradition demands, it seems each year someone nominated worked on Howard the Duck. The biggest question remains: Do the nominees keep these flicks on their resumes? One can only hope so.

Lastly, to help this list become more comprehensive and full-of-geek, I am trying out a new taxonomy with a section called “miscellaneous genre.“ This section includes sister genres to our own: sci-fi, cult, and fantasy. I am always looking to find nominees who worked on 976-Evil as well as Wrath of Khan and Starcrash. I mean, can any one of us look at Christopher Plummer and not think Klingon? I don’t think so.

On with the show. Please note this is NOT going to be an all-inclusive list of every genre project these stars have worked on. Just some highlights. Feel free to add your own highlights for them in our comments section below.

  • Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:

    Inglourious Basterds
    Christoph Waltz: Der Sandmann, Sieben Monde


    The Messenger
    Woody Harrelson: Zombieland (misc. genre: A Scanner Darkly)

    The Last Station
    Christopher Plummer: Dracula 2000, Possessed, Skeletons, Wolf, Nosferatu a Venezia (misc. genre: He’s a Klingon for pete’s sake: Star Trek: Klingon Academy, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Dreamscape, Starcrash)

    The Lovely Bones
    Stanley Tucci: Monkey Shines

  • Best Animated Feature Film:

    Henry Selick: Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Watcher in the Woods (misc. genre: Return to Oz)

    The Princess and the Frog
    John Musker + Ron Clements: (misc. genre: The Black Cauldron – The bad guy gets his SKIN ripped off in this one)

  • Original Screenplay:

    Inglourious Basterds
    Quentin Tarantino: Diary of the Dead, Planet Terror, Death Proof, Grindhouse, From Dusk Till Dawn, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, Curdled, Hostel: Part II

    The Messenger
    Alessandro Camon: The Crow: Salvation, American Psycho, The Crow: City of Angels, The Crow: City of Angels

    A Serious Man
    Joel Coen: The Evil Dead, Hear No Evil (misc. genre: Blood Simple)
    Ethan Coen: (misc. genre: Blood Simple)

  • Best Animated Short Film:

    French Roast
    Fabrice O. Joubert: Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

    A Matter of Loaf and Death
    Nick Park: Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

  • Best Live Action Short Film:

    Miracle Fish
    Luke Doolan: Return to Sleepaway Camp

  • Achievement in Makeup:

    Star Trek
    Barney Burman: Snuff-Movie, The Ring Two, Constantine, Dawn of the Dead (remake), The Haunted Mansion, Jack Pierce: The Man Behind the Monsters, “Brimstone,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Body Snatchers, Class of 1999, Brain Dead, Fright Night Part 2, Slaughterhouse, House, The Offspring, Stay Tuned (misc. genre: Repo Chick, Men in Black II, The Rage: Carrie 2, Robo Warriors, Circuitry Man, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)


    Mindy Hall: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

    Joel Harlow: “Carnivàle,” The Ring Two, Constantine, Species III, Species 2, Species, The Haunted Mansion, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Virus, Phantoms, “The Shining,” Lord of Illusions, The Langoliers, Night of the Demons 2, Leprechaun, Pet Sematary II, “The Stand,” Brainscan, Slaughter of the Innocents, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Happy Hell Night, Sometimes They Come Back, Basket Case 2, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, The Toxic Avenger Part II, Killing Spree, Basket Case 3: The Progeny (misc. genre: The Chronicles of Riddick)

    Il Divo
    Aldo Signoretti: The Devil’s Advocate, Leviathan

    The Young Victoria
    Jenny Shircore: Rasputin, Mary Reilly, Paperhouse (misc. genre: “Doctor Who”)

  • Adapted Screenplay:

    District 9
    Neill Blomkamp: “Dark Angel”

    Up in the Air
    Jason Reitman: Ghostbusters II

    Sheldon Turner: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

  • Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:

    Up the Air
    Vera Farmiga: Orphan, Joshua

    Crazy Heart
    Maggie Gyllenhaal: (misc. genre: Cecil B. DeMented, Donnie Darko)

    Up the Air
    Anna Kendrick: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, New Moon, Twilight, “Fear Itself”

  • Achievement in Art Direction:

    Art Direction: Rick Carter: Death Becomes Her (misc. genre: “Amazing Stories,” War of the Worlds (remake), What Lies Beneath, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future Part III, Back to the Future Part II, The Goonies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension)

    Art Direction: Robert Stromberg: Pan’s Labyrinth, From Dusk Till Dawn, Addams Family Values, Innocent Blood, Cape Fear, Tremors, Bride of Re-Animator, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (misc. genre: The Chronicles of Riddick, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Solaris, Men in Black II, What Lies Beneath, Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, Kull the Conqueror, Star Trek: First Contact, Dragonheart, “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”)

    Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair: My Grandpa Is a Vampire, The Tommyknockers (misc. genre: Willow)


    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    Art Direction: Dave Warren: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Event Horizon, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

    Art Direction: Anastasia Masaro: Dead Silence, “Storm of the Century” (misc genre: Cube, “Highlander: The Raven”)

    Art Direction: John Myhre: The Haunted Mansion, Popcorn, Puppetmaster, Creature, Night of the Comet

    Set Decoration: Gordon Sim: “Storm of the Century,” Curtains (misc. genre: Frequency)

    The Young Victoria
    Set Decoration: Maggie Gray: (misc. genre: The Fifth Element, The Princess Bride, Brazil)

  • Achievement in Costume Design:

    The Young Victoria
    Sandy Powell: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles


    Coco before Chanel
    Catherine Leterrier: (misc genre: Goodbye Emmanuelle)

    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    Monique Prudhomme: The Fog (remake), Needful Things, It, Watchers

    Colleen Atwood: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sleepy Hollow, Fallen, Silence of the Lambs, The Grotesque, Zombie Prom, The Handmaid’s Tale (misc. genre: Gattaca, Mars Attacks!, Ed Woods, Edward Scissorhands)

  • Achievement in Sound Editing:

    The Hurt Locker
    Paul N.J. Ottosson: Drag Me to Hell, The Grudge 2, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Dentist 2, Phantasm IV: Oblivion, The Prophecy II, Progeny, Jack Frost, Asylum, Skeletons, Vampire Journals, Little Witches, Head of the Family, Amityville: Dollhouse (misc. genre: Moonbase, The Invader, Mystery Monsters, Omega Doom — with Ruter Hauer and robot chicks that look like they are out of a Robert Palmer video), Virtual Encounters, Oblivion 2: Backlash, Zarkorr! The Invader, Nemesis III: Prey Harder, The Demolitionist)


    Christopher Boyes: King Kong, Dracula 2000 (misc. genre: All of the Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Country Bears, Con Air)

    Gwendolyn Yates Whittle: Cloverfield, The Ring Two, The Village, Dracula 2000, Campfire Tales, (misc. genre: Frequency, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Willow)

    Inglourious Basterds
    Wylie Stateman: Death Proof, Grindhouse, The Skeleton Key, Exorcist: The Beginning, Godzilla (remake), The Relic, Stay Tuned, Shattered (misc. genre: Congo, Outbreak, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, TRON)

    Star Trek
    Mark Stoeckinger: “Tales from the Crypt,” Poltergeist II: The Other Side

    Alan Rankin: The Hitcher (remake), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Amityville Horror (remake), Blade II, Final Destination, The Rage: Carrie 2, Godzilla (remake)

    Michael Silvers: Hellboy (misc. genre: Mars Attacks!, Jurassic Park, Willow, Blue Velvet)

    Tom Myers: Lake Placid, Mimic (misc. genre: Pitch Black, Terminator 2: Judgment Day)

    Look for Part Two soon!

    Heather Buckley

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    • Floydian Trip

      You have to be registered with Facebook to see that blog and I just don’t wanna. Maybe I’ll eventually cave because i’m sure it’s interesting. Great article here though Heather.

      • FireRam

        I have NO DOUBT it is absolutely worth a read, and I am probably missing out……BUT, nothing, I mean nothing, is worth having to register with Facebook for. LOL

        • Heather Buckley

          Check your in-boxes for the blog entry… 😉

          • Floydian Trip

            Thanks, that was thoughtful. It is a good read.

    • Heather Buckley

      Near Dark is my most favorite vampire film ever. That and the Horror of Dracula with Christopher Lee. Stay Tuned tomorrow for part 2 ….

    • Terminal

      So far you missed Cameron for Aliens, Bigelow for Near Dark, and Tarantino for Death Proof.

      And the horror tribute stunk. Having two tweens from Twilight present a horror montage is stupid.

      And love it or hate it, Paranormal Activity has become influential. The spoof proved it.

      • The Woman In Black

        She did mention Death Proof under Tarantino. As for Cameron & Bigelow, I’m assuming they’ll be in Part Two (along with Tarantino again) since directors aren’t included here.

        • Terminal


      • Floydian Trip

        Honestly if Near Dark is going to be so staunchly defended by horror fans then they might as well accept that Twilight is a horror movie. Aside from the bar scene, Near Dark is nothing but a sappy love story as well.

        I didn’t like PA but if it does have some positive impact on horror I won’t complain but Blair Witch hardly made a ripple. All I’ve seen are spoofs of PA. It’s easy to make fun of.

        • Terminal

          Floydian you’ve done nothing but provided poor ridiculous arguments for months now. Near Dark is ten times the horror movie that Twilight is. Scenes like the vampires bursting in to flames, the whole bar sequence where Paxton bites a guy and then burps blood is pure horror, period. No argument about it. Give it a rest, man.

          You’re about as obsessed with Twilight as I was with Eli Roth. It becomes very very pathetic after a while. Either get over its fame, or quit talking to me. Because every argument is “Well Twilight this, and Twilight that.” Make fun of it, sure, but bringing it up in every single argument is boring.

          Devoting so much time to something you hate automatically contradicts the hate.

          And everything is easy to make fun of. Avatar was mocked by Stiller, there were a thousand Brokeback Mountain spoofs, and like the movie or not, Blair Witch changed the game forever.

          • Floydian Trip

            My opinion on Near Dark was formed before I knew anything about Twilight. And I said aside from the bar scene. Other than that there really isn’t much to write home about from Near Dark. I’ve never thought much of Bigelow until I saw The Hurt Locker which is absolutely amazing and complex using as many cameras and angles as it did. Definitely deserved the award for editing and every other award it got.

            As far as Twilight goes I pretty much ignore most of the news and have really only been responding to your comments really cause you never seem to miss any of it. So who’s more obsessed with it here? And yeah nobody else ever makes comments about Twilight. Dude, it’s inescapable. I live with Twilight fans and know how they think. Maybe your luckier than me.

      • Heather Buckley

        Hello all. This is part 1 of the list. Parts 2 and 3 will follow which include, Best Picture, Best Director ect…

    • doubleh55

      That horror montage thing they did at the Oscars was ok but I found some of the clip choices to be quite suspect. I’m looking at you Edward Scissorhands and Twilight.