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2016 TABLOID WITCH AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor [September 29, 2016]

 

 

 

 

 

[HollywoodInvestigator.com]  For the 13th year in a row, the Hollywood Investigator is happy to announce the winners of its Tabloid Witch Awards horror film contest.

Out of 112 entries, 16 films took home at least one award. Winning entries came from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This is the first year that Asian countries have taken home awards.

Here now are 2016's Tabloid Witch Award winning films:

 

 

 

 

 

* Best Horror Feature: Dark Side of the Light

 

This Japanese film has brutality, bloodshed, insanity, murder, and dismemberment. Even so, Dark Side of the Light isn't what fans normally think of as J-horror. It has no supernatural monsters. It is, however, a work of cinematic art.

Tomomi (Megumi Hatachiya) marries Kohei (Shugo Oshinari), thinking she has snagged a winner. But she soon discovers that he lied about being a corporate attorney. Kohei is jobless, sponging off his parents. Kneeling before Tomomi in humiliation, Kohei begs forgiveness and vows to become a success. Tomomi taunts and mocks Kohei, verbally abusing him.

 

 

Tomomi refuses to have a baby, citing Kohei's proverty, immaturity, but also that "If I have a baby, my life will be over." Materialistic and self-centered, Tomomi shops all day. Kohei suspects Tomomi of getting her money from lovers. He beats and rapes Tomomi with increasing regularity. Immune to his begging, Tomomi responds to his beatings, her arrogance melting into meekness, even pleading for Kohei when Takumi (Takashi Nagayama), a former boyfriend, tries to rescue her.

The tables of abuse keep turning. Tomomi regains power over Kohei by smiling and laughing during his rapes. Kohei is creeped out and withdraws. When he threatens to leave, Tomomi is outraged rather than relieved. This can't end well, and it doesn't. Dark Side of the Light could as easily be called The Making of a Psycho.

 

 

Westerners regard Japanese culture as more traditional, their women more submissive. But Dark Side of the Light reveals modern Japan as highly materialistic, its male/female dynamics similar in its light and dark sides. The film explores women who desire high-status men, and the men who lie about their status. Women who love their abusers and despise the Nice Guys.

Even Nice Guys have dark sides, as the film reveals. When the sensitive Takumi comes to rescue Tomomi, she taunts him. She accuses him (rightly, we suspect) of wanting a reward for his services. Of expecting her to fall into his arms and sleeping with him. She sneers at him, saying that without Kohei, Takumi is just a salaryman and a loser. She tosses money at him, telling him to buy a girl. Whereupon the "nice guy" Takumi nearly strangles Tomomi. Unfazed, she laughs at his wimpy inability to carry through.

 

 

Dark Side of the Light is meticulously directed, balancing long moments of serenity with quietly building tension and sudden (sometimes unexpected) outbursts of violence. The beatings are raw, extended, and uncomfortable to watch. Hatachiya appears taller than Nagoya (is it because she's staged closer to the camera?), allowing Tomomi to tower over "nice guy" Takumi while she taunts him -- reaffirming the notion that women prefer abusive tall men (like Kohei) to shorter "nice guys."

The film makes good use of such contrasts. The apartment's orderly set décor and muted lighting contrast well with the physical chaos and emotional turmoil occurring within its walls. The framing is likewise solid and well balanced.

Dark Side of the Light offers much food for thought. Both Tomomi and Kohei were abused when young. Does this lessen their moral culpability? Both contemptuously toss money at Takumi. How morally culpable is society -- women in particular -- for abusing low-status men? Takumi confesses everything to Tomomi's sister, Emi. Why? Does he now hope for a reward from Emi? We last see Tomomi in a state of bliss. Is she still insane? Or have her savage acts been therapeutic for her, leading to liberation and empowerment?

Dark Side of the Light is a memorable film, leaving many questions lingering in the mind. It has a website.

 

 

 

 

* Best Dramatic Horror Short: The Thin Place

 

The Thin Place hooks its audience without delay, without resorting to such easy or lazy devices as shocks, violence, or gore. Maddy (Kelsey Blackwell) tells mom (Lindsey Shope) that "It happened again last night." A thing abducts her every night for two minutes so that "it can take my place." During those two minutes Maddy disappears from our world, finding herself ... someplace else.

Blackwell's tense demeanor, the sparsely efficient script, the visual and aural incongruities (Maddy's strange tale told amid a bright, sunny day; foreboding music playing alongside cheerfully chirping birds) -- all these elements slowly coalesce and build up into the same skin-crawling creepiness as the diner scene in Mulholland Drive. The one where Dan relates his recurrent nightmare to Herb. In both these films the calm, matter-of-fact discussion of the frightening incident heightens, rather than dampens, the incident's terror.

 

 

 

Starting strong, The Thin Place continues to deliver with creative set décor, staging, and framing. We see apparently ordinary items that maybe shouldn't there. Someone rocking in a chair, at the edge of the frame. A family member we haven't seen before? Ghost-like sheets over something, reflected in a glass cabinet. Perhaps just some covered up lamps? Things that, upon first glance, might or might not be innocent.

Other items are more blatantly supernatural and hostile. Dark ghostly figures. Crudely written notes. A small redly lit room. Maddy had described "a thin red room." Her description is unsettling. What is a thin room? Rooms are normally described as narrow, not thin. Was she taken to a narrow room -- or to some strange other dimension?

While The Thin Place shows us some things, it leaves much to the imagination and draws much of its impact from that choice. Regrettably, it leaves more to the imagination than I'd have liked. But considering its low budget (the IMDb has it at $1,000), one can't expect elaborate special effects.

More importantly, The Thin Place is simply the scariest film we've seen this year -- feature or short. This is especially admirable considering that some Tabloid Witch Award winning shorts had much bigger budgets and more experienced technicians behind the camera.

This year saw a cycle of short, supernatural horror films that could be described as the "alone at night, at home and in bed, amid scary apparitions" subgenre. We've seen similar "quiet horror" films in past years, but nowhere near this year's level. The Thin Place belongs to that subgenre, but also rises above it, with the most original premise and most substantive story. Some other contenders were more slickly produced, but had "thinner" stories, offering little more than someone scared at night in a spooky bedroom until the final shock! (Although, despite its originality, The Thin Place's silently grinning ghosts do seem inspired by Insidious.)

So what is a thin place? The film never says. A Google search reveals that, in Celtic lore, the phrase refers to a place "where the natural and supernatural worlds come together at their narrowest, with only a thin veil between them." It's unclear if this is what the filmmakers had in mind.

The Thin Place was directed by Alexander Mattingly, from a script by Joe Hemphill.

 

 

 

 

* Best Comedic Horror Short: The Monster

 

The Monster is not a laugh-out-loud comedy, but neither is it straight horror. It's a tale that's gently humorous, whimsical, romantic ... and bloody savage. It's about a real-life monster (Richard Glover) who's found work playing monsters in horror movies. Born (created?) during the Victorian era, he's trying to adapt to our modern world.

Despite his ugly features, the monster has a romantic soul. He pines for Madeleine (Helen George), a scream queen on his current film. He hopes that, as in Beauty and the Beast, Madeleine will see beyond his hideous face. But will she also overlook his wimpy nature? The boys on set like to bully the monster by burying axes in his head -- all in good sport, as he cannot die.

 

 

Storywise, The Monster is similar to Shadow of the Vampire, in which a real-life vampire is hired to perform in a vampire movie. But whereas Shadow is dark and poignant and tragic, The Monster is more light-hearted. Its monster is too tender and silly to make for a truly scary film. Yet he has his moments....

As with last year's Best Comedic Horror Short winner, Unlucky Girl, The Monster is horror comedy with heart. Like last year's "unlucky" zombie girl, this monster engages our sympathies despite his misshapen head. While this is due to a well-written script and Glover's professional performance, the film also boasts slickly professional production values.

Written and directed by Britain's Bob Pipe, The Monster has a website.

 

 

 

 

* Best Animated Horror Short: Sitophobia

 

Step inside a box of donuts and encounter a Halloween haunted house full of monsters -- traditional and modern -- as performed by donuts. Jason, Jigsaw, and Freddy Krueger (see below) and others are among the perverse pasteries and threatening treats.

Brad Uyeda's stop-motion animation (specifically, claymation) is skillfully executed. His creatures are colorful and lively. Horror buffs will have fun trying to see who can identify the most monsters.

 

 

Uyeda also challenges himself, and will delight viewers, by alternating the colors hues and lighting setups. Some scenes occur at night, whereas one daytime scene has a sun passing overhead, its moving rays and shifting shadows interacting with the donut on the ground. Sitophobia is also well supported by Samantha Foster's playfully spooky music score.

One dictionary defines sitophobia as "A morbid or insane dread of eating. An aversion to food." (Yes, we too had to look it up.)

Do you have a police officer friend who can stand to shed a few pounds? Sitophobia will make a great gift!

 

 

 

 

* Best Avant-Garde Horror Short: The Eve

 

Boasting beautiful color photography and animation, The Eve tells its story in fragments. Actually, there is no clear story, but the fragments do suggest some of what's going on. There is a young boy who, perhaps, doesn't know that he's adopted. Although he might sense something amiss. Or have learned of it at some later date. It's possible we're seeing flashbacks of fragmented memories, false memories, and fantasies.

Did Santa really come over to speak to him one Christmas Eve, or was it someone else, or no one else? The explosion at the toy store surely didn't happen, but what does it symbolize? Emotional trauma upon learning something uncomfortable, or its denial?

 

 

 

According to filmmaker Luca Machnich, "The film gives the opportunity to explore in an international film language the purity and fantasy of a child's world violated by the cynicism of the world of adults, and to narrate it through the dilated times of dream and imagination in the setting of a Christmas that has nothing joyful and mystical and where the waiting for another future, symbolized by the bell tower, is the leading character of the story."

And it's also pretty. Machnich's The Eve comes to us from Italy.

 

 

 

 

* Best Horror Music Video: Afflicted

 

Directed by Patrick Kendall and performed by One-Eyed Doll from their Wiches album, "Afflicted" is a visually resplendent music video. Brimming with rich primary colors, stunning visual ghost effects, and hauntingly beautiful wintry scenes, this production boasts the slick production values of a major studio, big budget, Hollywood production.

 

 

There's a story in there as well, set during the Salem with trials. Some of the visuals seem inspired by Francis Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula and Jack Nicholson's Joker. One suspects Kendall hopes to direct Hollywood studio features some day. His music video already looks like one.

Patrick Kendall has a website.

 

 

 

 

 

* Honorable Mention

 

Because of the extremely competitive nature of the Tabloid Witch -- so many films to consider! -- winning an Honorable Mention is indeed cause for pride. Some of these films were great, just not as great as the winning films. Some had some weak spots, but still contained creative aspects that made them interesting or worth a look.

The Honorable Mention prizes -- as with the "Best ... Film" prizes, are awarded to a film's writer and director.

 

 

 

* The Fisherman, aka El pescador

 

Wong (Andrew Ng) is a poor fisherman whose ratty boat will be repossessed unless he lands a big catch. His landlord (Wong lives on the boat) mocks him. Sailors on spiffier vessels jeer at him. So a big catch will not only earn money for Wong, it will win him respect. And so, daring to Dream Big like his father taught him, Wong leaves Hong Kong's harbor for open sea -- and a close encounter with a not-so-friendly visitor from the stars.

 

 

 

The Tabloid Witch doesn't get enough horror/sci-fi entries, and very few alien abduction or invasion films. (Most years, none at all.) A good one is always welcome. The Fisherman has an outstanding performance by Ng, creepy night-for-night photography on lonely open waters, and a hideous alien brought to life by Luis Tinoco's first-rate visual effects.

This Spanish-Hong Kong co-production, written and directed by Alejandro Suarez Lozano, has a website.

 

 

 

 

* Vicious

 

Lydia (Rachel Winters) finds her front door open late one night. She searches, but finds no intruder inside. Trying to sleep, Lydia sees dark shapes come alive in her bedroom. She has nightmares and has more visions.

Like The Thin Place (and so many of 2016's entries), Vicious belongs to the burgeoning "alone at night, at home and in bed, amid scary apparitions" subgenre. Vicious has a thinner story and less developed characters than does The Thin Place, which is both its weakness and strength. Vicious is a more surreal, more sensory kind of horror. A "purer" horror. We know nothing of Lydia, other than that this thing long ago terrorized her sister. Low on dramatic details, Vicious is high on sounds and shadows, shocks and frights.

 

 

 

 

We see little of Vicious's creature. Just shapes and silhouettes of a tall, thin, clawed thing. It might be an alien. Or a demon. We don't see enough to know. Just enough to spark our imagination, with enough left out to leave space for our imagination. We catch a glimpse, then fill in our own blanks.

Vicious is superior on every technical and artistic level -- lighting, acting, visual and sound effects. No less importantly, all these elements work in unison, coalescing aesthetically into creating that creepy atmosphere so necessary to this type of minimalist horror. Not a story to be understood, but a nightmare that is experienced.

Writer/director Oliver Park's Vicious comes from the United Kingdom. Park has a website.

 

 

 

 

* The Marshalls

 

The beautiful stop-motion animation in Adeena Charlotte Grubb's The Marshalls evokes the films of Tim Burton -- stylistically, thematically, and in its emotional tone. A portrait of gothic family values, The Marshalls is sentimental yet morbid, tender yet gruesome. Daniel Beja's ethereal music likewise seems inspired by Danny Elfman's compositions for Burton.

This is the first year that two animated shorts took home awards. Sitophobia narrowly beat out The Marshalls for Best Animated Short, partially due its superior originality. While Grubb and Beja did a great job capturing the aesthetic sensibility of Burton and Elfman, Uyeda and Foster offered their own.

 

 

But the greater flaw is that Grubb did not animate her characters' mouths and eyes. The eyes blink, but no more. Static orbs, lacking eyebrows. Mouths stay closed, lips unmoving. No smiles, frowns, yawns, or grimaces. The deadpan faces hindered my emotional engagement with the characters, lessening my empathy for them -- a lack I never felt with The Nightmare Before Christmas or The Corpse Bride.

Grubb is a talented animator. The pizza steams. The water pours. (None of it real, of course.) The lighting is beautiful, atmospheric, and appropriately scaled to the set's small size. Grubb obviously has the ability to animate mouths and eyes, so I assume the expressionless faces were a creative choice on her part. An aesthetic mistake, because lessening my empathy for the Marshalls also weakened the emotional impact of the film's final shocking scene.

None of this is to diminish The Marshalls's strong points. This is a dark and lovely piece of goth art, evidencing much talent by its creator. Grubb has a website.

 

 

 

 

* Stained

 

Ever take a dump, and then discover that you've run out of toilet paper? Don't you hate when that happens? That's what happens to Harris (Mike Shephard). So he pulls up his pants without wiping -- whereupon a huge, steaming pile of excrement (Chris Spyrides) rushes out from the ether to haunt the hapless Harris.

What is this angry shitstorm? Harris's guilty conscience? Some universal fecal spirit? A pagan poo god? Or something else?

 

 

Surprisingly, it all makes sense in the end. But not until we've had a good laugh at Harris's expense, enjoying his misery as he rushes out into public with his stained pants, desperately seeking a fresh roll of toilet paper to clean up his mess. Compounding Harris's agonies, the fecal spirit will not be appeased with anything less than "extra-absorbent, four-ply" toilet paper, so foul is Harris's stain.

Directed by Phil Haine, from a script by Mark A.C. Brown, this English film has a website.

 

 

 

 

* It Wasn't Me, aka Yo no he sido

 

Whenever David (twins Juan and Raúl Del Pozo) is punished for doing something bad, he claims he didn't do it. Another boy did it. A boy who looks just like him. Nobody believes him, of course. They think David is psychologically disturbed. Until the night his babysitter (Elena Furiase) discovers the truth.

It Wasn't Me is a neat little horror film. The story opens with a strong hook, moves at a brisk pace, and offers a good share of jolts and frights along the way. The slower scenes are effectively used to build suspense. The script contains no fat or padding. A subtle dramatic setup results in a shocking surprise ending. Supporting the script is a talented cast and high production values.

 

 

Doppelganger films are relatively rare. The Man Who Haunted Himself might be the best known. The Broken is simply the best. Those features aside, doppelgangers have mostly appeared in brief works. A monster best suited to TV episodes, horror anthologies, and short films like It Wasn't Me.

Also known as Yo no he sido (this film comes from Spain), It Wasn't Me has no great themes or heart-rending human poignancy. It's just an extremely well made, entertaining, scary little frightmare. The world could use more of those.

 

 

 

* Dead Sunrise

 

Dead Sunrise is a rough, choppily edited, aesthetically uneven zombie film. But also an affecting film, in a 1970s indie grindhouse kind of way. Watching it, I felt as I did when I first saw Don't Look in the Basement, or Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, or Deathdream, oh so many years ago. Dead Sunrise filled me with a sense of ... more than anything else ... nostalgia.

The story is ridiculous but, wisely, played straight, without falling into the easy trap of dark humor. A group of nondescript young adults finds a research lab in the woods, teeming with zombie children. These zombie kids then attack the adults.

Now, these adults have no business being together. Their friendship makes no sense. Three girls and two guys -- one of whom has a wife and child at home. In fact, it was the wife who insisted that he go off camping with this one guy and three women, "his friends," because the wife needed some time alone. He didn't want to, but she insisted. Go figure.

 

 

The five friends drive off, partying on the way to the camp grounds. They're not a terribly interesting bunch, doing the usual drinking and crude sex jokes, but the road trip is enlivened by a montage interlude put to classical music. It's an odd interlude, artsy and out of place, and reminiscent of a similar montage in the bizarre and artsy Eliza's Horoscope.

We're a third into Dead Sunrise before this group encounters their first zombie. That's when things get interesting. The sun rises and hordes of small children baring teeth attack our heroes.

Unexpectedly, director Michal Imielski actually makes these zombie kids plausibly threatening. He achieves this with a matter-of-fact, documentary style presentation of the bizarre, decent acting, and great gore effects. Dead Sunrise also benefits from a mostly good music soundtrack, featuring many genres. The beautiful classical scores are especially effective, creating powerful emotional contrasts with the gruesome visuals. (The heavy metal is mostly just annoying.)

Overall, Dead Sunrise is an odd mix of grindhouse gore and haunting beauty, lowbrow humor and pretentious artistry, cheap sentimentality and searingly honest agony.

Australian cinema produced some great horror during the grindhouse era's heyday, notably, Strange Behavior, Thirst, Alison's Birthday, Nightmares, and the decidedly non-grindhouse Picnic at Hanging Rock. Dead Sunrise is no Picnic, but it makes for an interesting addition to Aussie horror.

 

 

 

 

* Papa

 

Papa is not as scary as The Thin Place or Vicious, but it's another of the "alone at night, at home and in bed, amid scary apparitions" short films entered this year. (There were many others.) Yes, Papa has its share of shocks, but they're not especially original. Nothing you haven't seen before in any number of J-horror films. Papa's strength lies not in its scares, but from its characters and story, its thought-provoking themes and poignant emotional punch.

 

 

We begin with a father and daughter, alone at night in the little girl's bedroom. They talk before going to sleep, together in the girl's bed. That might set off some warning bells. But don't judge too quickly. Filmmaker Joshua Ojeda sets up several red herrings and false starts, teasing our emotions, before his supernatural tales comes to a surprising, and surprisingly heartfelt, twist ending.

For those keeping score of nationalities, the American Ojeda shot Papa while at a Vancouver film school, so his film might qualify as an American-Canadian co-production.

 

 

 

 

 

* Additional Winners

 

A recurring word for this year's winners was memorable. Two important criteria for winning are mastery of craft, and that the craft be practiced in a way that aesthetically supports a film's story, characters, and themes. But because many entrants met those criteria, what often distinguished the winners was that their work stood out from the pack. There was something about their work that left a mark in our minds, so that we remembered them long after seeing the film. Something original, or distinctive, or emotionally moving that raised them above the crowd.

 

 

As the abused Tomomi, Megumi Hatachiya is coldly materialistic and lovingly supportive, an arrogant harridan and a begging supplicant. Her terror breaks into laughter, her fear into smiles. Her shifting facade creeps out her husband -- and leaves us wondering what's happening inside her head.

Yet even when her sanity seems dubious, Tomomi displays surprising insights into human character, and an awareness of how to use her insights as emotional weapons.

Megumi Hatachiya's performance is raw, memorable, and thought-provoking. She wins for Best Actress.

 

 

As Wong the fisherman, Andrew Ng conveys a stoic dignity when Wong is jeered at by boorish young louts. He endures poverty and misfortune with quiet humility, beneath which we detect pride and a determination to succeed. When he can endure no more failure, we share his grief and exasperation as he prepares for suicide.

Then the alien attacks -- and Ng infuses Wong with a newfound courage and resolve to survive and defeat this enemy from the stars. Ng has created a character who is memorable not for any colorful character traits, but simply for the powerful emotions he stirs in our own hearts.

Andrew Ng wins for Best Actor.

 

 

In Creatures of Whitechapel Carlee Baker portrays the quirkiest, most original and off-kilter Igor since Bela Lugosi created the role in Son of Frankenstein (the famous lab assistant is not in the book). An Igor who also doubles as Jack the Ripper.

With a pretty face, bad teeth, and hoarse voice, Baker slouches, grunts, and snorts her way through the streets of London, drooling over harlots before slicing out their organs for her master's experiment. She has created a distinctive and memorable reinterpretation of the classic character.

Carlee Baker wins for Best Supporting Actress.

 

 

 

 

 

They say there are no small parts, but how does an actor perform the role of shit? A huge steaming pile of poo. (Yes, Stained's visual effects show the feces to be steaming even as it walks and talks.)

Chris Spyrides performs shit with gusto. A terrible turd who is loud, obnoxious, giddy, and offensive. He stalks and harasses the hapless Harris, the stench that won't go away, shouting gleefully in Harris's face, perversely enjoying Harris's discomfort.

Another distinctive, entertaining, hilarious, and, yes, memorable performance. Chris Spyrides wins for Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

 

Frances Stein's hard, stark shadows and nondiegetic colored lights were pretty and did much to enhance its story's mood and atmosphere. Likewise Dark Side of the Light's more subdued shadows, and Nocturne's pastel hues, set the right tone for their stories.

But Day 1's use of colors not only set the story's mood but also supported its content, the ever changing hues and color saturations paralleling the shifting dramatic and emotional events on screen.

Jose Carlos Gomez wins for Best Cinematography.

 

 

 

Vicious is a mostly "silent" film, in that there is little dialog. Just a woman alone at night in her house. Without lots of chattering characters to fill the void, sound effects assume a greater burden in telling and supporting the "story." Sounds create much of the film's atmosphere, tension, and suspense.

The nondiegetic sounds are eerie, unnerving, and frightening (especially the metallic reverberations heralding the arrival of something horrible). Yet Matthew Walker (of Red Panda Audio) avoids the lazy trap of relying too heavily on incessant loudness in an attempt to merely startle audiences. His soundtrack neatly balances periods of silence with softly creepy effects and sudden jarring noises. Sounds that tease and tingle and terrify audiences, while appropriately interacting with, and aesthetically supporting, the events on screen.

The Best Sound Design award goes to Matthew Walker.

 

 

Frances Stein uses nonlinear editing, not as a flashy gimmick, but to great effect in telling its tale of mad science. The sequence of events is carefully arranged to hook viewers at a point of high drama and mystery. Events then flash backward and forward, the puzzle pieces forming several potential pictures before the real one emerges.

The final revelation is surprising, yet also logical. We see how everything comes together -- and had to come together -- in the specific way that it does.

Steve Hudgins & P.J. Woodside win for Best Editing.

 

 

 

Period pieces are especially challenging on a low budget. Yet despite being a student film, Creatures of Whitechapel nicely recreates London during the year of the Ripper murders -- 1888. All the usual settings are present -- the snotty gentleman's dining club, the sordid East End streets, the mad scientist's lab.

All of it in vibrant colors, with a dash of steampunk. It's like watching an old Hammer film.

Jonathan Martin & Daniel Whiting win for Best Production Design.

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Sunrise had some nicely grisly gore effects, but it was the usual zombie gore. The ghosts in The Thin Place resembled those from Insidious. The ghoul in Mr. Dentonn was ghastly. The creature in Vicious was creepy. Admirable make-up work, all four films.

But Virginia Popova broke new ground with her "fecal man" in Stained (with feces). We don't know if he's a ghost, a guilty conscience, or some sort of universal fecal spirit -- but he is original, and memorable, and hilarious and ... and so, so gross.

Virginia Popova wins for Best Make-Up Effects.

 

 

 

Aliens tend to fall into three categories. Humanoids, Grays, and the S-kind: slithery, slimy, scaly. It's this third kind that attacks Wong.

At first the alien appears small and helpless, squirming and squealing (more S's) about Wong's boat. But it grows quickly, squealing louder, threatening with teeth and tentacles. This ain't no rubber suit monster. This is a living, breathing, pulsating, true-life monster.

Luis Tinoco wins for Best Visual Effects.

 

 

 

Vicious is a mostly silent film. Sitophobia even more so. There is no dialog. Not even a story. In this surreal excursion through a haunted donut box, mood and atmosphere take center stage, rather than functioning in their usual support roles.

Samantha Foster's music plays a large role in creating that mood. Her score is playfully spooky. Eerie yet also fanciful and fun. Its fast pace sweeps us from room to room, like a haunted house ride that doesn't want the audience to catch its breath.

Samantha Foster wins for Best Music Soundtrack.

 

 

 

* The Final Tally

 

Tabloid Witch Award Winners

 

* Best Horror Feature Film .......................... Ryôta Sakamaki & Daisuke Miyazaki (Dark Side of the Light)

* Best Dramatic Horror Short Film .............. Alexander Mattingly & Joey Hemphill (The Thin Place)

* Best Comedic Horror Short Film .............. Bob Pipe (The Monster)

* Best Animated Horror Short Film ............. Brad Uyeda (Sitophobia)

* Best Avante-Garde Horror Short Film ...... Luca Machnich (The Eve)

* Best Horror Music Video .......................... Patrick Kendall (Afflicted)

* Best Actress ............................................. Megumi Hatachiya (Dark Side of the Light)

* Best Actor ................................................. Andrew Ng (The Fisherman, aka El pescador)

* Best Supporting Actress ........................... Carlee Baker (Creatures of Whitechapel)

* Best Supporting Actor ............................... Chris Spyrides (Stained)

* Best Cinematography ............................... Jose Carlos Gomez (Day 1)

* Best Sound Design ................................... Matthew Walker (Vicious)

* Best Editing ............................................... Steve Hudgins & P.J. Woodside (Frances Stein)

* Best Production Design ............................ Jonathan Martin & Daniel Whiting (Creatures of Whitechapel)

* Best Visual Effects .................................... Luis Tinoco (The Fisherman, aka El pescador)

* Best Make-Up Effects ............................... Virginia Popova (Stained)

* Best Music Soundtrack ............................. Samantha Foster (Sitophobia)

 

Tabloid Witch Honorable Mentions

 

* Alejandro Suárez Lozano (The Fisherman, aka El pescador)

* Oliver Park (Vicious)

* Adeena Charlotte Grubb (The Marshalls)

* Phil Haine & Mark A.C. Brown (Stained)

* Ángel Ripalda & Santiago Taboada (It Wasn't Me, aka Yo no he sido)

* Michal Imielski & Peter Maple (Dead Sunrise)

* Joshua Ojeda (Papa)

 

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