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THE ED WOOD AWARDS
Hosted by Ted A. Bohus and Fred Olen Ray
Produced by: Midnight Marquee Productions: Gary J. Svehla and Susan Svehla
Hosted by Ted A. Bohus and Fred Olen Ray
Recorded Live at Monster Rally, August 1999, Arlington, VA, USA
Edited by A. Susan Svehla
In 1958 a mini-revolution occurred when Famous Monsters of Filmland #1 appeared on magazine shelves across the USA. Kids, haunting their drugstores and newsstands for the latest superhero comics, gazed with wide-eyed wonder at the full-color Frankenstein Monster calling to them from the shelf. Those monster kids were hooked. Playground envy ran rampant as the mini monster maniacs saved their pennies to order the latest monster treasures from the back of the mag.
The popularity of the television Shock! movie package inspired Warren Publishing to produce Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1958. Forry Ackerman, the original Monster Kid and fanboy number one, edited the mag. Forry, who in his teen years paled around with Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen, devoted his life to fantastic films and collecting monster memorabilia. At FANEX 15 in 2001, 14 of the genre's most influential fanzine editors gathered to salute to Ackerman.
The Shock! package was sold by Screen Gems in 1957 and contained 52 horror film titles from Universal, including the trifecta of terror, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. Universal's classic monsters inspired Hammer Films, who filmed Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman in vivid color and surrounded by a series of buxom beauties.
Television and monsters were a match made in horror heaven and late night horror show hosts donned costumes and Lugosi-inspired accents to introduce the films.
While the horror hosts tickled the funny bones of their little fiends, er fans, they thirsted for more. Famous Monsters of Filmland and later Castle of Frankenstein provided the news and info the monster kids craved. One of those Monster Kids was a 13-year-old Baltimore boy who thought doing his own magazine was a pretty good idea. That boy, Gary J. Svehla put out his first issue of Gore Creatures in 1963. It is still being published today, now called the more adult Midnight Marquee. Next year Gary and Midnight Marquee will celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Much later, Gary's wife Susan thought they should do a convention that would bring the magazine to life and allow them to meet their many writers and fans. Thus was born FANEX. At first FANEX was sponsored by The Horror and Fantasy Film Society, but run by Gary and Susan. Later the club disbanded and Midnight Marquee produced the con. Getting bored with smaller shows, they decided to shoot the works and do a really great weekend of classic horrors, Monster Rally, 1999. The guest list was a who's who of the golden age of horror: Forry Ackerman (deceased); Jane Adams; Veronica Carlson; Ron Chaney; Anne Francis (deceased); Coleen Gray; Linda Harrison; Ray Harryhausen; Sara Karloff; Ed Kemmer (deceased); Carla Laemmle; Christopher Lee; Suzanna Leigh; Bela Lugosi, Jr.; Terry Moore; Victoria Price; Ingrid Pitt (deceased); Rex Reason; Michael Ripper (deceased); Yutte Stensgaard; Elena Verdugo; Yvette Vickers (deceased).
The show featured many wonderful talks and panel discussions, but one of the most entertaining was The Ed Wood Awards, honoring, or maybe dishonoring is a better word, the worst horror films ever made.
MidMar writers nominated the films and MidMar readers cast their ballots for categories such as Worst Teenage Horror Film, and Vegetables Most Past Their Expiration Date.
The Awards were hosted by indi-filmmakers Ted A. Bohus and Fred Olen Ray, who had been FANEX regulars since FANEX 2. The Ed Wood Awards were held Saturday night after the impressive Laemmle Awards. It was late, the crowd was tired and very possibly drunk and a good time was had by one and all.
In addition to The Ed Wood Awards, the DVD contains a short film done by The Horror and Fantasy Film Society, The History of the Horror Film and directed and edited by Susan Svehla. It was filmed in spectacular Dollovision, and if you want to know what that is, you'll have to watch the DVD. Also included is a panel discussion from FANEX 6, Guilty Pleasures of the Horror Film, featuring horror film fanzine editors and members of The Horror and Fantasy Film Society. We promise you will not believe your eyes and ears when you hear some of these doozies!
The Ed Wood Awards are not relevant or about those deep, depressing issues that the film festivals love so much. Rather this DVD is a love letter to those guerilla filmmakers who didn't make great art, but lovable trash—and managed to brighten the day for their audiences and managed to give people a few much needed laughs, and that's not really such a bad legacy to have.