Ray Harryhausen Award
Best Visual Effects
This award is earned by so many for their efforts creating the surreal 3-D world of Henry Selick's newest animated masterpiece, but chiefly CG modeler Craig Dowsett, stop motion effects animator Richard Kent Burton, head animator John Allan Armstrong, visual effects supervisor Brian Van't Hul and the crew at LAIKA Digital Design Group.
Albert S. D'Agostino Award
Best Production Design
Drag Me to Hell
An art director for previous Sam Raimi efforts The Quick and the Dead and Spider-Man 2, Saklad stepped up to the production designer role for the director's recent return to the horror genre. Saklad contributed greatly to the look of what was a visually stunning film, from Christine's sterile office environment to the many suitably hellish landscapes on view.
Tom Savini Award
Greg Nicotero, Drag Me to Hell
For the second year in a row, Romero/Savini protege Nicotero wins the CHA for Best Makeup. In an era when the art of makeup effects often sadly take a backseat to digital work, it's nice to see someone like Nicotero still championing the amazing practical wizardry of the old school.
Bernard Hermann Award
Drag Me to Hell
Young is a veteran of horror scoring, with films like The Uninvited, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Grudge, Urban Legend, Species, The Dark Half and his most famous horror score of all, Hellraiser, under his belt. Last year, he delivered a deliciously histrionic piece of music that was perfectly suited to Raimi's big-budget E.C. homage.
Molly Arbuthnot Award
Best Costume Design
Magali Guidasci, Zombieland
This is the first year for this award, and it goes to the woman responsible for dressing up all those wonderful ghouls wreaking havoc in Zombieland. She also did one hell of a job turning Woody Harrelson into one of the most bad-ass looking zombie hunters of all time.
Karl Freund Award
Anthony Dod Mantle, Antichrist
Love it or hate it, Lars von Trier's Antichrist was an extremely stylish motion picture, and the masterful Mantle was a big reason for that. Mantle's last film was the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, and he's also responsible for that other Danny Boyle movie, 28 Days Later--proving he's no slouch behind a camera.
Curt Siodmak Award
Trick 'r Treat
Dougherty got a start in the business working for Bryan Singer's Bad Hat Harry Productions, cranking out screenplays for Singer films like X2 and Superman Returns. But Trick 'r Treat was his baby through and through, and boy, did he make one hell of a splash in the horror world with this highly engaging, interwoven tapestry of terror.
Linnea Quigley Award
Best Supporting Actress
Lorna Raver, Drag Me to Hell
Veteran TV actress Raver (best recognized up till now for a recent stint on The Young and Restless) opened a lot of eyes by stealing the show in Raimi's Drag Me to Hell as the insanely over-the-top gypsy lady Sylvia Ganush. "You... shame me?" No, Ms. Raver--we salute you.
Dwight Frye Award
Best Supporting Actor
Bill Murray, Zombieland
This may have been nothing more than a walk-on cameo appearance, but among walk-on cameo appearances, it will live on as one of the most geektastic of all time. As always, Murray is comedy gold, even with very limited screen time. He may have just been having fun, but by watching him, so did millions of others.
Vincent Price Award
Woody Harrelson, Zombieland
He may be nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Messenger, but horror fans hailed him as the one and only Twinkie-loving Tallahassee, zombie killer extraordinaire. Who knew that Sam Malone's dim-witted sidekick would one day be so cool?
Jamie Lee Curtis Award
Isabelle Fuhrman, Orphan
For the second year in a row, the CHA for Best Actress goes to a pre-teen girl. Fuhrman (11 at the time of filming, now 13) is a revelation as Esther, the most terrifying and cold-hearted movie kid since Damien. Most impressive of all, the part called for a great deal of maturity on her part, and she came through in spades.
David Cronenberg Award
Trick 'r Treat
Dougherty lands a second CHA for directing his aforementioned pet project. In his directorial debut, he certainly has set the standard high--not only for himself, but for other horror directors. Taking his own script, Dougherty saw the project through and delivered what could have been the most universally admired horror film of 2009. Which brings us to...
Val Lewton Award
Trick 'r Treat, Bad Hat Harry Productions
Yes, this movie was made in 2007, and yes, it showed to film festivals in 2008. But 2009 was the year it finally made it the public at large--albeit, unfortunately, in direct-to-video form. Regardless of distribution nightmares, Trick 'r Treat finally did reach audiences, and those audiences embraced it wholeheartedly. This film more than rewarded all those who were waiting for it, and easily takes its place in the pantheon of modern horror classics.
THE VAULT OF HORROR presents the 2012 Cyber Horror Awards--the first horror film awards decided by the online horror-blogging/writing community. The fifth annual installment should be the biggest one yet, with participation from all across the vast horror blogosphere. If you're a blogger or other online horror critic and haven't received a ballot, please let me know and I'd be happy to include you!