Ray Harryhausen Award
Best Visual Effects
This powerful film was rendered even more powerful by the striking visual effects work of NY/LA company Look FX, in addition to many other fine artists who were able to bring Darren Aronofsky's startling vision to life on the silver screen.
Albert S. D'Agostino Award
Best Production Design
One of the most brilliant production designers in the business, Ferretti has been Martin Scorsese's go-to guy since 1993's Age of Innocence, and his work in Shutter Island can stand alongside some of the best stuff he's ever done, including Interview with the Vampire, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd.
Tom Savini Award
Rick Baker, The Wolfman
The first time this award has gone to anyone other than Greg Nicotero, and clearly, if anyone deserved it this year, it was the legendary Baker for his work in the Universal werewolf remake. Revisiting old territory in his depiction of lyncanthropy, Baker did such a fine job that not even CGI tampering could ruin it.
Bernard Hermann Award
Clint Mansell, Black Swan
As he did with Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, Aronofsky went with Mansell to deliver yet another haunting, powerful score--and he most certainly delivered it. Using the same effortless technique with which he recently wowed genre fans with his Moon score, Mansell composed a suite of music that stays with you longer after the lights come up.
Molly Arbuthnot Award
Best Costume Design
Canonero cut her teeth working on A Clockwork Orange and The Shining for Stanley Kubrick, and she returned to the genre last year with some very impressive work recreating Victorian England for this very atmospheric period film--which just happens to be about werewolves.
Karl Freund Award
Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Watching Black Swan is indeed a dream-like, somewhat dizzying experience--and it takes a certain kind of cinematographer to pull that off. Iron Man DP Libatique did it for Aronofsky on Pi and Requiem for a Dream, and completely outdoes himself here.
Curt Siodmak Award
Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz & John McLaughlin,
Heyman, Heinz and McLaughlin joined forces to deliver Aronofsky that rare gem of a horror script--subtle yet strong, terrifying yet beautiful. Black Swan works on many levels, and it is a testament to this fine collaboration that the finished product was such a truly memorable motion picture.
Linnea Quigley Award
Best Supporting Actress
Delphine Chaneac, Splice
The beautiful Chaneac was transformed into a bizarre, human/animal hybrid through the wonders of CGI, and managed to turn in a startling performance in the process. As Dren, she may have been nearly unrecognizable, but the part she played deserves all the recognition in the world.
Dwight Frye Award
Best Supporting Actor
The character jokingly referred to in an SNL spoof as "the world's only straight French choreographer" was portrayed rivetingly by Cassel, who took a part that could have easily been lost in the shuffle of Aronofsky's intense psychological thriller, and made it shine.
Vincent Price Award
Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island
Though a stretch to be considered a genuine horror flick, Martin Scorsese's latest was a tense thriller/drama with enough chills to qualify--and the director once again brought out a terrific performance from Leo, taking the actor one more step away from his boyish, child star roots.
Jamie Lee Curtis Award
She won the Oscar for this one, and now, she's won the Cyber Horror Award (how's that for a come-down, folks?) No one even came close to Portman in this category, with the stunning actress landing almost every single vote cast. A career-making turn which demonstrated just what kind of acting chops she really has.
David Cronenberg Award
As if there was any doubt. The gifted director who gave us Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler returned with a vengeance last year, closing out 2010 with what may have been the greatest work he's ever done. The auteur's masterful style was on full display in this, one of the greatest thrillers seen in recent years. Perhaps that's why the next and final award is really no surprise...
Val Lewton Award
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Taking home 8 out of 13 Cyber Horror Awards, Black Swan clearly was head-and-shoulders above the pack as the most memorable--and certainly most talked-about--horror film of 2010. Deriving most of its scares from atmospheric, psychological means, the film nevertheless packs a powerful enough punch to have been welcomed by genre filmgoers with open arms. It's rare that a mainstream thriller works so effectively as both horror and drama, but Black Swan pulled it off, and deserves to be recognized as the best of the best.
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!