Horror 101, an anthology of film reviews edited by Chicago actor Aaron Christensen, has been nominated for Best Book of 2008 honors by the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. The book contains essays by 78 writers on 110 fantasy, sci-fi, and monster movies. As I noted in a Reader article last year, Christensen, a member of WildClaw Theatre, solicited contributions from fellow fans rather than professional critics or film historians, producing a tome that noted movie director Joe Dante praised for its "refreshingly egalitarian approach." Local contributors included playwright Brett Neveu, actor Anish Jethmalani, and WildClaw Theatre artistic director Charley Sherman.
Horror 101 was published last year by Midnight Marquee Press. Its rivals for this year's Best Book nod include critical biographies of such notables as special-effects giant Ray Harryhausen, actor Claude Rains, and Dracula director Tod Browning, as well as studies of The Twilight Zone TV series, the film Videodrome, and the classic monster-movie magazines of the 1950s-1970s. The Rondo Hatton Awards are named for the famously ugly 1940s character actor also known as "the Creeper." Hatton's monstrously distorted visage was the result of a condition called acromegaly, produced by exposure to poison gas during World War I. The Rondo Hatton Awards seek to "recognize the best in monster research, creativity, and genre appreciation." Anyone can cast a vote online at rondoaward.com. Online voting closes March 21.