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September 29th, 2005

The Stoker Screenwriting Award

Over at the Dark Delicacies discussion board, the subject recently came up of the HWA's Stoker Award for Best Screenplay, a category that was voted out this year...when, ironically, we've actually had enough good horror screenplays to have made the category interesting. The question arose as to why the HWA dumped the screenplay category, and I responded. Never being one to stop flogging a dead horse, I'm also posting that response here:

...Well, they gave a plethora of reasons for dumping the screenplay category, chief among them: 1) Screenplays can't really be judged properly because no one reads the actual screenplay; and 2) somebody or other at HWA came up with this theory straight out of Bizarroland that the Stoker Awards were garnering a bad reputation because there were so many categories. (I know...say WHUT?!). To the first notion, I posted elsewhere that that was essentially saying that if a movie was good the writer had nothing to do with it, and that made the HWA sound like just another Hollywood producer.

Y'know, one of my regrets of the past few years was in not waging a bigger battle against that vote to dump the screenplay category. I didn't because I really thought NOBODY would vote it out. It just seemed so patently obvious to me that: 1) writers DO have something to do with good films; 2) the Stokers' rep has suffered as a result of quality, not quantity; 3) the screenplay category was where the HWA stood to garner the most press; and 4) screenwriting is the most potentially lucrative area of horror writing, so you'd think that an organization calling itself "professional" would do whatever it could to promote this area.

The good news is that, with the success of the recent Stoker event here in L.A., HWA'ers are starting to reconsider the screenplay sitch and realize (DOH!) that maybe voting 'em out really wasn't such a great idea. With any luck we'll see them reinstated in some form or other...but unfortunately this year's fine films will be SOL.