Get the champagne on ice, it's time for the 6th Annual SGM Awards…the SGM Awards are perhaps one of the most important for the genre industry as it is voted by you readers (their consumers)…each year your votes are received in their droves and (quite literally) days are spent carefully counting and recounting your votes in each and every category with the top three voted announced in our Awards selection.
So onto the awards for 2005…folk will be interested to note that although many of the short listed nominees seem to be holding their place there are indeed one or two surprises in there also. So as ever, we'll kick things off with a look at the various global suppliers then move onto the publishing scene before wrapping things up with a look at the best (and worst) of the DVD Industry scene…cue the trumpets…
DVD purchasing from the East is still as popular as ever, whilst perhaps some of the SGM team have worn weary of the ghostly schoolgirl concept used endlessly in homegrown genre movies, there's still a thriving genre industry scene with some very pleasant (and chilling) surprise releases now and then. Even better for fans is the fact that purchasing most releases from the East can be incredibly inexpensive (the currency rate between the Hong Kong Dollar and UK/Euro/US monies is very nice indeed!)
That said, when it comes to ordering import DVD's, some folk still stick to UK and USA dealers - more so evident with the 3rd place position for Best Asian DVD Supplier going this year to US based 'H K Flix'. For the 2nd place award though we travel across the globe to Tokyo, where we find the headquarters of long running fan favourite 'CD Japan' (who have moved up one spot from third place). But perhaps not surprisingly, for the fifth year running the uncontested winner of Best Asian DVD Supplier 2005 goes to the wondrous 'DDD House' - the long running respected company who have been bringing eager genre fans across the globe not only a reliable service but a great value one also. Congratulations!
For life long fans of exploitation cinema mainland Europe was always the mecca of the uncut video nasty, videotapes of uncut Dutch subtitled horror movies where the main staple of collectors and bootleggers through the 1980's. With the advent of DVD and the internet the horror fans are quite literally spoiled for choice when it comes to picking up any number of obscure genre gems from an ever growing army of genre DVD supplier specialists, many of which are long running established (and respected) European suppliers…
Having slightly dropped in public perception in recent years, it's great to see an improved turn in popularity this year for Austrian supplier 'Sazuma Trading' as they grab the 3rd place position for Best European Supplier. We head over to the Netherlands next where 'Chainsaw Video' firmly hold onto the 2nd place spot. In fact the team at Chainsaw are yet again held from the top position by their Danish friends at 'Absurd Online' who can celebrate the fact that they have won the award for Best European DVD Supplier for fifth year running! Congratulations to all.
Whilst most would expect the nominees for Best UK DVD Supplier would be (as ever) monopolised by the big hitters in the market, it's good to note that this year an indie genre specialist has blasted it's way into the top three positions…slipping down a place from last year (to 3rd) is the online corporate behemoth that is 'Amazon' with it's nice mix of direct and marketplace trading. Welcomingly, the 2nd place spot has been taken by indie Horror specialist 'DVD Horror' (knocking folk like CD Wow, Amazon et al into touch), so special congratulations to the DVD Horror team on their success over the big boy competition. The 1st place winner of Best UK DVD Supplier is a hard fought win though with the mighty 'Play' holding onto top spot for their excellent value pricing and respected customer service. And like the winners for Best Asian and European Suppliers hold onto pole position for the fifth year running!
When it comes to your DVD Suppliers you readers seem to be a steadfast bunch, as when the votes where counted for the Best USA DVD Suppliers it became noticeable very quickly that your choices were from last year pretty much unchanged…
Holding onto the very respectable 3rd place are the hard working folk at 'Diabolik DVD' and likewise proving as ever popular in 2nd position (and still not far from taking the top spot both as Best USA and No 1 Top Supplier) are the team at 'Xploited Cinema'. But it is the power of the mainstream market that has again won the much coveted No.1 position for 'DVD Pacific' with it's massive catalogue and amazingly low retail price fixing that put a welcome smile on SGM's readers...so much so that it was a more of the same when it came to your nominations for the all encompassing Top DVD Supplier Award with 'DVD Pacific' easily taking your votes! Congratulations to all the hard working staff at 'DVD Pacific'!
The nominations for Worst DVD Supplier is perhaps the most unwelcome award any industry dealer wont welcome, but this year the team at Sazuma can breathe easy as not only have they welcomingly re-entered the charts for Best European Supplier (in 3rd place) but have also been well and truly knocked out of contention for the Worst DVD Supplier award. In fact, the outright hands down winner of the Worst DVD Supplier for 2005 is a company we here at SGM had never even heard of (which is probably not a bad thing going by the number of votes the firm received)…yes, the Worst DVD Supplier for 2005 is Canadian firm 'DVD Soon' (with complaints about all aspects of their customer service and stock availability)…make a note NOT to bookmark this one, you have been warned!
2005 was, well, an (ahem) interesting year of the Genre magazine publishing front. More than anything else the year was overshadowed by the shocking (and upsetting) news that Allan Bryce's 'The Dark Side' magazine was home to widespread theft and plagiarism from the online community. At the time of the exposure publisher/editor Bryce stated to SGM "Guess we'll lose the vote for best publication next year, eh?" and perhaps not surprisingly your votes reflected as such…so much so that although 'The Dark Side' in previous years won The Best Genre Magazine for three years running, this year amazingly 'The Dark Side' only mustered three votes, yes from hundreds last year to a mere three votes! In the six years the SGM Awards have been running we have never seen such a swing in readers votes, Allan Bryce take note!
But moving onto more positive matters, with 'The Dark Side' no longer in contention with readers support the balance for Best Genre Magazine 2005 this year has taken a very interesting swing. Note must be made for some titles that were just bubbling under the top three positions with Tim Lucas' 'Video Watchdog' maintaining a solid following and Dutch genre magazine 'Schokkend Nieuws' pushing its way towards the top three positions. In 3rd place this year though, the long running and much respected 'Fangoria' magazine makes a welcome return into readers hearts. Breaking into the 2nd place spot though is Fangoria's Canadian cousin 'Rue Morgue' magazine with its edgier cooler coverage of the genre scene. But the award for Best Genre Magazine for 2005 goes with great pride to Paul and Nigel at 'Is It Uncut?' magazine for their high end glossy welcomingly obsessive fine eye for all things genre related. It's been a long time coming, congratulations to all at 'Is It Uncut?' magazine!
When it comes to genre book reading there has been for several years one publishing house name that comes to mind… FAB Press. With his FAB Press line, publisher Harvey Fenton has successfully dominated the genre market with some of the most stunning and fascinating tomes on the genre film scene, this is reflected particularly so in your votes for the Best Genre Books for 2005.
In 3rd place Jamie Russell's delightful overview of zombie cinema 'Book of the Dead' (published by FAB Press of course) has had undead fans leaping from their coffins in delight. John Hamilton's career long retrospective of Tony Tenser 'Beasts in the Cellar' (published by, you guessed, FAB Press) earns a deserved 2nd place (and is SGM's Al Sex Gore' personal favourite book of the year) but leaping ahead every other (FAB) publication in your votes for Best Genre Book 2005 is Marc Morris, Francis Brewster and Harvey Fenton's collaborative tome 'Shock! Horror! Astounding Artwork from the Video Nasty Era' (published by who? No other than FAB Press of course!) An astounding year for FAB Press and tribute to the stunning work that Harvey Fenton delivers to a respectful genre community - we salute you!
Well when it came to your votes for Best European DVD Producer, the cards where very much thrown into the air as every nominee from last years awards disappeared from the top three positions, though it cannot be said that all three winners this year are not deserved of their nominations. In 3rd place, it is the Italian home company of 'No Shame Films' that make a welcome entry into the SGM Awards (which is mirrored by the USA sister company in the USA Producer nominations, see below). In 2nd place we welcome another newcomer to the SGM Awards nominations, with Dutch Jean Rollin specialists 'Encore Filmed Entertainment' (with a tip of the hat to Salvation Films of course for their work with Encore on their release catalogue). The 1st prize place for Top European DVD Producer of 2005 though goes to the hard working team at 'Raro Video' in Italy (for their work with the likes of Nocturno on various mouth watering Mario Bava and gangster titles) - congratulazioni!
The United States have been at the forefront of the DVD Industry scene with Anchor Bay having been a dominant force for many in the genre scene. But perhaps surprisingly for many will be the fact that this year our voting has seen Anchor Bay drop out the race for the top three coveted positions for Top DVD Producer for 2005. In fact our American friends better watch out as the Europeans are starting to dominate the US market. In 3rd place this year we see the welcome entry of 'No Shame Films' (sister company of the Italian based No Shame), mirroring their 3rd place position for Top European Producer! Great news for Pete Tombs and Andy Starke at 'Mondo Macabro' as the Brit lads have skipped up into 2nd place in the contest to be Top US Producer (well done chaps!) but it should come as no surprise to anyone when we declare that you voted (yet again) the folk at 'Blue Underground' as the deserved 1st place winners of the award for Top US Producer for 2005 - congratulations to everyone at Blue Underground!
There's no denying that making a success of marketing genre DVD releases in the fussy mainstream dominant retail market is a very hard task indeed. That said, whilst the few companies that do make the effort meet mixed levels of success, they all stick steadfast to their passion for the genre scene, this is reflected by your votes for Top UK DVD Producer.
Holding onto the 3rd place position this year are the underrated team at indie producers 'Cryptkeeper' who continue to promote and support truly independent genre cinema by not only releasing upcoming indie films but by also investing in their production (for that alone we recommend you buy their product and give them your support!) Sliding back into 2nd place this year (after been knocked of the spot by fellow Asian cinema lovers Artsmagic) 'Tartan Video' are back in the frame with some solid special edition releases that have kept Extreme Asian Terror fans more than happily sated! But (like the voting for the US producers) it really should come as no surprise that the voting for Top UK Producer 2005 was an absolute landslide with 'Anchor Bay' UK romping home with the majority lions share of your votes and with a look at their release catalogue who could be surprised. Anchor Bay UK have now stepped ahead of their US parent company as they strongest force on genre DVD releasing, tribute we're sure to the work of the recently departed AB MD Mo Claridge, his legacy will long live on.
Before celebrating your favourite DVD releases of 2005, we'll have a brief look at what annoyed you with your nominations for Worst DVD Release of 2005…amusingly, once we sifted out all the write in nominations for "anything by VIPCO" (yet again, though they perhaps welcomingly haven't released anything in 2005 following their woeful bastardised Cannibal Holocaust and House By The Edge of The Park releases) there was two titles that irked you readers the most…first up was the VCI 'remastering' of the Mario Bava classic 'Blood and Black Lace' which was reissued in a new double disc special edition, fans hoping for a pristine transfer at least on par with the earlier German release were shockingly disappointed with a soft grainy rehash of the earlier edition…but the DVD release that bothered you all the most was Media Blaster's handling of the long long awaited release of the Lucio Fulci classic 'A Lizard In A Woman's Skin' - on paper this one should have been a 'must own' classic but from your comments (due to the DVD package containing a cut widescreen version and an uncut fullscreen print) it's more one to avoid (at least until some revisits it with the definitive uncut widescreen version, a print of which is known to be available). Almost there but not quite is the feeling by readers about Media Blasters on this one (you are fickle bunch eh!)
Thanks to the low cost of importing genre DVD releases from places like Hong Kong, Korea and Thailand access to the finest Asian genre cinema has never been easier and your voting for the Best Asian DVD Release of 2005 show that the Asian genre scene is as popular as ever. In 3rd place this year, the Mega Star Hong Kong DVD release of the Pangs Brothers shocker 'The Eye Ten' gave you many welcome sleepless nights. We head over to Korea next where CJ Entertainment delighted readers with their double disc special edition release of Park Chan-wook's 'Sympathy For Lady Vengeance', so much so you voted it into 2nd place. But just slipping into pole position as Best Asian DVD Release of 2005 is for yet another Korean title (perhaps next year we'll change this to Best Korean DVD!) with Kong Soo Chang's spine chilling shocker 'R Point' which came in a beautifully packaged digipack edition from Cinema Service in Korea.
Since the launch of home video mainland Europe has always been to the fore with releasing some outstanding truly obscure genre films onto a welcoming niche market and the voting for Best European DVD Release of 2005 reflects your appreciation and admiration of the work that goes into releasing such titles. In 3rd place this year we congratulate Sazuma Trading for their stunningly packaged special edition release of Mitch Davis and Karim Hussain's mind fuck 'Subconscious Cruelty' (full long overdue review coming soon). In 2nd place Dutch newcomers can be proud that as well as breaking into the Top European Producer category they also score some success with votes for their multi disc special edition release of Jean Rollin's 'Requiem pour un Vampire' (again, full review coming soon). Perhaps not surprisingly though the voting for 1st place as Best European DVD Release of 2005 goes to Beat Records in Italy for their perfect (and long anticipated) double disc set of Joe D'Amato's legendary intestine ripping 'Antropophagus' - an exploitation classic get long overdue respect in this delightful package from Beat Records and hence rightly your choice as Best European DVD Release 2005.
With a market so strong, competition for your hard earned money is fierce within the US DVD market. As well as a massive home market, the interest in importing US releases is as strong as ever thanks again to the currency exchange rates of recent years. In theme with the changes in the voting for Top US DVD Producer, Anchor Bay USA are noticeable in their absence in your top three voting selections. The 3rd place award for Best US DVD release this year goes to Unearthed Films double bill release of Nacho Cerda's truly stomach churning 'Aftermath/Genesis' (get the sick bags ready). But it is the top two places that were always going be a point for discussion with both GrindHouse and Blue Underground vying for your votes…but we can announce that very respectable 2nd place position goes to Grindhouse for their long awaited and heavily anticipated special edition release package of 'Cannibal Holocaust' - was it worth the wait? Going by your votes you certainly think so and we do too, a cracking release with some great extra features. But just slipping a handful of votes ahead of Grindhouse in the race to pip 1st place as Best US DVD Release of 2005 is the Blue Underground coffin box edition of the 'Blind Dead Collection' - the late Amando de Ossorio's Knights Templar movies are given great respect in this beautifully packaged collection, essential!
Following suit with the voting for Top UK Producer it should come as no surprise to see that two of the top three positions for Best UK DVD Release for 2005 would be taken by the supreme talents at Anchor Bay UK (in fact the only surprise being they didn't snap all three top spots!)
So lastly, and by no means least, let's look at who you voted for as the best of British! Yes it those folk at Anchor Bay UK who nab the 3rd place position with the very popular 'Box of the Banned' DVD set, which many of you made clear in your nominations that your selection was as much for the excellent 'Ban The Sadist Videos!' documentary as any of the movies contained therein. The voting for 2nd place goes to Pathe's special edition release of Neil Marshall's truly stunning shocker 'The Descent' (a nomination that is very deserved, a cracking British horror film!) But the award for Best UK Release of 2005 goes directly to Anchor Bay UK who received an avalanche of votes for their stunning multidisc box set collection of Don Coscarelli's 'Phantasm' films. Remastered by the director himself and packaged with a slew of exclusive extras in a giddyishly stunning sphere box set, the 'Phantasm' collection was an easy decision to make when voting for Best UK DVD Release of 2005. Congratulations to everyone at Anchor Bay UK on their ever growing success, here's to a similar run on 2006!
So that just about wraps things up for another year with the SGM Awards for 2005. Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit your choices for your favourites for the year - I know for a fact that all the recipients of the awards are grateful to each and everyone one of you for your support. Let's now look forward to another year of genre goodness and lots of horror fun!Back to the Spotlight page