Pumpkin Head Awards – 2020



Winner: Cursed Granny by Suso Imbernón, Juanjo Moscardó Rius – “Technically rich, and full of flavour. Granny sure does take a bite of fun!” | Nominees: Loopy by Max Cianci and Anthony Peduzzi – “Smart and nicely shot.”, Bhook by Simi Deka – “Third best of the Jury selection. Personal and intimate.”, LEASH by Jamie Thornham – “Dark and gritty, LEASH is a delight to be had in the era of crystal clear digital images”, The Four People Who Call You At The End Of The World by Kenzie Yango – “A brilliant technical exercise. Second best of our Jury selection.”, Undying Love by Zak Bandit – “A delightful family (horror) film.”, The Treehouse by Nathaniel Goselwitz – “Style, cinematic language and retro slasher vibes are alive and well in this short.”


Films: Budget – Short/Feature Film: Budget – less than $1,000 – Winner: The Dandelion Cortex by Nico Fulton Lavachek – “The world Quinn moves through is just an incredible use of budget – both for its look and its sense of quality delivered in all departments.” | Nominees: Script by Piero Cannata – “A smart effort that offers a great pay off for all viewers.”, Superterranean by Ian Gordon – “A strange wonderboy of a film.”, Umbra (pen-, ant-) by Vaggelis Deligiorgis – “Beautifully made and well crafted.”, Toy Box Killers by Mark Denham – “On this budget, this film clearly paves a great epic road… one much bigger and impressive than it ought to be (as in, due to its restricted budget etc.)… a truly great example of making the most of what you have in the indie world!”, Black Lizard Tales by James Edward Newton – “A seriously fun genre piece. Wonderful.”, The Shallows by Martin Thomas – “The Shallows finds many ways with which to capture an audience’s attention. It really has a strong sense of style and stakes, despite its small budget.”

Films: Budget – Short/Feature Film: Budget – between $1,000 – $5,000 – Winner: Prosperity Creek by Zack Walsh – “This comical feature pushes its budget to the max. There’s a real feeling that what the team has access to is used in the best way on screen.” | Nominee: The Nexus by Caleb Reese Paul – “The Nexus is a great use of budget – the film has a definite sense of polish that exceeds its limitations.”

Films: Budget – more than $5,000 – Winner: Surprise by David Green and Dan Mcgee – “This film delivers a scrumptious journey through a nightmare world. The cast is a fun bubbly bunch and the pleasure of such a spectacle can’t be missed.” | Nominee: Cursed Granny by Suso Imbernón and Juanjo Moscardó Rius – “This short is loveable for its style, its horrific take on a cuddly character and the overall consistent use of the film medium. It’s a total joy.”

Webseries – Winner: Demon Doctor by Joshua R. Pangborn – “This comedy horror is a fantastic combination of entertainment and showmanship. I think a second season needs to be ordered!” | Nominees: Or So The Story Goes by Theresa Labreglio – “The main strength of this webseries is its cast and claustrophobic vibes… it feels uncomfortable in the most comfortable way.”


Best Actress: Winner: Kerry Newton in Everyone Laugh At Leanne – “Newton shifts a lot of gears here, and with great ease. There’s a great combination of physical and emotional/voice acting here.” | Nominees: Monica Zanforlin in Script – “Zanforlin’s performance is constantly on edge. She’s a horror queen!”, Nicole Arnold in Macrophage – “Macrophage is a great exploitation romp. It runs and it screams like all of those great 80’s flicks… but at its heart, it really is Arnold who carries it out of the woods and into a classy flick. She’s a brilliant actress in a role that she fully embraces and elevates.”

Best Actor: Winner: Lasse Valdal in The Shallows – “Valdal provides something textured and nuanced. We felt uncomfortable watching the film thanks to his realism. It is a great effort from a skilled actor.” | Nominees: Tom Coulston in Everyone Laugh At Leanne – “Cruel as he may be, Coulston’s performance is just grand.”, Ken Stamp in Toy Box Killers – “Stamp brings a great sense of realism to his part of Toy Box Killers.”, Jon Prophet in Toy Box Killers – “Prophet grounds this film. He’s the core reactor and it wouldn’t be a solid film without his involvement.”, Raúl López in Precipice – “A precise performance. Very confident.”, David González in Precipice – “Another precise performance. These two just bounce brilliantly off of each other.”, Dylan Law in Tommy – “Law grounds the film. He’s natural in an unnatural situation.”, Matthew Ewald in The Sparrow – “Ewald helps ground this fantasy horror. His performance really leads the entire venture.”, Nathaniel Goselwitz in The Treehouse – “This creepy short is entirely brought to life by this singular performance at its core. One actor doesn’t mean one tone, and Goselwitz proves this to be the case.”

Best Ensemble Cast: Winner: The cast of The Nexus – “This young cast deliver all they’ve got. Just brilliant.” | The Cast of Or So The Story Goes – “The cast on display are very committed, and it helps in ensuring the film’s believability.”, The cast of Black Lizard Tales – “The team behind Black Lizard Tales are creepy as f**k – which is a real compliment, as this is a horror film awards body!”, The cast of Prosperity Creek – “A great gathering of talent. Lots of ‘real’ people, and none of those ‘fake’ actor vibes here.”

Best Director: Winner: Jose Leon (Precipice) – “Precipice is a beautifully designed dark creature. It carries a sense of psychological horror which seeps into the viewer’s mind and memory.” | Nominees: Jay Nuzum (Macrophage) – “What bloody hysteria! This film feels like a retro gift, and Nuzum knows how to punch it right in the stomach. This is an outrageous delight.”, Ian Gordon (Superterranean) – “Intimate and often beautifully designed, Gordon’s film boasts a strong understanding of cinema above all.”, Nico Fulton Lavachek (The Dandelion Cortex) – “TDC comes loaded with a great manifestation of trauma – both externally (ie visually) and internal. It is crafted with great care, and a strong and bold voice.”, Martin Thomas (The Shallows) – “The prison of ideas lodged into this film are both very defined and precise. It is a delight to see.”

Best Cinematography: Winner: Midnight Movie: Magnum Opus (Sofien Mekni and Med Said Ben Ammar) – “Opus delivers sights that are horrific and beautiful at the same time. The film’s understanding of black and white photography, as well as the importance of composition and lighting, is all part of its brilliant display of inner-psychological thinking unravelling in the exterior (ie out of body) space.”| Nominees: Cursed Granny (Suso Imbernón and Juanjo Moscardó Rius) – “The film’s strength is very technical here: it looks slick and feels very modern and clean and sharp and solid.”, Superterranean (Ian Gordon) – “Texture is explored with great understanding of photographic value in this feature film. The world it is set in is very real thanks to this.”, The Dandelion Cortex (Bennett Barbosa) – “Beautifully lit, The Dandelion Cortex is rather reminiscent of Mandy in its understanding of colour as a weapon.”, The Treehouse (Nathaniel Goselwitz) – “Tactile and dangerous, The Treehouse has greatly enhanced thanks to its photographic flavour. We can almost taste the dirt!”

Best Writing: Winner: Everyone Laugh At Leanne (M W Daniels) – “As paranoia sets in, Leanne becomes rather undone. And so do we. Daniels has done a great job here in writing this character study. It really is a joy to watch!” | Nominees: Midnight Movie: Magnum Opus (Myriam Khammassi) – “The design of Magnum Opus is largely crafted in its script. The concept of sculpture and horror almost create their own subgenre here, I’ll call it: ArtHorror. And yes – this is a great ArtHorror film.”, The Four People Who Call You At The End Of The World (Wyatt Lamoureux) – “This film takes on the filmic idea/concept of ‘recent memory passed’. It is great. The film’s set up delivers… and that is something that very few horror scripts achieve. Bravo!” , Undying Love (Zak Bandit) – “The concept of this zombie effort is fresh – and that is a serious compliment, considering that the zombie genre has been done to death and brought back to life several times now!”, Or So The Story Goes (Theresa Labreglio and Melissa Malone) – “Pulling off some serious cult vibes here, Laberglio and Malone create a set of loveably disgusting people for us to observe. It is skillfull, edge of your seat kind of psychological gameplay.”

Best Editing: Winner: Scorching Sunday Sale (Caleb Caprietta) – “Wild and out of this world. Scorching Sunday Sale really turns up the heat with its edit. It is a technical wizard storm that really knows how to David Lynch your head in a dark place.” | Nominees: The Four People Who Call You At The End Of The World – “Horror comes at you in every direction in the second half of this short… the edit, acting as a scalpel, ensures you get cut and injured. It’s great stuff.”, The Treehouse (Chad Simoneau) – “The perspective camera angles, and edits, all help shove the audience into that woodland. We feel the fire’s heat, see the darkness and face our demons. The style of this short is so brilliantly developed through its pace, which of course is thanks to the length of certain takes, and the ability to hold off an unnecessary cut.”, Save 2.0 (Ivan Sainz-Pardo) – “The film’s tension, and its ephemeral nature of life/life in horror, is greatly enhanced by its edit.”

Special Mention: Winner: Best Black and White Cinematography – Umbra (pen-, ant-) by Vaggelis Deligiorgis – “Dark, poetic, stark… a thing of beauty.”| Winner: Best Use of Locale: Surprise by David green and Dan Mcgee – “This short carries a lot of bones in its bag (I say this as a compliment, this is a horror metaphor!) – ie there’s a lot going on… and the one thing that is so brilliant about it is its localised treats – the cast and locations. This short feels like an authentic homegrown project with a specific locale and a cast to suit it. It has a texture that is entirely unique to it…. and it is delicious.” | Winner: Best Themed Horror – “Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas indeed! – this film pumps up the pleasures as it forces a particular genre into a certain time of the year we all like to feel comfortable, rather than uncomfortable. It is a fun take on the holiday film!”


Nominees: Winner: Dinner Rush by Dale Fabrigar – “The scale of this quarantine film can be felt. It is an epic on a small level. The use of locale and cast is pushed to the max.” | Nominees: Loopy by Max Cianci and Anthony Peduzzi – “A fantastic stylish venture.”, Spare Fridge by Jeffrey Smee – “A rather cool delight.”, The Drawing by Dominic Grose – “The sense of ‘personal’ horror really comes into play here. Really great.”, Bhook by Simi Deka – “A personable effort. Really great.”, Night Feed by William Allum – “Small and delicate… this film delivers a satisfying joke in its super-short format.”


Best Actor: Winner – Shared: Andrew Hamblin in LEASH – “Hamblin’s performance is simple. That is to say – he never overplays the hand he has. It is great.” and Eric Roberts in Dinner Rush – “In an attempt to avoid being biased I will personally (ie Ben Rider here) say that Eric does what he simply does best. This is a delightful meal, and it should not be missed!” | Nominees: Lennon Clarke in Operator – “Clarke finds power in his comedic backhand, for this horror that is a combination of different ‘hats’ in terms of its genre reach… it helps anchor its direction, and gives it great energy.”, Christian Grose in The Drawing – “Grose helps with carrying the film. He is the be-all and end-all of the film’s personality.”, R. Massey in LORD – “Massey’s performance is the second phone call we’ve had this season. It’s a good call… we answered it.”

Best Cinematography: Winner: Callum O’Brien (Long Day) – “Long Day looks like it took several long days to shoot. It is stunning to see. Lovely lighting.” | Nominees: Enrique Bencomo (Die At Home) – “The film’s use of lenses, and intimate spaces is just lovely.”, Sinde Hauland (The Shallows) – “A carefully composed film is delivered here. Hauland helps it look so good.”

Best Director: Winner: Jamie Thornham (LEASH) – “Thornham’s understanding of film technology helps make this a very distinct project for the quarantine age.” | Nominees: Evan Covacevich (The Forgotten) – “Covacevich gives a showstopping project here.”, Gabriel Brown (No Escape) – “Brown’s style elevates this horror quarantine film. It is a great piece of mystery and danger.”, Jordan Fries (Time Alone) – “Fries’ sense of time and space makes this a great short film that challenges its viewers in a philosophical sense of what is and isn’t our lives, and how finite our time is.”

Best Actress: Vicki Sargent (A Funny Way To Die) – “Sargent delivers a great variety of ‘in danger’ moments here.” | Nominees: Helena Chamma Palau (Immune: The Prologue) – “Palau helps ground this particular project.”, Prasanta Kalita
(Bhook) – “Daring and engaging, Kalita is great.”

Best Screenplay: Winner: Roshni “Rush” Bhatia (Insiders) – “A very unique take on the video call chat. It’s engaging and brilliantly delivered by an ensemble cast.” | Nominees: Mark A. C. Brown (Friends with Benefits) – “Comical and fresh.”, Max Roach (The Year Is 2020) – “Roach’s performance is great. He brings his own script to life with such great energy… but one should not get confused by the magic surrounding the film… the simple monologue script is where the real magic is at.”


Best Script: Is That You? by Nathan D. Ludwig – “A clear, concise and smart script. Just someone shoot it already!” | Nominees: The Caregivers by Mikeal Burgin – “Is spookilicious a word? It should be.”, The Crystal Wall by Fernanda Alvarez – “Epic and grand as a script can be.”, NANUQ by Jami Todd – “This script has a yarn to tell, and it is glory!”, New Moon 52800 by Dean Harakas – “The script reads like a wild paperback that you pick up on holiday and enjoy during a bumpy flight.”, The Undying by Ian Sterchi, Andy Wiest, Keith Sota – “Something of a unique and unusual horror effort, recalls Predator – the original that is.”

Best Scare: Winner: The Remote by Gary McElkerney – “This script lives and breathes and eats your horror.” | Nominees: It Was Probably Just the Wind by Nathan D. Ludwig – “This is a fun concept that could allow for interesting casting… but ultimately it is the concept that is key. It has some serious genre potential in terms of filming style.”, Bloody Bears by Joshua R. Pangborn – “The script feels very intimate and real at times… or at least, real in the world it establishes.”, The Lost Beacon by Jaye L Swift – “The flavour of the period has definitely been incorporated into the script. It has a real ‘texture’ to the script’s feelings.”,

Best Script Technique: Winner: Blood of the Manor by Robert Drusetta – “This script is super tight and clean.” | Nominees: Succubus by David J. Keogh – “The script feels very detailed and well crafted.”, Scare Tales: Revenge of the Pumpkin Head by Matthew Neff: “A total delight. I’d personally love to be involved in its making (Ben Rider)”, Bite Marks by Jay Strong – “The script has this ‘tone’ about it that has been lost in the current market. It’s very Roger Corman, in the good sense… in the classical sense.”

Best Micro-Budget Script – Winner: Summoning Demons by Larry Dwyer – “Concise, to the point and ready to shoot!” | Nominees: Cat Killer: Nancy James by Jovan Taylor – “This script has an overall sense of being affordable, even at a feature level.”, Sight Specific by Peter Hardy – “The tone and style are what carry this film… but it is also quite well designed in terms of what one could throw together to make it.”, The Body by Dene Stark – “Despite the expensive locale, the overall design on this script is very slick and easy to shoot.”

Special Mention Script Award: Winner: Ice Cream, U Scream by Sarah E. Taylor “A pure joy to read.”


Winner: Nominees: Not In The Dark by Mathew Bonta | Gone Bye Midnight by JW Richardson, Hagai by Gev Elmaleh, Nir Freund, The Empire of Shadows by Carlox Cadena, You Better Run by Becky Doyon, The Caregivers by Mikeal Burgin.


Winner: Together Time by Ronda Sarich – “There is a real feeling for a character, scenario and style in this trailer. I suspect it would have been a winning film had we had it in competition.” | Nominees: The Exorcism in Amarillo by Ashley Hays Wright, Year Zero by Isaac Rodriguez, Jezebel by Joe Cash, Death from Above by Jordan Coles, Together Time by Ronda Sarich and MAYA by Maria Brenda (Co-director) and Paolo Bertola

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