Tim Minear Challenges Joss Whedon In The Bram Stoker Awards

American Horror Story

by Tami Katzoff (@tvtamijo)

If you’ve got post-Oscars malaise or are saddened by the expiration of awards season, take heart: There are still prizes to be given out. Nominations for the annual Bram Stoker Awards, bestowed by the Horror Writers Association, were announced late last week.

Last year’s winner in the screenplay category was “American Horror Story,” and AHS has been nominated once again, this time for an episode penned by executive producer Tim Minear called “Dark Cousin.”

It’s the episode where we meet Frances Conroy as the Angel of Death – or, as Minear clarifies, the Angel of Despair. “She doesn’t just show up because someone’s going to die; it’s always in the instance where someone has a choice whether to give up or go on.”

Minear says his chances of winning the Bram Stoker Award this year are “probably not very good,” perhaps because his competition includes his former boss, Joss Whedon. Whedon and Drew Goddard are nominated for “The Cabin in the Woods.”

“I think it’s awesome. I love it,” says Minear about the film. “It has Joss’ trademark wit, and basically it takes the trope of young people being menaced out in the woods and turns it on its head. It’s what you would expect from Joss, really.”

I’ll have more from Tim Minear in next week’s column, but right now let’s see what Ryan Turek, managing editor of shocktillyoudrop.com, has to say about “Cabin,” “Dark Cousin,” and the rest of the Bram Stoker nominees.

“The Woman in Black” – Jane Goldman

“I’m actually pretty shocked that it wound up on the list. While based on previous source material, its execution is full of old tricks. And old tricks that any seasoned horror fan can look through. I was actually like, ‘Really? We’re going to use a crow through the window gag and rattling pipes to scare Harry Potter? This is what we’re going to do?’ I can’t even imagine how long the script was, because the first half of the movie is literally [Daniel Radcliffe] walking through the house. I really didn’t like ‘The Woman in Black.’”

“The Walking Dead” – “Killer Within” – Sang Kyu Kim

“I love watching ‘The Walking Dead.’ I love seeing how they translate the story from the comics to television. I think it’s a weird episode choice, but I know why they did it. The one that got nominated is the one where (SPOLIER ALERT!!) Lori dies… I would have selected the next episode after that, because I thought the writing was stronger. How is Rick Grimes dealing with this? How is everybody dealing with the impact of so many losses? There’s a lot more drama to that. With ‘The Walking Dead’ being [nominated] in the Bram Stokers, I think it’s kind of a courtesy nod. Like, ‘You guys are doing a very good job. Keep doing what you’re doing. Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win, but thank you. Good effort.’ Because I think ‘The Walking Dead’ is good but it’s a heavily flawed series on the writing level.”

“American Horror Story: Asylum” – “Dark Cousin” – Tim Minear

“I’m a huge ‘American Horror Story’ fan. I absolutely love it. I don’t think that the season found its focus until the second half. And this was kind of a turning point episode, which was strong in its own right but I don’t think it was the strongest of the season. I would have nominated the final episode, ‘Madness Ends.’ It was such a perfect, emotional, heartfelt wrap-up to a season that was all over the place. They tied up every single thread so beautifully, and I was genuinely moved.”

(Note: “Madness Ends,” also written by Tim Minear, likely was ineligible because it aired in 2013. Maybe next year, Ryan.)

“The Hunger Games” – Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray

“I never really expected to like ‘The Hunger Games.’ I never really paid attention to the books… but when I saw the movie I was like, ‘Holy crap, this is really cool.’ I love when big ideas are thrust into stories that are world-builders. Any writer who has to create a world that’s not within our own reality and does it convincingly, I’m game. And I thought that they did a really good job with it.”

“The Cabin in the Woods” – Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard

“I find it interesting that ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is very divisive amongst horror fans. Some people absolutely love it and some people absolutely hate it. And it drives me crazy. I run into some folks who go, ‘Oh, it’s not a horror film. It’s too funny. It’s not scary enough. It’s too meta.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but you guys are missing the whole point of this thing.’ ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is so layered, so amazing, so quotable and so fun. You have to watch it a couple times to notice the details. It’s so smartly done. Ah, I love that movie.”

The Verdict:

“My prediction is that ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ will take it, because I think they gave ‘American Horror Story’ its due last season, and ‘The Walking Dead,’ I don’t think it was strong enough or innovative enough. ‘The Woman in Black’ — that speaks for itself. And ‘The Hunger Games,’ you can’t even qualify it as a horror film.”

The Bram Stoker Awards will be presented on June 15th.

Previously on The Weekly Whedon:

» Julie Benz talks TV death, undeath and 'Defiance'

» Adam Baldwin talks Joss, Jayne and 'Serenity' dreams

» Joss Whedon and ‘Star Wars’: What might have been

» James Marsters would follow Joss Whedon to the end of the earth

» Looking ahead to 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' in 2013

MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from "Marvel's The Avengers" to "Buffy" and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!