[Mikhael Agafonov checks in with a report about Moscow's second annual horror award show.]
Russia has yet to produce a remarkable horror movie (although some may argue Timur Bekmambetov’s Night Watch earns the title), but it’s certainly no stranger when it comes to paying respect to the genre. Horror movies usually earn good box office returns in Russia, so it’s only natural that 2011 saw the organization of Moscow’s first horror award show. This January award show (now titled Kaplya, which means ‘The Blob’) returned for its second edition with more nominations, more attractions and more international guests, despite the freezing weather.
The award show, held in Moscow’s House of Journalists, featured several pre-recorded video messages from genre icons, including Tim Sullivan, Lloyd Kaufman (last year’s award recipient), Stuart Gordon and Happy Tree Friends creator Kenn Navarro. Organized and hosted by Viktor Boulankin, it’s a project driven mostly by enthusiasm as it’s still hard to convince Moscow’s officials that a horror show can be a profitable and respected event. Yet The Blob attracted an impressive list of guests from different horror-loving parts of the world.
The show was headlined by 17-year-old genre veteran Jodelle Ferland, who has spent most of her life either scaring or being scared in flicks like Silent Hill, Case 39 and most recently The Cabin in the Woods (though Ferland remained tight-lipped about her involvement in Joss Whedon’s instant classic). Surprisingly Ferland, who also starred in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, is better known in Russia for her role in Terry Gilliam’s Tideland. With The Tall Man set to come out later this year, she was more than happy to discuss her experience in horror movies. “Oh, my little ghost!” Ferland said with a smile as she received her ghost-shaped award. “This is by far the coolest award I’ve ever gotten.”
Composer Daniel Licht had a chance to discuss the art of scoring with a Russian audience, as his most successful project, Dexter, has a big following in Russia. During a special master-class he was asked to create music basically out of nothing, so Licht quickly composed a small, haunting piece using two bottles of water and a glass. He also saw his speech as an opportunity to give some advice to young filmmakers: “To all you filmmakers out there, don’t forget your composer. Give the composer enough time and money to do a great job, it’s very important.”
Europe was represented by Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant, stars of the Swedish vampire drama Let The Right One In (2008). Both said they skipped the US remake, and neither has returned to the horror genre (at least as of now). Another guest, Finnish director AJ Annila, best known for his historical horror film Sauna (2008), on the other hand revealed plans for his next feature called Human, which will flip the werewolf theme upside down. In Annila’s movie, a wolf is bitten by a woman and subsequently cursed with humanity.
But while Ferland and the rest of the guests found themselves worshiped by genre fans, Anton Troy (chosen to represent the American horror scene after his singing/dancing/killing part in last year’s horror comedy anthology Chillerama) found himself lost in translation. “Despite the beautiful architecture, sheer thrill of the unknown and incredible honor of being flown halfway around the world with my peers Mortal Kombat-style, my favorite memory came via the language gap. During my acceptance speech at the awards ceremony I proceeded to say, ‘Thanks to Mikhael Agafonov AKA Mikey Moscow for helping to make this event possible.’ I later found out the translator turned what I had said into ‘Thanks to Russian Mickey Mouse.’ I wonder what the audience must have thought!”
Mikhael Agafonov is a 22-yearl-old, Moscow-born entertainment journalist with a soft spot for horror movies and pop culture. He thinks Scream is the best thing to happen to the horror genre since Halloween, and writes horror novels in his free time. Check him out on the web at mikeymoscow.com.
Photos by Natalie Doomco.