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Film Festival Aims to Bring More Horror to Russia

Canadian actor Jodelle Ferland, who starred in “Silent Hill,” a film version of a video game, and a “Twilight” movie will fly in for the three-day festival.

Horror film aficionados can wrap themselves in the dark night of a festival this weekend as a gathering of foreign stars comes to Moscow for the Kaplya, or Drop, horror film festival aimed at boosting the local fright movie industry.

The three-day event mixes an award ceremony Friday with a six-film festival and master classes by the stars.

Topping the bill will be Canadian Jodelle Ferland, who starred in the 2006 horror film "Silent Hill" and more recently as a vampire in the "Twilight Saga: Eclipse."

She is joined by Kare Hedebrant, the young star of the Swedish vampire hit "Let the Right One In," where he plays a young boy who finds out that his neighbor has very sharp teeth.

Festival organizer Viktor Bulankin hopes that the festival, now in its second year, will boost Russian horror filmmaking.

He said the biggest problem for Russian horror films is a lack of good scripts: "The film shouldn't be a carbon copy of an American production, but based on an original Russian story."

One successful Soviet horror film, he said, was the 1967 film "Viy" based on the Nikolai Gogol short story about students who come face to face with a demonic entity.

"Viy" starred leading Soviet actress Natalya Varlei, who famously told how she fell out of a coffin while filming, and she is expected to attend and receive an award.

Russian reality can be as dark as anything on screen, said Bulankin, a possible reason for the lack of good local movies.

Nevertheless, trailers of four Russian horror films still in production will be shown during the festival, including "SSD," an acronym for "Death to Soviet Children," which is set in a Soviet-era summer camp. Anfisa Chekhova, the television sex show host, has a starring role.

Horror films have a positive effect on society, claimed Bulankin, teaching the audience how not to be afraid.

"Critics say horror films produce a negative effect on society, but then we see documentaries on police on Russian television," said Bulankin, referring to local television's real blood-and-guts formula, "and that is considered normal."

The awards ceremony on Friday will feature a circus act, ballet and the dance troupe Erotic Light Show, organizers say.

Master classes by the star visitors for 3,000 rubles ($100) and autograph sessions will take place Sunday at the Vremena Goda movie house.

Kaplya runs Fri. to Sun. The awards ceremony takes place at Dom Zhurnalistov. 8A Nikitsky Bulvar. Metro Arbatskaya. Tel. 8 (916) 157-2727. www.horrorpremia.ru.

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