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Kino Korner December 15, 2007
 
Indie Horror Comes To Russia
By Roman Muradov Browse author
 
 

Following their American counterparts, Russian hipster filmmakers have discovered the indie horror movie. You can find hordes of students brainstorming and drinking cheap vodka at any shitty OGI cafe. After the hangover clears up, they rip some creepy music from Silent Hill, gather grandma's bedsheets, buy some Baltimor ketchup, and write a shitload of nonsense on their blogs. By that time the crew realizes it might take a bit more effort than they thought, but they shoot it anyway.

Last Halloween you couldn't toss a severed arm without knocking over an amateur horror festival, and I was lucky enough to visit one of them.

The event was so underground it took more than an hour to find the factory or nuclear plant or whatever it was that hosted the thing. Sadly, the horror ended here. No bloody walls, no scary posters, no popcorn with barbed wire. The announcer was so shy and timid it was almost touching to watch him talk about gore and violence during the introduction. Soon enough we seated ourselves on some sort of wooden planks and the lights went off.

There were two types of films: conceptual bullshit, and gopnik-horror. The first type was boring as hell. Every single one of them started with five-minutes of credits that repeated the same names over and over again. The authors couldn't just say "director of photography & script and pretty much everything-- Konstantin Something".

That very Konstantin Something (he has a last name, but I can't remember it, since every time his first name popped up on the screen I was too busy face-palming and mumbling "not again") raped our minds with a whole bunch of short movies that made no sense at all. Here's a summary of a typical Konstantin something's masterpiece: a girl takes a shower, makes her hair, puts on a dress, steps into the living room, there's a man sitting and watching TV, but whoa, as the camera changes angle you can see that he's dead, sitting still with a knife in his belly! Get it? Dead in front of TV! It took Konstantin about 30 minutes to capture the whole drama.

Gopnik-horror was totally worth all the pain.

So-bad-they're-funny sort of films. Most of them were shot "dlya prikola", but there was one single movie so sincere, it almost touched my heart. I can't remember the title, but "the Haunted Pod'ezd" should suit it fine. The movie starts with the main hero sitting in a marshrutka and listening to some generic crap-rap for about five minutes.

That's right, nothing happens at all for five minutes. More than that, each and every sequence of the movie is incredibly long, and the whole thing lasts for about an hour. The boy takes a walk home though Butovo, takes the elevator and enters his apartment. Shortly, his friend comes over with a huge bottle of Coke. Carefully, he pours the black liquid into two cups and they have a lovely chat about the cursed apartment or whatever. Apparently, the hero thinks their pastime is gay, so he tries to call some friends over and have a wild party. Either everyone was afraid of the boy's cursed apartment or they had no friends who would be kind enough to act in that excuse for a movie, in any case, the guys got dumped and oh, the horror--the TV isn't working!

After a terrifying display of supernatural powers like that, the boys rush out of the room and into the staircase and the terror begins. They walk slowly down the stairs from the 11th to the 1st floor. No, the cameraman didn't cut from the 11th to the 1st, he actually shot the hero and his friend coming down the stairs on every single floor. Apparently, the director though this was pretty fun, so after running down the whole building the boys appear at the top floor again! So, they try again. And again. After at least 30 minutes of running down the stairs they come back into the room and have a ridiculous conversation with some magician-gopnik in a cute colored sweater, another descending down the stairs and another teleportation to the 11th floor. I guess the boys thought that was enough or they ran out of film, so the movie abruptly ends right here. With an open ending like that it's safe to say the future of Russian horror filmmaking is in good hands.


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