Syracuse’s Scare-a-Con is about to take over the Event Center at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY from September 12-15, and to make this year’s con even more impressive, they’ve created the first annual R.I.P. Awards, honoring the greatest that the genre has to offer! In anticipation of this, the organizers were kind enough to lend us J.V. Johnson, Scare-A-Con’s promoter, to offer his thoughts on what goes into creating an ambitious, genre-specific awards show, and much more! You can learn all about the R.I.P. Awards and Scare-a-Con (including essentials like ticket prices, directions, and the schedule of their film festival) over at their official website!
Den of Geek: What inspired you to create the R.I.P. Awards?
R.I.P.: Hollywood’s lack of interest in horror films was the primary motivation behind the R.I.P. Awards. Horror films offer some great writing, great directing, great acting, and more and certainly deserve some sort of recognition for those accomplishments. The R.I.P. Awards will fill the void that Hollywood, and the Academy Awards has created.
DoG: How were the nominees chosen?
R.I.P.: We hand selected number of horror film “experts” to pick nominees for each of the categories. The categories themselves are designed to highlight certain years, and don’t follow the traditional paths people are accustomed to when it comes to film awards. Once the experts selected the nominees, we put it up to a vote by SCARE-A-CON pre-registered attendees. The fans ultimately make the final decision of where the awards go.
DoG: With so many horror remakes in recent memory, do you think its important to acknowledge the source material?
R.I.P.: Absolutely. Many film lovers, particularly horror film lovers, cringe at the thought of a remake. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised by such efforts, but regardless it is very important to us that the originals, with all of their creativity, and sometimes even their flaws, be honored for what they contributed to the field.
DoG: Who are your favorite horror actors and actresses? They don’t have to be current nominees!
R.I.P.: My personal preferences come from the classics. Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Fay Wray, Lon Chaney, Jr., Vincent Price and others from the early days of American horror films are the performers in horror that I most appreciate. Mostly because they were creating the genre and their simplicity and artistic honesty comes through every film.
DoG: Which of the nominees do you feel most strongly about?
R.I.P.: I am most excited about the SCARE-A-CON Horror Hall of Fame induction. Although not really an R.I.P. Award, it will be part of the R.I.P. Award process, and will be our attempt to recognize the best of the best when it comes to horror. We look forward to adding to the Hall of Fame, year after year, and at some point being able to make the inductions and the R.I.P. Awards, the focus of SCARE-A-CON weekend. There are hundreds of films that are worthy, and many of them will ultimately be inducted, and it is interesting to see how the fans rate these films as they come up for nomination.
DoG: Are people going to be going around Scare-A-Con campaigning for their favorite stars/movies?
R.I.P.: Since the winners are determined in advance, they won’t have much opportunity to campaign for their favorites. What they will start doing, however, is campaigning for the following year’s nominees…that will add a whole additional level to the SCARE-A-CON weekend as not just fans, but people who participated in making some of these films start to push to have their works recognized. It will all be part of the growth and we are excited about the possibilities.
DoG: Some horror films have been widely recognized (Silence of the Lambs, Exorcist). What characteristics do you think make a film more likely to be recognized by the mainstream community?
R.I.P.: Occasionally, a big-budget horror film comes through the Hollywood process, and it receives some recognition from the film community, or the Academy. Those are rare, and for every one of those, there are hundreds of independent efforts – some that actually make it big, like The Blair Witch Project – but many, although worthy, never really see a broad audience. It’s those films that are most deserving of the recognition the RIP Awards are designed to give. Of course films like The Exorcist are monumental, and will receive, and deserve attention from us, but also films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or John Carpenter’s Halloween, which effectively changed the way Americans think about their communities and their neighbors, deserve equal discussion and recognition.
DoG: Tell us a little bit about how you choose inductees into the Scare-A-Con Hall of Fame.
R.I.P.: As I mentioned in a previous answer, this is meant to be the SCARE-A-CON legacy. Through our nominating and then fan-voting process we will put the spotlight on the best of the best from horror. Whether films, actors, directors, writers, or other contributors to the horror film making process, we intend to honor the best, in perpetuity through the creation of and annual additions to the SCARE-A-CON Horror Hall of Fame. Again, the process involved a group of horror experts who selected the nominees, and then we put the decision up to the fans. Their votes determine who is inducted and who is not.
DoG: What horror films are you looking forward to seeing in the next couple of years?
R.I.P.: That’s one of the unique things about horror films – you never know you want to see it until it comes out. It’s easy for people to say they want to see the next Star Wars movie, or the next Avengers film – they are anticipated and expected, and Hollywood delivers. With horror, it’s frequently a few inspired, but unknown film makers who are writing and filming, without a real budget, that produce the next must-see horror film. And, whatever it is, I can’t wait to see it.
Here is the complete list of nominees!
Best Scream Queen Performance – 1983
Catherine Deneuve – The Hunger
Debby Harry – Videodrome
Dee Wallace – Cujo
Felissa Rose – Sleepaway Camp
Brooke Adams – The Dead Zone
Best Male Villain – 1992
Tony Todd – Candyman
Larry Drake – Dr. Giggles
Jeff Fahey – Lawnmower Man
Robert Wightman – Stepfather III
Gary Oldman – Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Best Horror Director – 1988
Tom Holland – Child’s Play
Fred Olen Ray – Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
William Lustig – Maniac Cop
Andrew Fleming – Bad Dreams
Renny Harlin – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4
Best Makeup FX – 1990
Greg Nicotero/Howard Berger – Misery
Gabriel Bartalos – Basket Case 2
Nick Dudman – Frankenstein Unbound
Howard Berger – Bride of Re-Animator
Mark Coulier – Nightbreed
Most Inventive Kill – 1999
Geoffrey Rush – House on Haunted Hill
Miranda Richardson – Sleepy Hollow
Arnold Vosloo – The Mummy
Sam Jackson – Deep Blue Sea
Cast – Final kill scene in The Blair Witch Project
Best Horror Film – 1974
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
Best “So Bad It’s Awesome” – 1974
Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires
The Bat People
Induction into the SCARE-A-CON Horror Hall of Fame
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Amityville Horror (1979)