Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Horrorpalooza 2014: "The Screamys": An Interview with Fright Meter Awards President and Founder Troy Escamilla
Troy Escamilla is the president of the Fright Meter Awards, which is dedicated to showcasing the best of the horror genre. You’re truly has been a part of the committee for over two years now and I wanted to bring him on to talk about these awards, as I personally haven’t seen much publicity about them and truly believe these awards truly defines the best of what the horror genre has to offer
Anthony T: Before we start taking about the Fright Meter Awards. I have to figure that you must be a dedicated horror fan to do all of this. What were some of your favorite horror films when you were growing up?
Troy: Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to discuss the Fright Meter Awards! And you are correct; I am absolutely a horror fan and have been since I was a kid. Some of my favorite films growing up—the films responsible for me becoming such an avid horror fan—include Carrie, Halloween, Return of the Living Dead and of course Friday the 13th. However, my favorite horror film of all time is 1974’s Black Christmas, which I feel is criminally underrated and does not get anywhere near the respect it deserves for shaping what we know as the modern slasher film.
Anthony T: How did you come up with the idea with Fright Meter Awards?
Troy: In addition to being a horror fan, I am also a huge film awards buff. I am an Oscar trivia machine and diligently follow awards season. It has always bothered me massively that the horror genre is virtually ignored by mainstream awards. There have been some truly great performances in horror films—performances that rival, or are often time better than those that won Oscars their perspective years. Several years ago, I started a personal blog called Fright Meter, where I posted reviews of horror films, etc. I decided to combine my love of horror and awards by giving out my personal awards on an annual basis. After getting to know some other horror bloggers, I got the idea to put a committee of horror lovers together to help with the awards. The result is what you see currently; we have a committee of over forty members involved in various aspects of the industry and are gaining notice and attention within the horror community.
Anthony T: What is the main objective with these awards?
Troy: To put it simply, we exist to honor and recognize excellence within the horror genre.
Anthony T: What are some of the most notable winners in the history of the awards?
Troy: Last year, The Conjuring was the big winner, winning five awards. In 2012, The Cabin in the Woods also won five awards. Additionally, John Cusack, Michael Fassbender, Marcia Gay Harden, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rutger Hauer, and Traci Lords have all won acting awards.
Anthony T: What are some of the differences between your awards and other notable horror awards like the Reaper Awards and Fangoria’s Chainsaw awards?
Troy: A couple of notable differences are that the Fright Meter Award nominees and winners are selected by a committee of horror fans, bloggers, actors, directors, and writers. They are not “fan voted” per say, which allows for some of the independent and lesser known stuff to get nominated. Also, our categories mirror the Oscars; there are no categories like “Best Kill Scene” or “Best Villain.” I really wanted to ensure that the awards were viewed as being serious and a true attempt to honor the art of horror genre filmmaking.
Anthony T: One of things that I like about it as a voter is that you have to pay attention to all of the other aspects of filmmaking. Why did you try to pattern them like the Oscars?
Troy: As I mentioned above, I want the awards to be taken seriously. The horror genre often has a hard enough time being taking seriously by mainstream critics and awards show. The last think I wanted was to create categories that would give people ammunition to view them as corny. I think this does indeed set them apart from other horror genre awards.
Anthony T: For those who haven’t follow the awards, what are some of the main categories for the Fright Meter Awards?
Troy: Basically, the categories for the Fright Meter Awards mirror what you will find with the Oscars. Best Horror Movie, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, etc. We also honor the technical aspects of filmmaking, such as editing and cinematography. We also created a Lifetime Achievement Award that was given for the first time last year. The recipient was Tom Savini. This year’s recipient is Sir Christopher Lee.
Anthony T: Another category that that I personally like is the Best Short Film category which debut last year. As a lover of that art form, it was great seeing all those films that I would never get a chance to see. How did that category come about?
Troy: Like you, I am a huge fan of short horror films; I have seen many shorts that are actually much more effective than many feature length films. Upon learning that several committee members were also fans of shorts, we unanimously voted to add the category to the Fright Meter Awards in 2013. The first recipient of the Best Short Horror Film was The Captured Bird.
Anthony T: How can filmmakers submit their short film for consideration?
Troy: We would love to have more filmmakers submit their short films for consideration! They can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or any committee member. We simply need a link to the film for our members to view it.
Anthony T: Are there going to be any new categories added for this upcoming awards?
Troy: The committee has discussed honoring Television along with film. With the extreme popularity of shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Bates Motel, it is apparent that television will become, if it already is not, a prominent medium for the genre. We want to ensure we are embracing this, so our plan is to begin honoring television series’ in 2015.
Anthony T: While during my research for this, I noticed that the awards is looking for sponsorship. Has there been anything that you tell me at this time and how can interested sponsors reach you?
Troy: This is the one area that I wish I could say was as successful as we need it be. I know there are many dedicated horror fans out there, and we just need to get the word out. Right now, we are simply looking for sponsors to sponsor a category and cover the cost of the award trophy for the category, which is $75. In turn, we will advertise the sponsor as the official presenter of the category and award. Part of gaining the attention, respect, and branding we need to grow, we must be able to give all of our winners an official award. Anyone interested in sponsoring a category can contact me at email@example.com
Anthony T: Tell my readers, how they can become a member of the Fright Meter Awards Committee?
Troy: We are definitely seeking horror fans to join the awards committee! As a committee member, you’ll be responsible for assisting with the nominations and voting for the ultimate winners. If you’re interested in becoming a Fright Meter Awards committee member, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anthony T: Where do you hope to see the awards in five years time?
Troy: I definitely hope that the Fright Meter Awards will be the most respected and known genre award. It is also my goal to have the awards presented LIVE at an annual ceremony. Of course, this will require a lot of hard work and support, but the committee is dedicated to making this happen.
Anthony T: Before we go, I want to get your take of the state of the horror genre today? Personally, it’s been kind of a down year even though there has been a couple of great films.
Troy: I’m not as down on the genre lately as many horror fans are. While there have been some very good films released wide theatrically recently, such as The Conjuring and The Cabin in the Woods, fans cannot expect that is where the bulk of good horror is being released each year. Instead, there are several very good independent films being released each year that go directly to DVD or On Demand. For example, just this year, Found, The Den, The Sacrament and a few other gems have been released and are better than anything that was given a wide theatrical released this year. I also think horror fans often overlook foreign horror. There also seems to be several up and coming young horror filmmakers who are adding some freshness and excitement to the genre, such as Ti West and the Soska twins, so I am excited to see where the genre is headed.
Anthony T: Tell us, where you can find Fright Meters Awards on the web and social media?
Troy: Our official website is www.frightmeterawards.com. We can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/frightmeterawards and Twitter @FrightMeter.
Anthony T: Thank you for your spending time talking to me about Fright Meter Awards and good luck in the future.
Troy: Thank you!