ST. GEORGE — The Film and Media Alliance of Southern Utah is frightfully excited to present “Horrorfest International,” a three-day horror movie festival taking place at the Pineview Stadium 10 and the Electric Theater, Thursday-Saturday.
Horrorfest International is a fully-fledged international genre-based film festival featuring 46 feature-length and short films from all over the globe with special guests including actors and filmmakers Ted Raimi and Colin Cunningham and others.
Horrorfest has been scaring and delighting Southern Utah audiences since 2002. It began as a curated festival that brought classic horror films back to the theatrical setting so audiences could enjoy the communal experience of watching a horror film in a theater.
As the festival evolved, a local competition for filmmakers called the Guerilla Shorts Showcase was added to the mix.
The showcase allows both experienced and budding filmmakers the opportunity to create a five-minute film based on a theme and then see that film on the big screen.
That tradition has continued and grown since it was first introduced to the Horrorfest line up in 2005. This year will mark the competition’s 15th year showcasing some of the scariest, funniest and even goriest films from Southern Utah directors, cinematographers and actors.
The theme for this year’s competition is “End of the World,” a theme that Horrorfest International director Adam Mast said is fitting for two reasons. One, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and two, that was the theme for the first shorts showcase in 2005.
Building upon the Film and Media Alliance of Southern Utah’s success with its Desertscape International Film Festival and the popularity of Horrorfest, Mast, along with festival directors John Pugh and Jeff Sanders decided to take the genre-based film festival international.
Films have been submitted from Turkey, Australia, Korea, Canada and across the country, Mast said.
Films have been organized into eight blocks including two feature film blocks, five short film blocks and the Guerilla Shorts Showcase.
A full list of film blocks can be found here.
“It’s cool because it opens up viewers’ eyes to different cultures,” he said.
In addition to the films, the festival will feature several panels and question and answer sessions after the film blocks. Featured guests will include Colin Cunningham and Ted Raimi, along with other filmmakers and actors.
It is those panels, Pugh said, that create a really unique experience for festival goers, allowing them to not only see the movie, but learn about it from an intimate perspective.
“You’re not only getting to watch a film, but you’re learning about that film,” Pugh said. “It’s more bang for your buck.”
Beyond the panels though, Mast said the real draw of the festival is the experience of watching films in a live setting and sharing it with an audience.
“Nothing beats the theatrical experience,” Mast said. “There’s just something special about sitting in a big room, in the dark, with strangers and sharing in this really cool communal experience.”
The festival will also feature a Halloween costume contest and an awards ceremony with a special surprise guest.
While many people may think horror films are only blood and gore, Pugh said that there are really so many sub-genres within the genre and they are excited for audiences to experience the different facets of horror.
Showcased films run the gamut from animated horror and psychological horror to comedy horror and creature feature.
Self-proclaimed film fanatics and aficionados, Mast and Pugh, said that though they love movies of all types, the horror genre is really near and dear to them.
“Horror is like a really special genre to us,” Mast said. “We love all kinds of movies, but there’s something special about horror, especially this time of year.”
Mast added that while the world may seem ugly right now and people might questions why they should attend a horror movie festival, Mast said that is kind of the point.
“With all the crazy crap going on in the world right now, there’s something even extra special about horror,” Mast said. “There’s sort of this release you get through genre-film watching that you don’t get with other kinds of films.”
Horrorfest International runs Thursday through Saturday with movies playing at the Pineview Stadium 10 and the Electric Theater.
An All-Access Fright Badge can be purchased for $50. The badge includes access to all eight film blocks, the Guerilla Shorts Showcase, special swag, admittance to the after-party, dinner, awards ceremony and costume contest.
Horrorfest International is recommended for audiences 18 and older. Some films will include adult language and themes and scenes of violence. The Guerilla Shorts Showcase is recommended for audiences 13 and older.
Due to precautions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, viewers are encouraged to purchase their tickets online, however, a small number of tickets will be available at the door.
Other COVID-19 safety measures include limited seating, sanitizing stations, social distancing and masks.
- What: Horrorfest International.
- When: Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 22-24, times vary.
- Where: Films will shown at the Pineview Stadium 10, 2376 Red Cliffs Drive, St. George and The Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle, St. George.
- Cost: All-access Fright Badge, $50. Feature and short blocks, $10 per block.
- Purchase tickets: Online. Limited tickets will be available at the door.
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