HorrorFest International returns bigger and better than ever with a spine-tingling lineup of films

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — After months of film viewing, screenplay reading and sifting through the best of the best, HorrorFest International has finally unveiled its official selections for the upcoming 2021 festival. 

Still from “You’re Dead Helen” courtesy of HorrorFest International, St. George News

HorrorFest International will run from Wednesday through Saturday at the historic Electric Theater in St. George. This long-running festival – which began as a horror retrospective in 2002 – will not only provide grand Halloween-inspired entertainment for attendees in a live, in-person theatrical setting, but it will also provide a big screen showcase for filmmakers from all over the globe.

In addition to genre films – both features and shorts – the spine-tingling four-day spooktacular that is HorrorFest International will also include filmmaker Q-&-A sessions, storyteller panels, photo ops, special guests, a live script read, food, an afterparty, an awards ceremony, a screenplay contest and more. 

Jeff Sanders, co-director, technical programmer and head of the screenplay committee at HorrorFest International, said they had a “record number” of films and screenplays come through this year.

“Because of this, our final selections were incredibly difficult to pick; excellent films left on the chopping block,” he said. “That said, our final lineup is solid gold. I couldn’t be more excited to share these films with our awesome and supportive audience.” 

All-Access Fright Passes are available now at a steal of a price and can be purchased online. Day passes and individual film block tickets are also up for grabs. 

HorrorFest International will screen over 50 films. Titles include the comedy horror offering “You’re Dead Helen,” the offbeat thriller “Thumb,” the creative puppet-centric fantasy/monster mashup “Frank and Zed” and the much-buzzed-about mother-daughter rock ‘n’ roll witch opus “Hellbender.”

Click to enlarge | Event flyer courtesy of HorrorFest International, St. George News

Also in the fold will be the Lance Henriksen-headlined black comedy “Reklaw,” a fusion of ‘80s Amblin cinema and Tobe Hooper-esque sci-fi/horror called “They’re Here,” the efficient supernatural found-footage mystery “Malibu Horror Show,” the ultraviolent, holiday season-set horror/action fusion “The Retaliators,” the relentlessly quirky love story “Sexy Furby,” a stylized German ode to Giallo called “Lips and Tips,” a gripping slow burn from Norway called “To Freddy” and “Welcome to Our Home,” a romantic slice of comedy and horror from 2020 HorrorFest screenwriting alumnus Greg Schroeder.

The festival showcases an eclectic collection of genre films that mix a horror element with the likes of everything from comedy to drama to mystery and more. Visit the HorrorFest International to see the entire slate.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s fantastic lineup of films and programming,” said John Pugh, co-director of HorrorFest International and vice president of the Film and Media Alliance of Southern Utah. “Every year, we’ve seen an increase in film and screenplay submissions. The talent is remarkable. Every year, we see some of the best of the best. I couldn’t be any more excited to be part of this year’s horror festivities and share these amazing films with our community and horror fans.” 

Since the early 2000s, HorrorFest International has prided itself on the showcasing of countless horror gems of yesteryear in a bid to not only keep the spirit of horror film history alive but to entertain audiences and to champion the big screen experience. Through the years, this long-running film festival has brought familiar titles like “The Exorcist,” Psycho,” “Jaws,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Phantasm,” “Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” “Halloween,” “Poltergeist,” “The Omen,” “Evil Dead II,” “Fright Night,” “Creepshow” and “The Shining” back to the big screen in terrifying fashion. All in all, HorrorFest has screened well over 60 influential horror properties throughout its nearly two-decade run.

Still from “Hellbender” courtesy of HorrorFest International, St. George News

In 2005, the Halloween edition of the Guerilla Filmmaking Challenge was thrown into the mix. This quick turnaround storytelling competition would allow filmmakers of all ages and all skill sets the chance to put together short film projects using any resources available to them and to have a rare opportunity to experience their creations on the big screen with a live audience. The festival would eventually evolve even further and become a showcase for various film projects produced in Southern Utah and throughout the state. Now, HorrorFest International opens its arms to genre storytellers from all over the world, making for what will most certainly be the most fun you’ll ever have being scared. 

Adam Mast, co-director of HorrorFest International and president of the Film and Media Alliance of Southern Utah, said the following: 

After months of viewing films, we’ve finally arrived at this pivotal moment. We couldn’t be any prouder or any more excited about this lineup. Such an incredible slate of films to present to our attendees. A wide range of genre titles will clearly be the focal point, but we have plenty of other surprises planned as well. I simply can’t think of a more entertaining experience to usher in the Halloween season than HorrorFest International. In the end, we’re confident that our attendees and visiting filmmakers will enjoy this event as much as we enjoyed putting it together. See you all on Oct. 20! 

The Film and Media Alliance of Southern Utah is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designed to encourage, inspire, nurture and educate filmmaking talent and to preserve film history and the theatrical experience. While the group prides itself on its Southern Utah-based roots, it is equally interested in championing storytellers from all around the world. Of course, the primary goal is to engage and enlighten through the culturally expansive nature of the world’s greatest art form: cinema. Click here to learn more about events and programs designed to make a difference in the community.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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