Utah’s HorrorFest International Film Festival Announces 2023 Film Lineup

Where the Devil Roams still
Where the Devil Roams

 

The Film and Media Alliance of Southern Utah (FMASU) announced official selections for the upcoming HorrorFest International Film Festival (October 18-21). With Southern Utah’s historic Electric Theater once again serving as the primary venue for the event, Andrew Bowser’s Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls is the Opening Night selection, with Toby Poser, Zelda Adams, and John Adams’ Where the Devil Roams taking the Closing Night slot.

This year’s edition of the international survey of horror/thriller cinema will screen 46 films (8 features and 38 shorts) representing 15 countries. In addition, 16 feature-length scripts and 8 scripts for short films will also participate in the film festival’s script competition over the four-day fright-filled event. Additionally, HorrorFest International 2023 will host its always anticipated secret screening, filmmaker and horror-themed panels, its traditional trivia event, a live script read of a beloved horror classic, a costume contest, and more.

Recognized as one of the top horror festivals in the world and taking place in beautiful St. George, Utah, HorrorFest International FF not only has the benefit of utilizing one of the truly historic theaters in the United States as its festival hub, but it is also surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenic locales in the U.S. including Zion National Park, Pine Valley, and Snow Canyon.

HorrorFest International Film Festival Co-Founders and Senior Programmers, Adam Mast and John Pugh, said, “This year’s lineup not only offers up great thrills and scares, but also challenges our preconceptions of what makes a horror film a horror film. Filmmaking and storytelling in the horror/thriller genre seems to be amid another artistic renaissance and is seeing a growing appreciation by audiences that aren’t what we traditionally think of as ‘horror film audiences. We love that idea and once again will enthusiastically bring those filmmakers and audiences together at the Electric Theater in St. George.”

On Wednesday, October 18, Andrew Bowser’s Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls will kick things off as the Opening Night selection. Based on writer, director, and star Andrew Bowser’s viral character, ‘Onyx,’ which has accumulated over 300 million views online with over 1 million followers on TikTok, the film follows the amateur occultist just as he’s about to pack in his paranormal pursuits. However, he receives an invitation to meet with his idol, Bartok the Great, to take part in a ritual to revive an ancient demon. Onyx makes friends with fellow disciples as things take a turn for the worst and they battle to keep their souls.

On Saturday, October 21, Toby Poser, Zelda Adams, and John Adams’ Where the Devil Roams screens as the Closing Night selection. Set in the aftermath of World War I, the film centers on a travelling carnival as it begins to wind down. A family living within the troupe are each battling their own inner demons. Eve is unable to speak, Seven is battling intense PTSD from his time as a war medic, and Maggie struggles with murderous tendencies. However, all are happy with their nomadic existence and when that comes under threat, the trio are more than willing to do unspeakable acts to ensure its continuity.

Other highlights among the always highly curated list of features include critically acclaimed quirky indie filmmaker Zach Clark’s genre-bending comedy, The Becomers. The story of a body snatching alien trying to make their way in our world utilizes science fiction elements heavily inspired by the original Star Trek series. Caye Casas’ Spanish black comedy The Coffee Table focuses on a young couple whose unwise purchase of a gaudy golden coffee table plunge them into a calamity-filled unbearable hell. Pirie Martin’s Australian thriller Psychosis follows a criminal fixer who experiences auditory hallucinations forced to confront old demons after a new contact drags him into a surreal maelstrom of mind-altering drugs, delusional vigilantes, and a sadistic hypnotist who seems more monster than man.

Beyond that, the 2023 Horror Fest International Film Festival will showcase dozens of outstanding short films and offer filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, mystery screenings, horror trivia, after-parties, an awards ceremony, and more. Actor Jamison Newlander (The Lost Boys, Bone Tomahawk, Waking Nightmare) will be on hand to chat about his career via a live episode of The Cinemast Podcast with host Brandon Treadway. Returning HorrorFest favorite Frank Dietz will be back to host another edition of the immensely popular Scripts Gone Wild. Justin Geldzahler, who was a writer on HBO’s hit Succession will also be in attendance to talk about his film Glue Trapand to participate in a panel called “What is Horror?” Finally, Marshall Moore (John Carter, After Earth, The Giver) will draw on his experience as a veteran location manager and discuss the importance of locations in the world of horror.

To purchase festival passes or to find more information about the HorrorFest International Film Festival, please go to: https://www.fmasu.com/horrorfest.
2023 Horror Fest International Official Selections

 

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls
Director: Andrew Bowser
Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
Fledgling occultist Onyx and a group of worshipers attend a once-in-a-lifetime ritual at their idol Bartok the Great’s mansion.

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION

Where the Devil Roams
Directors: Toby Poser, Zelda Adams, John Adams
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
The latest effort from the creative filmmaking family behind Hellbender follows a family of sideshow performers as they travel the world on a dying carnival circuit during the Depression Era.

ADDITIONAL FEATURE FILMS

The Becomers
Director: Zach Clark
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min
A body-snatching alien comes to Earth, reconnects with their partner, and tries to find their way in modern America.

The Coffee Table
Director: Caye Casas
Country: Spain, Running Time: 93 min
Pitched by a greasy smooth salesman that a gaudy glass and “gold” painted table will bring nothing but happiness to Jesus and Maria and their newly born, proves the opposite as their lives undergo one unspeakable calamity after another.

Glue Trap
Director: Justin Geldzahler
Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min
A good couple in a bad place plans a last-ditch cabin trip; but when an obnoxious third wheel arrives, they worry more than their relationship may be in danger.

Lore
Directors: James Bushe, Patrick Michael Ryder, Greig Johnson
Country: UK, Running Time: 87 min
Four ‘scare’ loving friends book a horror-themed camping excursion. That night around the campfire, Darwin, their strange and creepy guide asks them all to tell a story that they fear and to burn a totem that will help feed the evil that lives there. They’ll come to learn that some stories should not be told.

Psychosis
Director: Pirie Martin
Country: Australia, Running Time: 98 min
Criminal Fixer Cliff Van Aarle’s unique psychological condition gives him an edge in the criminal underworld, but when he’s hired by two amateur drug dealers claiming they were attacked by ‘zombies,’ Van Aarle is dragged into a terrifying and bizarre mystery that will force him to relive the traumatic past he thought he’d escaped.

The Weird Kidz
Director: Zach Passero
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
On a weekend campout, a dark monster terrorizes a group of campers who fall prey to an ancient legend and conspiring local townsfolk. For pre-teen Dug, Mel and Fatt, and Dug’s older brother and girlfriend, a night out in the desert becomes a survivalist horror adventure. Zach Passero’s heartfelt coming-of-age tale about growing up and surviving a night of terrors juggles frights, laughs and an amputated arm in this unique hand-animated joy ride of a creature feature.

SHORT FILMS

A Heavy Metal Bedtime Story
Director: Casper Balslav
Country: Denmark, Running Time: 14 min
A teenage goth girl struggles with loneliness until she eventually bonds with another teenager with similar traits in this music-tinged tale of angst and rebellion.

A.S.M.ORTAL
Director: Maxime S. Gerard
Country: Canada, Running Time: 12 min
Following the viewing of a strange video, a young woman becomes dangerously obsessed by the ASMR phenomenon, to the great displeasure of her roommates.

Bookworm
Director: Javier Yañez Sanz
Country: Spain, Running Time: 14 min
In Spain, 1979 we’re introduced to Irene, an aspiring writer who obsesses with the delicate ghost at the library where she works.

Breathe
Director: Tommy Harvey
Country: Canada, Running Time: 3 min
Alice wakes up in the middle of the night, paralyzed, and makes a strange discovery.

The Cave
Director: Eric Wood
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min
Two medieval soldiers—Edwin and his adopted brother Marcus—flee the battlefield in search of shelter to tend to Marcus’s life-threatening wounds. With Marcus on the verge of death they stumble upon a mysterious woman who promises to heal Marcus’s wounds if Edwin will perform a task.

Charlie the Cancelled Skeleton
Director: Joe Reilly
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
Bitter about a film firing him as an actor for not allowing him to work from home, one man plots out for revenge on a horror movie, successfully running a successful cancellation campaign against the film. Unbeknownst to him, however, is the idea that the film he cancelled might just be out to cancel him in return…

The Creature Under the Bed
Director: Wyatt Hansen
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
Two roommates must escape their apartment without touching the floor after a deadly monster lurking under the bed threatens to pull them under.

Deadline
Director: Brett Chapman
Country: Israel, Running Time: 13 min
Deadline is stop-motion animated dark comedy that explores the power balance between bureaucracy, death, and feline devotion of the elderly. At its center is a story of a brave friendship and solidarity between two senior ladies sickened by society’s disregard and disrespect.

Dissociation
Director: Clayton Orgles
Country: Australia, Running Time: 21 min
Dissociation is a psychological horror film that follows ‘The Genealogist’, a curious and driven researcher, as she delves into the history of a family that vanished over a century ago. In her search for answers, she finds herself in a dangerous situation involving a mysterious old man, where she is forced to confront the dark side of her own psyche and the dire consequences of her actions. This film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with its heart-pounding plot and haunting atmosphere.

Enter By Fire
Director: Luke Wildwood
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
While taking pictures of herself alone, a woman discovers something evil behind her in a photo, descending her into a fire of madness.

Family Night
Director: Alan Dunne
Country: Ireland, Running Time: 17 min
An offbeat short horror film set in the winter of 1995, A pre divorce era Dublin, Ireland. It tells the story of a family forced to take part in a family night by their extremely strict father. Throughout the night, tensions build as they are forced to have dinner together, sing songs, play charades, and watch a movie, all while trying to keep their father (Eoin Quinn) pleased. However, not all is as it seems in this household.

Giallo
Director: Yogesh Chandekar
Country: India, Running Time: 8 min
A young woman returning from a party is stalked by a mysterious masked killer who’s much more than what he seems to be in this quirky ode to Italian Giallo cinema.

He Watches
Director: Joshua Conkel
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
40-something Tom has his boyfriend Mikey move in. What seems like domestic bliss at first gives way to creeping dread as a malevolent spirit makes itself known. This gay ghost will stop at nothing to get close to Tom, even if that means eliminating Mikey.

Juggernaut
Directors: Daniele Ricci, Emanuele Ricci
Country: Italy, Running Time: 20 min
In an atmospheric medieval dark fantasy landscape, a fearless warrior embarks on a painful and exhausting journey to get back what he has lost.

Kiddo
Director: Brett Chapman
Country: UK, Running Time: 15 min
On a rickety bus trundling through wilting countryside, a mysterious older woman named ‘Kiddo’ and a cohort of overexcited teenagers meander towards Wonderland, a theme park like no other. Sinister secrets await as Kiddo and her compatriots face off with their hosts and draw closer to discovering the truth of their journey.

La Nueva (The Newcomer)
Director: Ivan Villamel
Country: Spain, Running Time: 15 min
Maria is a new teacher who arrives at an old religious school. On her first day, she will have to teach a group of rebellious kids who are taking part in a punishment class. An unexpected event will turn the classroom into a real hell.

Lake Sunshine 1989
Director: Filip Koren
Country: Norway, Running Time: 14 min
Two best friends are on a cabin trip to Lake Sunshine. After an unexpected phone call their lives will be changed forever.

My Scary Indian Wedding
Director: Ramone Menon
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min
A bridesmaid must forcefully get married to her soulmate before dawn in order to escape the wrath of a vengeful demon

Nosepicker
Director: Ian Mantgani
Country: UK, Running Time: 16 min
A ‘tale of the unexpected’ about an 8-year-old schoolboy with a nasty habit of picking his nose.

Oddities
Director: Tyler Savage
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
When a drugged-out duo attempts to rob an antique store, they realize the older woman running the shop isn’t as defenseless as she seems…

The Queue
Director: Michael Rich
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min
An internet content moderator confronts the darkness within the videos he screens.

Red Lake
Director: Shaun Dunne
Country: Ireland, Running Time: 14 min
Estranged sisters Jess and Maddie return to Red Lake, mourning their father’s death. As tensions rise and the night unravels, Jess discovers that some legends are real, and resentment can indeed breed a monster.

Repercussies
Director: Ivan Groenheijde
Country: Netherlands, Running Time: 11 min
Two years after ending his toxic relationship, Brian is being held hostage in his own home by his ex-girlfriend Katja, who is willing to risk everything to get him back. Katja gives him an ultimatum which makes Brian realize that his and his current girlfriend’s life are at stake.

Scare Tag
Director: Christian Ruvalcaba
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
After the passing of a beloved friend, a group of old pals gather to play a game from their childhood to honor his memory. But as the night progresses, they realize their deceased friend might be playing as well.

Septichexen
Director: Anders Elsrud Hultgreen
Country: Norway, Running Time: 14 min
In the sewers beneath the city of Bergen, a microbiologist tries to uncover the source of a contamination of the drinking water.

Seraphim
Director: Oscar Ramos
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
After her sister is chosen as a modern-day prophet, Jude grapples with the ramifications of what it really means to be an agent of God.

Shut
Director: Niels Bourgonje
Country: Netherlands, Running Time: 15 mins
When Jonas visits his father after a long time, he’s shocked to find him in a confused state. Has his father’s mental state badly deteriorated or is something more sinister going on?

Signal
Director: Jérôme Pierrat
Country: France, Running Time: 9 min
Deborah is trapped in a hospital room after a car accident. As she desperately tries to reach her partner by phone, a presence seems to be watching her in the darkness of the room.

Smashing Pumpkins
Directors: Mason Mecartea, Hunter Romanillos
Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min
When a baseball team’s hazing ritual goes wrong, they accidentally send an evil figure on a blood path after an innocent victim of their choosing.

Sore Throat
Directors: Quinn O’Connor, Lily Castle, Ava Bunn
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
Sore Throat aims to alchemize the scars of the past into an otherworldly and evocative experience. The film explores the effects of trauma on identity, illuminating how it can transform its recipients into unrecognizable states. How much deceit can one ingest before being consumed entirely?

Soul Proprietor
Director: Scott Riopelle
Country: Canada, Running Time: 12 min
A disgraced Priest uses his skills as an exorcist to conduct business transactions with the netherworld. When his goods are revealed to be not as advertised and his master plan is exposed, he must put his faith in another to help seal the deal and avoid sealing his own fate.

Spellbound
Director: Robin Rippmann
Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 11 min
James’ dull daily routine is disrupted by a strange apparition that begins to haunt him in his waking moments and dreams alike. Suspecting who might be behind these disturbances, James sets out to confront the culprit.

Toad Boy
Director: Phillip J. McLaughlin
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

Todd is different and the other kids at school have noticed. After an upsetting incident with several bullies the Principal discovers a disturbing book in Todd’s locker and fears a retaliation. He calls on Todd’s sister Charlene to facilitate an intervention, but quickly learns the help Todd needs may require a sacrifice he’s unwilling to make.

Transylvanie
Director: Rodrigue Huart
Country: France, Running Time: 15 min
Ewa is a 10-year-old girl living in a high building in a quiet town. She’s an odd, lonely child and for good reason: she’s convinced of being a vampire. Fascinated by Hugo, 15, she dreams of turning him into a vampire too, so that she can overcome her loneliness. When Ewa opens up to him, she gets bullied by teenagers from the neighborhood. Hurt in her body and soul, she’s ready to act in the creepiest, sickest ways to prove her identity to the world.

Trespasser
Director: Christopher Reith
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
England 1996. A man travels deep into a dark labyrinthian forest, seeking answers to a series of disappearances from his hometown. Experienced in survival and tracking, the man is well equipped for the harshness of the forest but ill prepared for the horrifying hellscape he finds himself trapped inside. Tresspasser serves to create a horrific otherworld far from the safety of our homes. It looks at mankind’s relationship with the beauty of nature, and the brutal, grisly side of it, especially when we abuse that relationship.

Underbelly
Director: Frank Dietz
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min
A young woman is mysteriously transported to a primeval world inhabited by prehistoric creatures. She fights for survival while trying to discover who sent her to this place…and why.

Virga
Director: Jean-François Leblanc
Country: Canada, Running Time: 20 min
Pascal suspects the worst when he reads the post of Jérémy, a former classmate. He immediately alerts the police, convinced that Jérémy is on the verge of attacking his ex-colleagues. Feeling that the police won’t do anything, Pascal decides to go help the young man himself.

Waka Chicka Waka
Director: Ryan Clausen
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min
Things take an unexpected turn when two young women hire a skeezy plumber to fix the kitchen sink.

SCREENPLAY COMPETITION FINALISTS

FEATURE LENGTH SCREENPLAYS
A DARK AND STORMY NIGHTMARE
Written by Kendall Mezza

AS SCARED AS YOU
Written by Jesse Dorian

COLD DEAD FINGERS
Written by John Munn

CURSE OF CROM 2: FURY OF CROM
Written by Rob York and Scott Baird

THE DEVIL DOWN BELOW
Written by Taylor S. Doose

DIARY OF A COUNTESS
Written by Stuart Alan Creque and Bea Egeto

INFIRM
Written by Paul Amstone and Lance Murphy

KING ARTHUR UNDEAD
Written by Demetri Turin

THE MANSION ON THE HILL
Written by Christopher J. Soucy

OBSESSION
Written by Jason Andrew White

PORCELAIN
Written by Christine Makepeace

THE PRODIGAL
Written by Thomas O’Malley

QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
Written by Lauren Pruitt

REVIVAL
Written by Abby Selden

RISE OF A BABY BOY
Written by Richard Plummer

THE THIRD WIFE
Written by Daniel Yen Tu and Barrett Burgin

SHORT SCREENPLAYS
ALL THE RAGE
Written by Maryellen DeVivo

GATE BAIT
Written by Paul Grammatico

I SHALL FIND THEE
Written by Arran Crawley

JANICE
Written by Rafeal De Leon Jr.

MEAT CUTE
Written by Errol Teichert and Michael Adams

SCRATCH SCRATCH
Written by Pierre Langenegger

SIMON SAYS
Written by Bryan Prince

SISTER
Written by Eric Wood

 

Written By
More from Dev Shapiro
Cine Las Americas Announces Partnership With Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
  On the date of what would have been the popular Austin-based...
Read More
0 replies on “Utah’s HorrorFest International Film Festival Announces 2023 Film Lineup”