For nearly two decades, festival director Rachel Belofsky and her tireless creative team have nurtured the growth and development of Screamfest Horror Film Festival, providing a platform to celebrate up-and-coming filmmakers while still honoring the genre’s past with vital anniversary screenings and Q&As. Although it may be hard to believe, Screamfest is officially an adult now, as the festival turns the big 18 this year, and when the festival kicks off tonight at TCL Chinese 6 Theaters on Hollywood Boulevard, guests are in for one hell of a cinematic party.

Daily Dead recently spoke with Belofsky about everything attendees can look forward to at this year’s Screamfest, and as per usual, this year is akin to a plastic pumpkin bowl on Halloween night, one that's brimming with horror-themed treats for all to enjoy.

It wouldn’t be Screamfest without an exciting lineup of world premiere screenings, and this year’s festival is certainly no exception. The 2018 festival kicks off tonight with an opening night party featuring the world premiere screening of The Amityville Murders. While there have been many horror movies that take place at 112 Ocean Avenue, as Belofsky explained to Daily Dead, Daniel Farrands’ new film takes an intriguing approach to the Amityville franchise by focusing on the DeFeo family and the voices that supposedly told Ronald to kill his family.

Other world premieres at this year’s festival include Discarnate, Draug, The Haunted, and The Final Wish, the latter of which co-stars Lin Shaye, who serves as the ambassador of this year’s Screamfest. Belofsky told Daily Dead that she’s always wanted to honor Shaye at Screamfest, and with The Final Wish making its world premiere, this year was the perfect time to honor Shaye, who has become horror royalty through decades of memorable performances in movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters, Tales of Halloween, and the Insidious films.

Shaye isn’t the only influential woman in horror being honored at Screamfest this year, as writer/producer Gale Anne Hurde will receive the Career Achievement Award on October 16th, followed by special celebratory screenings of Aliens and The Terminator.

As someone who teamed up with Screamfest for a 10th anniversary prom party screening of Gregg Bishop’s Dance of the Dead, I can confidently say that nobody knows how to throw an anniversary celebration quite like Screamfest, as their entire creative team makes it a night to remember for all in attendance. This year, Screamfest is having special screenings and cast and crew Q&As to celebrate three beloved horror films: Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow, Ronny Yu’s Bride of Chucky, and Toby Wilkins’ Splinter (which premiered at Screamfest one decade ago, making this year’s festival a special homecoming for the cult horror film).

As longtime attendees know, Screamfest isn’t just about movie screenings, though. They continue to provide a platform for up-and-coming directors and writers to show their talents to the world in the annual screenplay contest and student film submissions. Belofsky told us that it’s important to continue helping the next generation of horror filmmakers, as having your work featured at Screamfest gives you the opportunity to get noticed and potentially get your first big break in the industry. Plus, winners of the screenplay and student film contests get to bring home the mantel-worthy Screamfest trophy designed by the legendary Stan Winston—an amazing piece to display at home and not a bad thing to add to your résumé.

Even while they’re honoring the past and celebrating the present, Screamfest continues to pave the way for the future of horror, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for genre fans this year.

To learn more about Screamfest and this year's full lineup, be sure to visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Happy 18th birthday, Screamfest! Here's to another 18 strong years ahead!

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.