After participating in the Nightstream virtual film festival, Popcorn Frights co-founders Igor Shteyrenberg and Marc Ferman kept the horror spirit alive and well in Florida throughout the end of October with the virtual Wicked Weekend Halloween celebration!

Popcorn Frights' Wicked Weekend featured an eclectic 20+ film lineup headlined by the world premiere of Lionsgate's Smiley Face Killers, and following the conclusion of the event, it's been announced that Keith Thomas' The Vigil has won the Audience Award, with Tales of the Uncanny earning the Audience Award Runner Up title.

Even though Wicked Weekend may be over, you can watch the Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and actors behind some of the films that screened at the virtual event on Popcorn Frights' YouTube channel, including a conversation with Smiley Face Killers co-stars Crispin Glover, Mia Serafino, and Ronen Rubinstein, which I was honored to moderate (and which you can watch below).

I'd like to thank Igor and Marc for the opportunity to moderate that conversation, and I encourage readers to visit Popcorn Frights' website to stay up to date on their future horror celebrations.

Press Release: MIAMI, FL – Following the end of four fantastic days of digital programming that featured 21 film premieres at its Wicked Weekend Halloween celebration, Popcorn Frights has come to a close and announced THE VIGIL as the winner of its Audience Award. In this hair-raising chiller, a lapsed Orthodox Jewish man tasked with keeping watch over a dead member of his former community is faced with a mysterious, malevolent entity. The film is set to be released by IFC Midnight on February 26th, 2021.

"This is a really nice surprise," said director Keith Thomas in acceptance of the Wicked Weekend Audience Award. "So glad everyone enjoyed the film and thank you."

Claiming the Audience Award Runner Up is TALES OF THE UNCANNY, the ultimate anthology horror documentary that features interviews with Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Roger Corman, Richard Stanley, Ernest Dickerson, Eli Roth, Tom Savini, among many other genre icons. In accepting the Runner Up prize, director David Gregory and producer Kier-La Janisse issued the following statement:

“We consider ourselves lucky that we were able to even produce a feature during this time. The horror portmanteau was a terrific canvas for such a project and we're delighted that the Wicked Weekend audience shared this love of anthologies with us and all the artists who took part.” - David Gregory, director

“It’s weird to be celebrating anything in this frightening time, but I’m so happy that our modest project brought together not only so many passionate horror luminaries on camera, but also that this enthusiasm extended to our larger family of the horror audience. Your response to the film is profoundly validating and lovely.” – Kier-La Janisse, producer

Wicked Weekend began with the World Premiere of Lionsgate’s SMILEY FACE KILLERS on opening night on October 29, and continued until November 1 with feature film highlights including the premieres of Paramount’s supernatural thriller SPELL starring Omari Hardwick (Zach Snyder’s Army of the Dead) as well as the North American Premieres of BABYSITTER MUST DIE, THE RETREAT, HELD, and THEY REACH.

In addition to its film-lineup, Wicked Weekend also hosted several off-film events, including a panel discussion with acclaimed musicians Graham Reznick and Steve Moore, and a conversation with Tibor Takács about his cult classic The Gate.

Popcorn Frights Wicked Weekend virtual event was created to provide its eager fans an opportunity to safely celebrate Halloween weekend amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The event caps one of the Festival’s most active seasons, which was highlighted by a summer drive-in horrorshow series presented in partnership with Shudder and Popcorn Frights participation in the collective online festival NIGHTSTREAM.

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Popcorn Frights Film Festival presents the best of contemporary genre cinema from across the world as it celebrates the art of horror. The seven-day festival is Southeast U.S.' largest genre film festival and prides itself on premiering films from emerging and established filmmakers, enabling the industry and general audiences to experience the power of storytelling through genre film.

  • 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.