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.