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International Horror Film Festivals: Australia to London, England

Published by Irvin Arnsworth

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For horror to grow and flourish as a viable genre it must be encouraged from the very base of its grass roots. This is were the horror film festivals of the world, both small and large, provide an invaluable and in many ways essential outlet for up and coming talent.

From 10-minute shorts through carnage filled music videos to feature length bloodbaths every aspect of gore lore is attended to. This is the slaughter room floor from where the scaremongers of tomorrow will rise.

Horror Festivals Indexed by Country (A-P)

A Night of Horror

  • Sydney, Australia
  • Festival Link

From its simple beginnings in 2006, exclusively showcasing short-film mini terrors, A Night of Horror has now grown to encompass a wide range of feature length productions and horror themed music videos. Boasting an impressive list of judging categories and accepting submissions from a wide range of countries the event is fast growing and earning ever more respect by the year.

Fantaspoa Film Festival

  • Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Festival Link

Here lays yet another story of a little festival that rapidly grew legs and spewed outward like a starved virus. Born in 2005 Fantaspoa germinated out of the passionate desire of a small group of horror/fantasy followers to promote their niche genre. Initially the first of its kind in Brazil the event now includes an vast schedule of animated and live action horror themed submissions; 2010 will see the presentation of 37 features from 21 different countries.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival

  • Toronto, Canada
  • Festival Link

Housed since 2006, within Toronto’s Bloor Cinema the After Dark Film Festival is now one of international repute. 2010 saw its credibility even further embellished with an inaugural red carpet premiere for the Eli Roth produced Daniel Stamm Directed, The Last Exorcism. Tom Six’s medical misadventure The Human Centipede and Steven R. Monroe’s remake of 1978’s dismemberment opus, I Spit On Your Grave rounded off the list of big name attendees.

Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival (HO~FF)

  • Haapsalu, Estonia
  • Festival Link

Tucked away in the Northern Baltic is the not expansive Republic of Estonia. Here within the Haapsalu Cultural Center from the 23-25 April the Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival (HO~FF) played out to an enthusiastic and record crowd (2500). 31 films from 15 countries were in competition with this years central theme being the ever popular Zombie and Frances new wave of extreme horror.

The festivals inaugural audience choice award went to Tom Six and his “The Human Centipede“. The subtle minds behind Tokyo Gore Police were also well received with their latest offering “Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl“. Along with an impressive range of international class features this little festival with big aspirations also presents an outlet for short horror submissions. Now still only in its 5th year plans are already afoot for next years, April 2011 event.


  • London, England
  • Festival Link

Dating back to the millennium year Frightfest originally began work within central London’s Prince Charles Cinema. Then in 2005 it began its slow circumnavigation of Leicester Square by first transferring to the Odeon West End and then finally The Empire (2009). The festival has grown from strength to strength and is now a magnet for leading contributors from within the international world of horror. From George Romero (Survival of the Dead) to Park Chan-Wook (THIRST) and Uwe Boll (Postal ) to Jessica Alba (The Eye) a wide and eclectic selection of talent has passed through the festivals now mainstay Q&A sessions. Frightfest has become a leading and internationally acclaimed showcase of some of horror cinemas most cutting edge and controversial offerings.

Stay tuned as we continue to circle the globe in search of more festivals devoted to the cinema of the dark and the decidedly macabre

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