Get the chance to embrace your fears at the NOLA Horror Film Fest

Emma Gilheany

Locals hoping to get into the Halloween spirit a little early will have their chance at the NOLA Horror Film Fest from Sept. 21-24.

Held at Castillo Blanco Art Studios on St. Claude Avenue, the festival will have film screenings, as well as featuring vendors and burlesque performances between showings.

After starting in 2011, the festival has evolved over its seven-year run. Founded by J.T. Seaton and Ryan Blake George, they were shocked to realize that New Orleans, known for its culture of the supernatural, did not have its own festival celebrating horror films, so they decided to start their own.

Charles Lucia, the local director of the festival, said that in future years they hope to make it more of a convention, showcasing their love of sci-fi, horror and local artists.

The film fest received around 500 submissions this year and will be showing 65 films. Filmmakers can submit their film for consideration to be shown at the festival through FilmFreeway. When picking what films to showcase, the board judges on originality and production value, but they mostly look for films with a good story and that are “something people need to see”, according to Lucia.

The NOLA Horror Film Fest shows a variety of films in the horror genre, from low-budget, locally made short films to blockbuster full length films. Lucia is excited for this year’s opening night pick, “Welcome to Willits,” which he thinks will be a crowd favorite. It is a “good balancing act between being creepy and funny,” Lucia said.

Some standout films from past years of the festival include “Shortwave,” “The House on Pine Street” and “Blood Punch.”

In addition to their four-day festival, the organization also hosts monthly screenings of both new and classic horror films at different venues in New Orleans. The fest also hosts “Halfway 2 Halloween” in April, which shows the best films from the last festival as well as new films.

NOLA Horror Film Fest runs this year from Sept. 21-24. Single screening tickets start at $8 online, and can be purchased at the door for $10. Day passes can also be bought: Thursday for $14, Friday and Sunday for $20 and Saturday for $40. Weekend passes can be purchased for $75 and VIP passes can be bought for $150.