New York City Horror Film Festival Celebrates  Its 20th Year of Scares and Fear

The New York City Horror Film Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with a solid lineup of fright-fare features and shorts, including an anthology codirected by none other than Gruesome Magazine’s own Christopher G. Moore. This year the festival is back live at Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas from December 1st– 4th. More than 50 films from around the globe will be screened, and a surprise lifetime achievement guest will be announced. Thirteen programs consisting of features and shorts will be combined, and the fest will offer Q&A panels and a bar, as well. Following is the official press announcement. 

The 20TH New York City Horror Film Festival kicks off from December 1st– 4th with the East  Coast Premiere feature Candy Land by director John Swab. Some of the cast members include Olivia Luccardi, Owen  Campbell, Eden Brolin, Guinevere Turner, Brad Carter, Sam Quartin, Billy Blair, and William Baldwin. The film  follows a young disciple of a religious cult, Remy, who stumbles upon a ragtag group of truck stop sex workers  known as “lot lizards” who take her under their wing. As Remy immerses herself in this new underground  world, her true colors are revealed in a way that neither her former nor new family could have ever imagined. After its live premiere on December 1st at Cinépolis, fans who aren’t able to make the live screening will  be able to stream it online the next day. 

Also on tap is the East Coast premiere of Beaten to Death by director Sam Curtain, who returns with his third feature in a loose  trilogy of harsh survivalist tales. If you thought Blood Hunt (2017) and The Slaughterhouse Killer (2020) were hardened, grim fare, you’re about to be sucker-punched because Sam Curtain delivers a king hit. Some  of the cast include Nicole Tudor, Benny Blake, Thomas Roach, and David Tracy.  

The following shorts will also kick off the opening night: A Quarter Past Three, by directors Michael Leavy and Jason Leavy; Love You, Mama by director Alexandra Magistro; From Where It Hides by director Quinn  Halbeck; Repression by director Kevin K. Lee, and Unreel by director Chris Smith. 

The festival will also be featuring Worst Laid Plans — three tales of vacation-themed horror adapted from the bestselling book from Grindhouse Press — by directors John Hale, Jeremy Herbert, and Gruesome Magazine’s own Christopher G. Moore. The segments  are “Deep in the Heart,” in which a fractured family tries to reconnect while touring a cave system that hides a  horrifying secret; “You’ve Been Saved,” a story of two reunited friends on a road trip full of nostalgia and hangovers, and when one of them is slipped a cryptic note by a young girl, their vacation takes a sinister turn.  And finally, in “Taylor Family Vacation ’93,” a father on vacation notices someone’s been secretly filming his family in their hotel room and decides to take matters into his own hands with a game of cat-and-mouse played within his own camcorder.

There will also be virtual screenings that will be available one day after the live screening. VIP passes and  tickets are on sale now.  

The NYC Horror Film Festival is the brainchild of Michael J. Hein. He created the festival in 2001 as a venue for newer independent horror filmmaking. After Michael’s passing in 2011, the festival created the Michael J. Hein Achievement Award to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of creators in the field. Rob Zombie, Stuart  Gordon, and Tom Atkins were the first recipients of this award. The very first Festival took place at Tribeca Cinemas  in 2001. 

After two years hiatus, this year, the festival will continue its Lifetime Achievement Award that honors the  scare-masters of horror. George Romero was the first recipient of this award followed by Tom Savini, Tobe  Hooper, Roger Corman, Mick Garris, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Frank Henenlotter, Bill Lustig, Robert Englund,  the late Wes Craven, Lloyd Kaufman, Angus Scrimm, Sean Cunningham, Adrienne Barbeau, Brad Dourif, Tony  Todd, and Greg Nicotero. 

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For more information about the festival and to purchase passes and tickets, please go to

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.