Horror Film Festival


An Exciting & Frightening Event in Boise

by Lonni Leavitt-Barker, photos by IHFF

Time to warm up your “blood curdlers,” as in screams. Mid-October marks the 3rd annual Idaho Horror Film Festival. It doesn’t matter whether you thrive on blood, guts, chills, and panic or if you want to get a feel for the talent of up and coming filmmakers. The Idaho Horror Film Festival will have something for everyone to relate to. Well, everyone, that is, but the 12 and under set.

“I look at this in a different way,” said founder Molly Deckart. “Everyone can appreciate horror films in a different way. Not everyone can relate to romance. But everyone can relate to fear in some form or another.”

Deckart started the Horror Film Festival with Susan Becker in 2013 as a way to keep creative people from fleeing Idaho for projects elsewhere. She wanted to boost the film culture in our state—but why the horror genre?

“It is a genre friendly to emerging filmmakers. It doesn’t rely heavily on story lines and has a lot of creative leeway,” said Deckart. “Stephen Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick both started by dipping their toes into the horror genre.”

And it seems she is on to something. The first year of her film festival, Deckart had 13 film entries. This year, for 2016, 700 films from around the world have been submitted for consideration and another 46 films have come in from Idaho filmmakers.

There is no entry fee for Idaho-based filmmakers, to encourage and grow our state’s creative base. There is even a special award reserved for Idaho-only films: the “Spud and Guts” award.

How fitting that the festival kicks off on the evening of the 13th. There are three events that first night: an interactive, dress- up showing of the cult classic, Rocky Horror Picture Show, an evening of old silent films accompanied by Sean Dahlman and his original compositions, and a “Best of the Fest” party showcasing the judges-award winners.

All day Friday will be screening after screening of the film submissions with an Idaho film entry showcased every hour. That night features one of Deckart’s big “gets”. Daniel Myrick, who wrote, produced, and directed The Blair Witch Project, will be speaking and answering questions. Myrick and his partner worked with a minuscule budget of less than $25,000 to create and market one of the most successful independent movies ever made. The Blair Witch Project scared and stymied enough people to earn more than 248 million dollars in theaters worldwide.

Finally, on Saturday, October 15th, there will be a Halloween costume contest and free family screening of the original Harry Potter movie at the Egyptian. There will also be what is called the “Screen the H48”. Twenty teams will each be given a line of dialogue and one prop. They are then given 48 hours to write, direct, shoot, and edit a short film.

The evening will end with horror film icon (another one of Deckart’s “gets”), Michael Berryman, signing autographs and answering questions. He’s famous for his roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Hills Have Eyes. And of course, there will be a big awards bash at the Reef to celebrate the end of what is expected to be Idaho’s growing and successful Horror Film Festival.