We’re less than two months away from South Florida’s premiere film festival for horror aficionados: Popcorn Frights. The film festival, which will run from August 11th through the 17th, celebrates the age-old genre of horror while putting an emphasis on indie horror films rather than large blockbuster productions, which are arguably becoming less and less innovative than in years past. In an interview for our newsletter last year, co-director Igor Shteyrenberg shared with us that he was inspired to create Popcorn Frights (alongside his partner, Marc Ferman) back in 2015 because he found that Miami was “utterly devoid of a genre scene,” and the two sought to breathe life into the local community that was hungry for
flesh horror-themed film events.
Two years later, Popcorn Frights has become a pillar in the South Florida film scene. Their special anniversary screenings of horror classics all throughout the year draw ghouls in from all corners of the state who long to watch some of their beloved bloody films on the big screen and in the company of other creatures of the night at O Cinema Wynwood. (Heads up: There are limited seats remaining for their 30th anniversary screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors on July 7th, so be sure to get yours before Freddy comes for you in your sleep.)
This year’s lineup is comprised of over 40 films and includes entries from all the varying sub-genres of horror including the horror-comedy Tragedy Girls, which stars Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) and Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) as two social media-crazed girls who will stop at nothing to up their follower count and Joe Lynch’s Mayhem, which stars The Walking Dead alum Steven Yeun in a wonderfully violent middle finger to corporate culture. Some of the other big names to watch include the final cut of Another Wolfcop, the unusual 2 A.M, pulp noir 68 Kill, which won the SXSW 2017 Midnighters Audience Award, Del-Toro-esque The Bride, the slasherific Psychopaths, zombie love story It Stains the Sands Red, horror-rom-com Dave Made A Maze, Still/Born, which won Scariest Film at The Overlook Film Festival, The Cleansing Hour, Better Watch Out, Game of Death, and many more. (For the full lineup, check out: http://www.popcornfrights.com/film-lineup/)
This incredibly diverse assortment of films is an amazing feat, especially considering the first incarnation of the film festival back in 2015 screened a total of four films. This growth is a testament to not only the hard work Ferman and Shteyrenberg have put into expanding the festival, but to the incredible reception and involvement South Florida horror-heads have had in cultivating a strong local horror scene. In fact, this year’s program will introduce a whole new sidebar of short films made by local filmmakers called “Homegrown: 100% Pure Fresh Squeezed Florida Horror” which is designed to be a “springboard for new filmmakers from Florida” and a means to cultivate and nurture Miami’s growing film community.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about this year’s Popcorn Frights Film Festival lineup. You can currently purchase badges that will grant you access to every screening for $120 or a pair for $180, but those are sure to sell out quickly, so jump on it. You can also purchase single screening tickets here.
Mario Avalos is a senior at Florida International University, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, along with certificates in Film Studies and Professional and Public Writing.