The World’s 15 Bloody Best Genre Fests, 2018

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1. Sitges International Festival of Fantastic Film // Sitges, Spain // October 5-15, 2017

Sitges International Festival of Fantastic Film, now celebrating its 50th year, “truly is the Venice of the fantastic,” says a panelist, where rumors of “late nights and early morning debauchery” abound, and “naked filmmakers jump into the ocean, among the most rabid fan base of genre film fans on the continent,” according to another panelist. Hosting near-24-hour per day screenings right on the beaches of its sunny—and walkable!—seaside Cantalonia resort, Sitges is “brilliantly curated and on a scale comparable to top tier generalist festivals,” says a panelist. Special guests include “Patron” Guillermo del Toro, who helped preside over the festivities this year, and programming puts special focus on leitmotifs like Dracula-centric cinema.

Udo Kier soaks up audience adoration at a screening of Brawl in Cell Block 99 at Sitges International Festival of Fantastic Film 2017. Photograph courtesy of Sitges International Festival of Fantastic Film

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  1. Marie Parks

    May 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I feel like this is not a complete list of the best genre fests! some of these are all genre fest with a horror event thrown in. What about my favorite one Shriekfest? I’ve been submitting and involved with that fest for years now and they treat everyone great! The fest director is the best I’ve ever met!

  2. Elijah Taylor

    October 17, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Solid list, but missing the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival is a huuuuge oversight. One of the best genre film festivals in Europe since 1983! One of the few festivals I’ve been to worldwide that truly has unique, internal festival culture. Really fosters a sense of community.

    Other stuff worth mentioning includes:
    Shockproof (Prague)
    Next Fest (Los Angeles)
    PUFF (Philadelphia)
    Telluride Horror Show (Telluride, Colorado)

  3. Clarissa Jacobson

    October 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Missing Nightmares FILM FEST!!!

  4. Jay Kay

    October 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I felt it could have had more members to the panel more diversity of people who head to the larger fests as well as the rest. Of course there will be interweaving festivals but this list primarily focuses on larger ones but does not include many of the fests who r in the mid part of the US among other things.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m Not putting down what this article is and contains. For me, it’s not a piece that shows festivals that are on the rise or in the tier below many of these. Have nothing but respect for panel and the writer. No doubt more incarnations to come … 😉

  5. Mr. Ghost

    October 16, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Who knew there are so many fests dedicated to horror. Excited to have these in my conscious reservoir to keep up with their output in the future.

  6. Tom Luca

    October 16, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Loved reading this, especially seeing Roger Corman, Larry Cohen(THE STUFF), Michael Moriarty(Q THE WINGED SERPENT), Adrienne Barbeau(ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK) and more recognizable memorable greats in film. Thanks for sharing!

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