Horror fans may have a new destination for an early Halloween this year. From October 9-11, at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Florida, the Freak Show Horror Film Festival will take place. Featuring a mix of the latest independent short and feature-length horror flicks (many of which are making their premiere), Freak Show promises to be a bloody good time for all in attendance. In addition, special celebrity guests will make appearances (continue reading to find out who) and legendary gore auteur Herschell Gordon Lewis (Two Thousand Maniacs!, Feast of Flesh) will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award following a screening of Lewis’ latest movie, The Uh-Oh! Show.

MM caught up with festival director Robert J. Massetti to discuss this year’s Freak Show festivities.

For more information about the fest, visit www.freakshowfilmfest.com.

Kyle Rupprecht (MM): What makes Freak Show stand out from other horror film fests?

Robert J. Massetti (RJM): Well, we are one of the few horror film festivals in October where you can watch a horror movie and then take a dip in the pool afterwards. But seriously, since we are connected with the largest horror convention in the state of Florida—Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend, which draws over 10,000 horror fans—our screenings are always standing room only. Last year, representatives from Twisted Pictures came to the festival and a lot of the filmmakers were able to talk with them and even pitch ideas. We also helped two films that screened at the festival, Bane and I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer, get distribution deals. In other words, we are a great festival for making deals and relaxing after working so hard on your film.

MM: What special events/celebrity guests can attendees look forward to seeing this year?

RJM: We are known for our great pool parties where a lot of our celebrity guests attend and get “Freaky” with us. Before the show, we have a huge Zombie Walk and this year we have director John Landis and actress Ola Ray from the Michael Jackson “Thriller” video leading the event. We have a huge panel discussion with the producers of The Black Waters Of Echo’s Pond who are bringing Elise and Electra Avellan, the Babysitter Twins from [Robert Rodriguez’s] Planet Terror. Plus we have the world premiere of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ new movie The Uh-Oh! Show. Celebrity guests that will be attending include Shannen Doherty, John Landis, Linda Blair, Tippi Hedren, Adrienne Barbeau and many more. We also have a Night of the Living Dead reunion and Halloween 2 reunion. Plus we have bands, a tattoo room and a ton of Q&As with all the celebrity guests. Don’t forget the pool parties that go on till the break of dawn.

MM: Freak Show features a mix of international short and feature-length horror movies. Is there one in particular you’re psyched to see?

RJM: That is a really hard question since we have so many great films screening at the festival. I would have to say it would be The Black Waters Of Echo’s Pond since the film has a ton of hype surrounding it. It will be great to see the movie with a house full of hardcore horror fans!

MM: Herschell Gordon Lewis, the Godfather of Gore, will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Why did you decide to bestow this bloody great honor upon Mr. Lewis?

RJM: Mr. Lewis represents true independent horror filmmaking and the festival likes to honor that independent spirit. His films really changed the landscape of horror with his mixture of gore and comedy. He is a true horror pioneer and his films are an important part of cinema history. Since the festival is located in Florida, who better to honor than a Florida native that has made horror films in Florida.

MM: Anything else to add?

RJM: If you plan on attending the Freak Show Horror Film Festival, please remember to bring your swim drunks. We have a lot of fun at the festival, but we also bring a lot of opportunities and exposure to the attending filmmakers. We invite you to get “Freaky” with us this October and in the future. For more information you can visit our website at www.freakshowfilmfest.com.