Top Short Horror Festivals to Keep an Eye on in 2023 Cover Image

Horror is an all-time favorite of moviegoers, and short horror movies have inevitably gained momentum in recent years. The reason is simple. Horror shorts tell a complete story in a short time while delivering a rather intense atmosphere and some shivers down the spine.

This being said – you’re a horror fan – you’ll definitely want to check out some of the top short horror movie festivals listed below. From ScreamFest in Los Angeles to Fantastic Fest in Austin, these gems are proven to showcase the best in short horror films worldwide.

So, let’s bring up the curtain and turn off the lights!

ScreamFest Horror Film Festival (Los Angeles, USA)

ScreamFest Horror Film Festival is an annual event in Los Angeles, California. This one is dedicated to showcasing the best in horror films worldwide, and rumor has it that it definitely fulfills its purpose.

The fest was founded in 2001 and has already been running for over 20 years. It presents a selection of mind-boggling horror gems – feature films, shorts, documentaries, and web series including.

Last but not least, visitors can attend many panel discussions, Q&A sessions with their favorite filmmakers, and different special events every year.

The festival typically takes place in October, making it a splendid annual ritual to tap into the Halloween spirit.

Telluride Horror Show (Telluride, USA)

The Telluride Horror Show is a world-renowned horror and fantasy event you can attend every year in Telluride, Colorado. Its initial liftoff was back in 2010 under the Telluride Council for the Arts and Humanities patronage. Later on, it quickly evolved into a first-choicer for horror fans of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

The festival features a selection of horror, suspense, fantasy, and sci-fi films, including shorts, feature films, and special events. In addition, it presents panels and different sessions with filmmakers, special guests, and industry professionals.

The Telluride Horror Show generally takes place in October and lasts for three packed days.

Tucson Terrorfest (Tucson, USA)

Tucson Horrorfest is an annual horror film festival born in Tucson, Arizona. The festival’s first blastoff happened in 2011 and featured horror films from both established and newly-emerging filmmakers.

As of today, the festival showcases independent horror filmmaking along with premieres, exclusive projections, and one-time-only screenings of some mind-boggling short horror films from all over the globe.

Banned and edgy pieces are not taboo here, so the decision to book your ticket would be as easy as one-two-three.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is an annual celebration of all things horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and occult. It never ceases to sample some of the best independent and studio genre films for the year and has become a signature name in the world of horror shorts.

As you may have already guessed, it occurs in Toronto, Canada. Moreover, it is officially one of the most anticipated genre festivals in the local calendar. It is held over four days, during which attendees get the thrill of feature-length and short films, as well as a mixture of in-person and online screenings.

Throughout the years, the Toronto After Dark fest has also included a selection of horror-themed art and memorabilia, plus different celebrity guests.

Detroit International Festival of Darkness

The Festival of Darkness is an annual horror film festival that was first held on October 1st, 2022. It showcases a splendid selection of independent dark, suspense, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy-themed short movies from regional and global filmmakers.

Experimental student projects are typical of the festival’s selection, and half of the admission sales are given to non-profit charity projects.

BlueSky Film & Music Festival (New Mexico, USA)

The BlueSky Film & Music Festival is a monthly international film festival for professional and amateur filmmakers. The organizers are continually accepting the freshest pieces of conventional and short-form films and giving a stage to new talents from all over the world.

The awards and prices of the festival include but are not limited to:

  • Best Short Science Fiction Film
  • Best Horror Film
  • Best Short Horror Film
  • Best Film Noir
  • Best Animated Film
  • Best Directing
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Student Work
  • Best Photography, etc.

All genres are accepted, while an essential condition is that the movie includes English subtitles.

Pompeywood Genre Film Festival (Portsmouth, UK)

Pompeywood Genre Film Festival is an annual genre film festival in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK. It mainly celebrates the best in the short horror genre, while it also accepts pieces in the genres of science fiction, drama, and comedy.

Except for the screenings, the festival enriches its program with some question-and-answer panels with filmmakers, discussions with the cast and crew, feature films, and networking opportunities.

Nightmares Film Festival (Columbus, USA)

Nightmares Film Festival is an international horror and fantasy film festival in Columbus, Ohio. It was founded in 2016 and is still ongoing, as it showcases the best terrifying, tense, and bizarre films from the international horror scene.

To make things even better, the screenings of the Nightmares Film Festival are held at the world-renowned Gateway Film Center – one of the most prominent art houses on the continent.

HORROR-RAMA International Film Festival (Toronto, CA)

The HORROR-RAMA International Film Festival is an annual event celebrating all aspects of horror film culture. The festival was established by Luis Ceriz – the founder and owner of Toronto’s landmark film culture emporium, and it is one of the world’s most celebrated horror film festivals.

HORROR-RAMA also strongly focuses on independent horror films and is known for its commitment to showcasing the best in low-budget and independent horror cinema.

Dickens Horror Film Festival (London, UK)

The Dickens Horror Film Festival is an annual horror-lover highlight held in London, UK. The festival was founded back in 2015 and is committed to showcasing the finest independent horror cinema.

It focuses on various genres, including psychological horror, supernatural horror, slasher, and creature features. During the festival, screenings last all day and night at the historic and haunted Dickens Opera House.


As of 2023, both filmmakers and businesses will participate in short horror movie festivals because they are an excellent platform for showcasing horror filmmakers’ unique stories and creative visions.

Festivals such as Fantastic Fest, HORROR-RAMA International Film Festival, and others provide invaluable opportunities to connect with other industry professionals, gain exposure to their work, and receive feedback from experienced professionals.

Additionally, filmmakers can use these festivals to gain valuable experience in the horror genre and increase their visibility in the industry.

So, ready to go?

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