From Sept. 26 through 29, the 2019 New Orleans Horror
Film Festival will take place at the uptown Prytania Theatre.
This festival, the only of its kind in the city, offers viewers
an opportunity to see a wide range of films and engage with
a genre that has more to offer than just jump scares and gore.
“[Horror] is not all just torture porn,” says festival co-found-
er and director JT Seaton. “A lot of times people don’t under-
stand that there are so many sub genres of the horror genre.
They just automatically think horror is a bunch of kids going
to the woods to party and they get killed one by one in very
bloody ways. There’s a lot more going on than that storyline.”
In fact, Seaton and his fellow creators have set out to pres-
ent as many different types of horror as possible.
“I think one of the things we’re trying to do is put together a
festival that is kind of well rounded, in the sense that there’s a
lot of different styles happening. We’ve got more cerebral in-
tellectual horror, and we’ve got some survival horror stories.”
Not only does the festival cater to a wide range of horror
types, it also includes films that touch on a wide variety of
subjects and filmmaking styles. In terms of the festival’s range
of content, Seaton says, “We’re doing the world premiere of a
comedy horror fi lm called ‘Cold Feet’ on Saturday night. And
then we have a great survival horror story, action fi lm called
‘Swing Low’ that Saturday night as well. ”
This variety of content can even include pieces of different
lengths. The horror short, for example, offers an exciting, and
entertaining, new take on the traditional feature-length fi lm.
“We’re also very excited about the short films that we have
screening this year,” Seaton says. “We have a lot of really
great short films from all over the world. On Friday night we
have the WTF, otherwise known as what the f**k shorts block
at midnight, which is our craziest, insane short films. And then
we have our comedy shorts block on Saturday night, which is
a lot of fun. A lot of great funny films.”
Although the festival prides itself on offer-
ing new content, viewers can expect to see fa-
miliar faces, as some films even feature high
profile actors viewers can easily recognize.
“We have for the first time in the festival
history a feature-length animated fi lm called
‘To Your Last Death’ that has the voices of
William Shatner and Ray Wise. [Opening
night fi lm] ‘The Black String’’ stars Frankie
Munez from ‘Malcolm in the Middle.’ It’s a
bit of a different turn for him obviously; it’s
more of a dramatic role and a very dark story.”
But these films aren’t just entertaining.
Some of them have enough critical and viewer
appeal to go on to mass production, with Sea-
ton mentioning that “[‘The Black String’] is
this very well made fi lm. Lionsgate actually
picked the fi lm up for distribution. But we’re
screening it as our opening night feature fi lm.”
This isn’t entirely surprising, considering
the genre’s reputation as a starting point for some of Holly-
wood’s biggest stars. As Seaton says, “[Horror] is like this
dirty little secret that nobody wants to talk about; making a
horror fi lm seems cheap and tawdry. But so many of today’s
huge Academy Award-winning filmmakers got their start in
low budget horror films.”
With such a large list of fi lm offerings from a variety of
talented creators, it is clear that this festival tries to appeal to a
wide range of viewers. In this way, Seaton sees the festival to
be much like the genre of horror itself.
“There’s just something about horror that strikes a chord
with a lot of people. Maybe because horror is sometimes about
outcasts, about people who don’t fi t in. And so the people who
don’t fi t in can identify with characters within horror films.”
Not only does horror appeal to the outcast though, it also
offers all viewers the chance to participate in a socio-political
moment, one that can only be portrayed through the genre.
This makes festivals like this one especially timely.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on,” says Seaton, “that echoes
in horror films, whether that be racism, or hate speech or hate
crime. Could be any number of things, I think, that are being
definitely incorporated and influenced by what’s happening in
our country, in our society today.”
For horror fans and new viewers alike, Seaton recommends
checking out the festival’s website ( nolahff.com) and social
media platforms so that they are able to customize their expe-
rience to best match their specific tastes. Full festival passes
are available, as well as daily passes or single screening tick-
“New Orleans is the perfect city to have a horror film festi-
val,” says Seaton.