The first official day of fall is Sept. 23, but for the past 10 years, the Telluride Horror Show’s initial announcement of festival features has served as a sure sign of Halloween season. Organizers released the first wave of films and special guests Wednesday for the Horror Show scheduled for Oct. 11-13 this year.
The feature films are “1BR,” “Girl On the Third Floor,” “Making Monsters,” “Mutant Blast,” “Sator,” “She Never Died,” “The Wretched,” “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” “VFW” and “Z.”
The shorts include “Abyssus,” “Bad Hair,” “Bedtime Story,” “Call For a Good Time,” “Hellevate,” “Hopes,” “In Sound, We Live Forever,” “It Crawled In Through the Window,” “La Noria,” “Lili,” “Most Steps Ever,” “Nest,” “Night Crawl,” “O.I,” “Spasms,” “The Burden,” “The Dreamer,” “The Fortune Teller,” “The Procedure 2,” “Toe,” “Wash,” “Wild Love” and “Wither.”
“It really does run the gamut from arthouse to Troma Entertainment. It’s just an awesome variety of horror,” said Ted Wilson, Horror Show creator. Troma Entertainment is a well-known independent film company founded in 1974 that’s notorious for dishing out campy horror and lowbrow flicks like “The Toxic Avenger” and “Surf Nazis Must Die.”
Wilson added that there are several directors from years past that are returning this year, including Justin Harding (“Making Monsters,” co-directed by Rob Brunner), Brett Pierce (“The Wretched,” co-directed with Drew Pierce) and Joe Begos (“VFW”).
“It’s just serendipitous that it worked out for our 10th year,” he said.
The Pierce Brothers and Harding will be at the festival, along with several other directors, including this year’s guest director, Eli Craig whose “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” screened at the first two festivals. The bloody backwoods romp “is considered one of the best redneck movies and horror comedies of all time,” according to a news release.
“I think the (‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’) will be a fun party,” Wilson said of the 10th anniversary presentation with special guest Joe Bob Briggs of the series “The Last Drive-In.” Briggs will also present his “How Rednecks Saved Hollywood” show, which chronicles the origin of the American redneck as told through film, during the weekend.
While the Horror Show focuses primarily on films, Wilson has strived to make the event more a weekend celebration of the genre many love and adore, including adding a literature element in recent years. Award-winning writer Kelly Link will be this year’s guest author. Link’s latest book, 2016’s “Get in Trouble,” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Fiction. She’s also won a Shirley Jackson Award, Nebula Award and O. Henry Prize, among several other accolades. In 2015, acclaimed sci-fi and fantasy author Neil Gaiman called Link “probably the best short story writer currently out there.”
“To be honest, we’re nervous that she’s coming because she’s an amazing, amazing talent,” Wilson said. “She’s really going to class up the joint for sure. …We’re just beyond ecstatic that she agreed to join us for the weekend.”
Jeremy Robert Johnson, who has previously been a Horror Show guest author and is now the event’s author-in-residence, will host a chat with Link. Wilson explained all the author events are free and open to the public, including the Creepy Campfire Tales in Elks Park and book signing.
For the first time ever, the Horror Show will have a guest artist in horror photographer Joshua Hoffine.
“If anyone does a quick Google search of Josh, they’ll see a lot of his horror photography he’s done over the years. I think a lot of people would recognize his work,” Wilson said. “ … His horror photography is amazing. He puts as much work into one photograph as most people put into a short film. … Some of them are pretty intense even though it’s just a photo.”
Hoffine will present a slideshow of his photography, along with a teaser for his upcoming film “Night of the Hatchet Man,” according to the release.
Meredith Borders, Fangoria magazine managing editor, returns as this year’s guest host.
The 2019 poster was also revealed recently. A picture of a decaying Rio Grande Southern narrow gauge railroad conductor shouting, “To hell you ride!” as the train pukes smoke is this year’s image. Wilson researched the origin of the saying, which some say is how the Town of Telluride received its name, and found that the railroad trip wasn’t exactly a smooth one.
“I knew I had to use that expression at some point,” he said. “ … By all accounts it was a very miserable train ride. The train shook a lot and the smoke poured into the windows. Just an awful train ride from what I read.”
The rest of the films and the official lineup will be announced over the next several weeks, according to Wilson, as organizers typically “work until the 11th hour” in putting together the program.
For more information and to purchase passes, visit telluridehorrorshow.com.