The Third Annual Idaho Horror Film Festival Brings New Life to the Undead 

Big-name guests and early screenings build anticipation for film fest

All eyes will be on The Blair Witch Project, The Hills Have Eyes and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Idaho Horror Film Festival 2016.

Courtesy studios

All eyes will be on The Blair Witch Project, The Hills Have Eyes and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Idaho Horror Film Festival 2016.

Though the thrills and chills of Halloween are still weeks away, a new local tradition of terror will start the scares soon. The third annual Idaho Horror Film Festival, which is bringing in some big names in film, will host a few frights to get fans excited while they wait for the curtains to open on Friday, Oct. 13.

"I think three is the magic number," said Molly Deckart, founder and director of the Idaho Horror Film Festival. "I think we've worked most of the kinks out."

Streamlining IHFF has opened doors for Deckart. She was particularly thrilled to announce Daniel Myrick, co-writer/co-director of 1999's The Blair Witch Project, will speak at this year's IHFF. Deckart said Myrick is already planning his visit to Boise, where he'll share what he has learned throughout his filmmaking years and how Blair Witch, made on a budget of approximately $60,000, turned into a profitable phenomenon, ushering in an era of "found footage" films and grossing almost $140 million domestically.

"We chose [Blair Witch] to showcase because they use a lot of unique marketing techniques and it was filmed on a very low budget," Deckart said, adding she's also excited about guest Michael Berryman, who starred in the 1977 classic, The Hills Have Eyes.

Along with bringing in speakers and showing horror flicks, IHFF also accepts submissions of independent feature-length, animated, short and foreign film and shows the films that make the cut.

"We have a screening team, and I watch all of the yes and maybes," said Deckart—a total of 50 films were chosen from the 700 submitted.

IHFF will also have family friendly events like face painting, costume contests and a showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Sunday, Oct. 15, at the Egyptian Theatre.

This year's IHFF will again offer educational opportunities. Last year, there was a No Budget Film School workshop, and this year, the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking will hold a two-day workshop (two four-hour sessions) at JUMP.

Most importantly, IHFF strives to get Idaho filmmakers involved. There's a locals-only category—called Spud and Guts—and Idahoans aren't charged for their submissions.

"We have filmmakers from Australia, Portugal, Finland. They come from all over," said Deckart. "But film and film culture struggle in Idaho and by making the festival submissions free for Idahoans, we hope to grow the culture here in Idaho."

Deckart's team is ginning up excitement for the festival months in advance with screenings of horror classics.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, IHFF will screen Jaws in the pool at Boise Racquet and Swim Club on Saturday, Aug. 13. Saturday, Sept. 10, see Night of the Living Dead with a buffet from Angell's Bar and Grill Renato at the second annual Horror on the Lawn.

A lot goes into Idaho Horror Film Festival, but Deckart and her colleagues aren't afraid of a little hard work because as soon as the curtains close on the last day of the festival, preparation begins for the next.

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