Carnival of Darkness: The Haunted Pamlico Film Festival was founded by independent horror filmmakers for independent sci-fi, horror, and suspense filmmakers and their fans. Our festival runs Sept. 29-30, 2023.

Live events, including craft vendors, music, dancing, the "Horror Show III" production by the Haunted Pamlico family, and concessions, will run from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sept. 29 at Raised in a Barn Farm, 2100 N.C. Highway 33, Chocowinity, N.C. Admission to this segment of the event costs $5 per ticket for the general public, payable at the gate.

Our screenings, awards ceremony, and meetings with film-industry professionals will be held from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Turnage Theater, 150 W. Main St., Washington, N.C. Admission to our screenings costs $10 in advance on FilmFreeway or at the door.

The purchase of one $10 ticket via FilmFreeway gives the bearer an all-access pass to our events at the farm and the theater.

We're building the schedule for the festival now. Please keep checking this page and, and follow us on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, for updates.

The festival organizers wish to honor the most artful sci-fi, horror, and suspense films and the people who make them. Our festival is sponsored by many entities, including Haunted Pamlico/Alternative Stage, a developing nonprofit based in Washington, N.C.; Nights of Fright, a haunted attraction in Chocowinity, N.C.; and Raised in a Barn Farm, the property on which Nights of Fright is located. The Haunted Pamlico team behind this event has made dozens of short films, some of which have enjoyed viral success online, and have been featured at festivals from Canada to North Carolina.

Our panel of judges includes artists with skills in sound design, special effects, cinematography, screenwriting, film and stage direction, and many more areas of interest. For more information, email or see our festival page at Be sure to look for us on TikTok, Vimeo, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

• Monument Award
• Frightful Feature-Length
• Bloodiest Good Short
• Slasher Award
• Top Effects
• Seething Suspense
• Sci-Fi
• North Carolina Horror
• Outstanding Horror Actor
• The Director Award

Awards will be presented in the form of digital certificates, which will be emailed after the festival. The makers of winning entries, finalist films, and official selections will be granted permission to include our 2022 festival logo on promotional materials for their selected films.

1. All entries will be submitted via DVDs or films in formats other than those accepted by FilmFreeway will not be considered. We accept films of most any length. While the majority of our categories are open to films of various lengths, please note that this event includes specific categories for short and feature-length films. You must provide stills or a digital copy of your film poster for use in publicity for the festival. Our judges pledge to watch each submitted film through to the end credits.

2. We will accept submissions from midnight May 1, 2023, until midnight Aug. 1, 2023.

3. Awards will be publicly announced during the festival. Winners will be informed of their awards via email from Sept. 1, 2023 through Sept. 6, 2023. Our email address is Each category will have two finalists, and we will announce these finalists in advance. You may submit films in more than one applicable category, but be advised there is a fee for each submission beyond the early bird period of May 1 through May 10.

4. While filmmakers whose work receives finalist or featured-selection status may publicize that fact prior to the festival, information about winning entries is embargoed until the announcement is made during the awards ceremony at the festival. We will inform winning filmmakers and those whose work achieves featured-selection status during the first week of September to allow time for travel plans. Winning filmmakers may inform cast, crew, friends, and family about their award(s), but public announcements of the awards are prohibited before the awards ceremony. Any advance public announcement of awards could result in disqualification. After the festival, we will post news about the winning entries on our website and social-media platforms. Winners may publicize their awards immediately after the ceremony. You needn't be present during the ceremony to receive your award. Please provide us with your email address through FilmFreeway and/or via email,

5. By submitting your film to us, you give us the right to screen your film during the festival. If your film is named a finalist and/or an official selection of the festival, but does not receive an award, it will be shown during the festival barring any unforeseen acts of God, time constraints or technical difficulties. By submitting your film to this festival, you grant us permission to show your film during regular festival hours, and during any screening events that are part of the current season for Carnival of Darkness. Your film has the potential to reach hundreds of people through this event in person, and thousands through our online promotions. We will notify filmmakers of the times during which we expect their selected films to run. This notification will go out with private emails regarding awards and/or featured-selection status.

6. We only accept submissions from filmmakers, individuals or production companies holding full legal rights to their work and all of its aspects, including music, stock footage or other elements. We do not accept responsibility for copyright violations that may arise from the fraudulent submission of work to which the entrant doesn't hold the rights.

7. We accept independent films only.

8. We won't consider films made more than three years prior to the beginning of the submission period, May 1, 2023.

9. Films previously screened online or at other venues are eligible for submission, but we encourage submissions from filmmakers who wish to premiere their work during our festival.

10. We discourage submission of films scheduled for public screening in Pitt, Hyde, Martin, Craven, Beaufort or Washington counties in North Carolina during September 2023. The discovery of scheduled screenings at venues in any of these counties during the month of September may be grounds for disqualification.

11. Designation of your film as a featured selection doesn't guarantee award status. Not all entries will be selected for screening. Only finalists, winners, and/or official selections or films chosen by the organizers to be shown out of competition will be screened during the festival.

12. Filmmakers whose work is chosen for featured or award-winning status are entitled to two free tickets. Excepting special guest panelists, all other attendees will be charged $10 per ticket for all-access passes, or $5 per ticket to attend our events at the farm. We will reserve your two tickets and will release them to you at the door. To receive your reserved tickets, you or someone you have designated to represent you must provide identification in the form of a drivers license or other generally accepted ID. Please provide us with the names of your designated attendees in advance by emailing

13. Judging will be conducted by a panel selected by the organizers. Films the judges had a hand in creating will not be featured in competition. The judges will not be publicly identified.

Overall Rating
  • It was so wonderful to have my film play at Carnival of Darkness. Thank you so much for your support of horror filmmakers!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    We enjoyed your film. Thanks for entering.

  • This was my first time submitting to Carnival of Darkness. Thank you for selecting and awarding the NC Horror Award for "Killing Time". I wish I would have been able to attend this awesome event this year. I probably missed out on a lot of good networking opportunities by not attending. Communication was very good. I look forward to submitting more of my works in future Carnival of Darkness film festivals.

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for entering. We enjoyed seeing your work on the big screen.

  • Organized by kind folx who are really passionate about horror. I hope to attend in person in the future. Thanks for including STAY CALM in your roster and for the awards!

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the feedback, and for being a part of the festival. We enjoyed your work.

  • Great event looking forward to next year

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for entering. We foresee a bright future for you in filmmaking.

  • thank you very much

    it was an honour

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    We appreciate your work. Thanks for being a part of the festival.