We LOVE horror! Every kind of horror film, from creature features to horror comedies... zombies to serial killers... we love them ALL! We also LOVE thrillers! From political to noir... psychological to action! So, 4 years ago we launched Darkness Reigns to highlight the best in indie filmmaking. We don't care how low or how high the budget is, as long as it's good cinema!

We chose New Orleans because... it's where we live and also happens to be the most unique city in the country. Our culture oozes from our veins... great food, amazing music, and uber creative people, make this an idea place for a horror film festival.

The festival will be screening at the new Indywood Cinemas, like the city it resides in, Indywood is a truly unique experience... we'll be putting up more information about the theater as we get closer to the festival dates.

ONE LAST THING! We love FilmFreeway and filmmakers who use the service, so we provide additional deadlines and discounts that you wouldn't get if you submitted through those other guys. ;)

We give out tons of awards... every program has an award winner... we also have Jury Awards for Best Overall Short, Best Overall Feature, Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Editing, Best Sound... and a few more. Like I said, we love to give out awards.

Every festival has them. Read the Rules and the Submission sections carefully (come on, they really aren't very long) and try to follow them... or your film might end up in the cell!

Official Regulations for the 2017 Darkness Reigns Horror Film Festival


1. Entries that have screened on US television prior to the Festival are eligible for a Festival screening.

2. Productions produced after January 2012 are eligible.

3. DARKNESS REIGNS IS GOING GREEN!!! We are only accepting online film submissions, screeners, and payments, or another streaming service like YouTube or Vimeo. We are doing our part to save the planet and saving you all a bit of money while we’re at it. Making and sending dvds has a negative impact on our environment, so we will only be accepting online submissions. YouTube and Vimeo are perfectly acceptable.

4. Entries must be paid for, as well as submitting all of the information requested, before online screeners will be viewed. Again, we're only accepting online payments... why waste an envelope when we have this new-found-thingy called the internet. ;)

5. We will look at works in progress.

6. NO Fee Waivers are available.

7. All Decisions by judges, programmers and organizers will be final and no refund of entry fee will be permitted.

8. Filmmakers who are ACCEPTED to screen at the Festival, will deliver both an online digital (mp4) and a DVD / Blu-ray version of the film to be screened.

Every Film submitted will be watched by at-least 2 programmers. We're looking for short and feature length; Every kind of horror and thriller film... we love them all!


Narrative Short Film - All films Under 35 Min
Narrative Feature Film - All films over 59 Min


No Fee Waivers will be offered

Overall Rating
  • We didn't go- let me start with that. It was held in a bar in the French Quarter of N.O.LA. and it looks like 6 people showed up for 4 cheap Walmart Certificate awards. It would've cost us over $800 to go and talk with less than 10 people.
    The festival website was hacked and put a virus on my phone that l still can't get rid of. Communication was past the listed deadlines and the Festival dates didn't match what was posted on FilmFreeway.
    I have high hopes that this Festival can turn itself into a legit Fest, but I know there are tons of challenges it'll have to overcome first.

    February 2017
    Dr logo01
    Response from festival:

    Not sure how to respond to a review by someone who didn't attend. The attendance, while not being huge (it was a 1st year fest) was definitely more than 6. His screening had 18... not huge but that also included a group from Wizard Con management which was a good networking opportunity for the filmmakers who attended. Unfortunately, we had to delay the horror comedies due to the Women's March (it passed right by our building) but the audience didn't mind. As soon as it quieted down, the screenings were back on.

    As for the awards, those that won them seemed very appreciative. It was small fest but we still screened some very cool films.

    And yes, we did get hacked. Every one of our wordpress sites on the 1&1 servers got nailed. They all different and varying amounts of protection. We're sorry for anyone who had trouble after visiting the site. I wish only harm (perhaps some of the kinds of harm the films displayed) upon those who purposely attack websites and spread viruses.