Since 2009 the Knoxville Horror Film Festival is committed in bringing the best (and worst) of genre cinema to Tennessee through our annual film festival and feature screenings throughout the year. The only horror festival in Tennessee, KHFF holds its annual fest near Halloween every year.

On top of accepting submissions of short films from around the world, we hold a filmmaking competition called the Grindhouse Grind-Out in which we give teams 6 days and 66 minutes to make a 3 minute Grindhouse trailer or short film.

This year’s premiere feature presentations include: Lucky McKee’s slow-burn chiller Kindred Spirits; Larry Fessenden’s Frankenstein update Depraved; the “hallucinatory hellscape” of Bliss and the action-horror of V.F.W., both from director Joe Begos; imaginary-friend-gone-wrong thriller Daniel Isn’t Real; the romantic monster movie After Midnight, the Carpenter Brut-soundtracked space opera Blood Machines; ribald festival favorite Porno; producer Travis Stevens’ C.M. Punk-starring directorial debut Girl on the Third Floor; Chad Crawford Kinkle’s Jug Face followup Dementer; and cult sure-shot Fingers, starring KHFF 2018 award-winner Taylor Zaudtke and the Greasy Strangler himself, Michael St. Michaels.

Repertory presentations begin this year with Thursday night’s “Girdler-thon” extravaganza, which showcases the work of unsung B-movie filmmaker William Girdler with a triple feature featuring 1978’s The Manitou, 1976’s Grizzly and a secret, very special 16mm screening of one of his early films. The flashback fun continues Friday night with Vinegar Syndrome & AGFA’s newly-available “Gore Cut” of the 1994 Denise Richards cheapie Tammy And The T-Rex, which transforms the film’s innocuous straight-to-video banality into an aggressively strange, over-the-top experience guaranteed to become a new cult classic. And most exciting of all is Saturday evening’s centerpiece screening of Grindhouse Releasing’s new 4K restoration of Sam Raimi’s 1981 game-changer The Evil Dead, complete with a new 5.1 surround mix and all new score from original composer Joe LoDuca!

These feature presentations will be complemented by an extensive short film competition, featuring local productions alongside a selection of the year’s best touring horror shorts. (Submissions for both categories remain open through a late deadline of September 20.) The weekend also includes a number of afterparties and special events, including a live Shock Waves podcast, the debut of a KHFF beer collaboration with neighborhood brewmasters Elkmont Exchange, and the cursed fruits of the ninth annual KHFF Grindhouse Grind-out filmmaking contest, which gives teams of local filmmakers six days and sixty-six minutes to produce a trailer or short in an ultra-specific genre chosen draft-style at the competition kickoff.


A feature and a short will be chosen for each of the above categories.

Prizes include custom designed trophies by various artists and awesome swag from our sponsors such as Scream Factory, Rue Morgue, Vinegar Sydnrome and lots of local vendors.


Films are divided into four overall competitions: FEATURE, REGIONAL FEATURE (films produced in Tennessee), SHORTS and REGIONAL SHORTS.(short films produced in Tennessee)

Submission fees are $50 for feature films, $40 for Regional Feature Films, $20 for Short films and $15 for Regional Short films.

One film per entry fee. Entry fees are non-refundable. Paying the fee does not guarantee your film will be played, it only enters your film into consideration for being a part of the festival.

Films must be original in content or adapted with binding permission.

Overall Rating
  • Kyle Kuchta

    Do yourself a favor and submit and/or attend. It's an absolute blast, and we were honored to have our documentary SURVIVAL OF THE FILM FREAKS programmed as part of KHFF. The whole crew is amazing, the atmosphere is fun and laidback, and the events are top notch. We can't wait to be back.

    December 2018
  • Clarissa Jacobson

    I did not get to attend for my film Lunch Ladies, but one of the actors did and a reviewer that I had met from TN. They both sent me back glowing words about the festival, how great it was - and the festival itself was in great communication with me and promoted the film. Thank you Knoxville!

    October 2018
  • Walt Braley

    Wonderful festival run by genuine fans of the genre that just want everyone have to great time.

    October 2018
  • Dakota Arseneault

    Such a gem of a festival! Top notch programming and selection, well organized, extremely hospitable, and just a ton of fun! Whether as a filmmaker or a viewer, attending KHFF is a must.

    January 2018
  • Goran Spoljaric

    Inspired programming, great communication, wide promotion

    October 2017