Launched in 2009 with a single evening program of local & touring short films, the Knoxville Horror Film Fest has grown into a four-night extravaganza of exciting features and unmissable short films, including special events like live podcasts, trivia sessions and our annual Grindhouse Grind-out filmmaking competition. We’re proud to be not only East Tennessee’s longest-running film festival but also one of the Southeast’s premier annual genre film events.

After a decade of screening at local venues like the Pilot Light, Relix Variety Theatre, Scruffy City Hall and Regal Cinemas Downtown West 8, the KHFF crew in 2018 opened single-screen moviehouse Central Cinema, which now serves as the festival’s home base. Between our theater’s intimate 88-seat setting and high-profile festival screenings at larger venues like Downtown West and Maryville’s Parkway Drive-In, hundreds of horror fans from around the region enjoy KHFF’s offerings every October.

Despite its ever-growing scale, KHFF remains a DIY labor of love for the small crew that puts it on each year, and we like to think the result is a film festival clearly run by fans, for fans.

Awards vary by year, depending on festival makeup. Categories typically include Scariest Film, Funniest Film, Weirdest Film, Best Performance and Best Scenario, as well as "Palm d'Gore" award for best film.


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

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
  • Just absolutely love this hometown festival. One of the absolute best horror festivals I've been to.

    November 2023
  • Joe Reilly

    One of my ABSOLUTE favorite festivals out there, and I haven't even been able to attend yet! Probably the single best curated selection of films from any fest, as always a fantastic mix of classic and awesome new films and shorts. The team behind this is amazing, and keep in constant touch. It's painful the past 2 years I have been a part of this fest have been scheduling conflicts to attend, as this is one of the best genre fests out there, easily!

    November 2023
  • Joseph Yates

    Super fun horror festival in the south!

    November 2023
  • The Knoxville Horror Film Fest was one of the best film festival experiences I've ever had. My short Lovecraft adaptation ANCIENT LORE was shown before the feature SUITABLE FLESH, which was a perfect fit. Although I was unable to attend the festival, many people wrote me reviews or contacted me after the screening. An unforgettable experience, thank you for letting me be part of it.

    October 2023
  • Adam Marans

    Thoughtful, communicative and dedicated staff from top to bottom, an absolute pleasure to submit to and be screened at. A wonderful portfolio of the best new selections and clever revival screenings, a definite favorite!

    November 2022