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
  • 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
  • Matthew Barber

    Incredibly grateful to have my short film Get Out of There selected at Knoxville Horror! Always wanted to have a film screen at Knoxville unfortunately I wasn't able to attend. It looks like it was a really fun event and I heard great things from fellow filmmakers!

    October 2022
  • Daniel Fersner

    Great festival! The curation of films from all parts of the world is second to none in the region. They bring strange, engaging genre films together for a well put together program. Top notch staff and the festival goers are all very receptive & excited. Definitely hope to have more films play there in the future!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Daniel, we look forward to your future films playing at the fest as well!

  • Robert Winfrey

    I loved this festival. I was honored to have one of my student's films selected to the festival. I had a blast. Great movies and very friendly people.

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much Robert!

  • We were so excited to have our film Lethalogica selected by Knoxville Horror! Such a great film fest with a tremendous reputation. Everything was fantastic!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, we were just as excited to have your film in the festival!