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)

Submission fees are $50 for feature films, $40 for Regional Feature Films, $25 for Short films and $20 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
  • nathan crooker

    I was thrilled to have #Nofilter selected to the 2021 festival. My experience of the festival did not disappoint. They are extremely responsive and do a great job of choosing top notch genre films.. The whole festival team really do have the best interests of their filmmakers at heart, and my thanks go out to them for including my film in this year’s selection.

    April 2022
  • What a fantastic experience. Can't wait to attend in person, but made some great new friends and absolutely loved how our short film was placed into the festival. Thank you.

    January 2022
  • Ali Chappell

    I have nothing but truly amazing things to say about this festival. They were so kind and they took my first directorial debut short film and treated me so great. I love them so much. All my films that I make going forward will be going to these amazing people. I truly love and adore them so much.

    November 2021
  • It is an honour my short film Monster Encounters has been selected to be part of Knoxville Horror Film Fest this year, thank you so much! I hope I can attend the festival in person sometime.

    November 2021
  • I loved everything about this festival. They have a cinema as well as a drive in movie to showcase all the films. They had a great choice of films and I loved that they had a local Films section of the festival. I would highly recommend this festival to anyone and will be going to the next one.

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Wolf!