Screams on Screens

screams on screens at IFI 2

Every October bank holiday weekend, for the past 12 years, hordes of horror movie fans have flocked to the Irish Film Institute, like zombies in search of fresh brains. The reason is Horrorthon, an annual festival celebrating all that’s great and gruesome about the horror genre.

When Horrorthon premiered in 1998, it was a one-day event, held on one screen. Due to increasing popularity, recent years have seen it greatly expand. This year’s festival will run for five days, from Thursday 24th to Monday 28th October, across several of the institute’s screens.

The early years saw the festival dominated by screenings of classic films (including rare 35mm prints of classics like Halloween, The Thing and Jaws), but Horrorthon has gained such international respect that most of the films featured now are brand new, with several world or European premieres taking place over recent years. There are other cult genres, such as blaxploitation, thrillers and movies that are so bad they’re fascinating, like Plan Nine From Outer Space, considered the worst film ever made.

Big names from the horror world have attended the fest, including Ruggero Deodato (director of the highly controversial Cannibal Holocaust), Michael Biehn (star of Aliens) and last year’s guest of honour, scream queen Danielle Harris, best known for her roles in the Halloween series, who screened her directorial debut, Amongst Friends. These may not be household names (unless your household resembles The Addams Family) but they’re icons to fans of the horror genre.

This year’s festival will be dedicated to Peter Walsh, the late IFI programmer who originally took a chance on allowing the festival to take place at the institute.

The line-up will be announced in early October and can be found online at or Tickets are available individually or in the form of day or weekend passes, and the organisers advise booking early to avoid disappointment.

Pictured above is ‘Scream Queen’ Danielle Harris, last year’s guest of honour.

By Eric Hillis