Salem Horror Fest is a celebration of diverse voices and innovative filmmaking within a genre that best reflects our cultural demons. We were honored to be invited to review the films that they aired this year. Here are the ones that we watched. You can click on any title to read the full article.

6:45: A man and his fiancee live the same romantic day — they die at the end — day after day after, well, day.

Alone With YouAs she waits for her girlfriend to return home for their anniversary, Charlie discovers she’s trapped inside her apartment with an evil entity, and must fight for survival as nightmarish visions descend and a voice in the wall guides her towards a way out.

Bad GirlsAfter robbing a strip club, three desperate teenage girls lead a misogynistic Federal Agent on a lysergic cross-country chase, scoring a duffle bag full of money, drugs, and a crew of willing kidnapees along the way.

Brain DeathAfter the disappearance of her girlfriend, a young trans woman comes into contact with an ancient evil. Also: Garfield phones.

CapriceThe road to recovery is paved in blood and getting better may be painful for more people than just Rose.

Cockazoid: A loner dreams of killing all white men, even if he is one.

Dawn Breaks Behind the EyesA couple spend eternity in a castle until their reality starts to shift, as the unknown moves into their lives.

Death CastSix fame hungry actors are documented as they unknowingly trade their lives to star and die in an experimental horror film.

Driver: A film made in quarantine, this is an animated short that sets out to put immaterial feelings into visuals.

Dystopia: Forget reality shows and Instagram beauties; a young girl’s fantasy becomes the playground for a gang of women set to create the perfect man, one limb at a time.

Father of FliesA haunting tale of family life. A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her.

Fire on the MountainA young woman must stop a centuries old demon from unleashing hell on a small town after she fails to complete an ancient sacrifice designed to prevent it.

The Free FallSara wakes from a coma to a life she doesn’t remember, a fragile reality that tumbles into a nightmare where nothing is as it seems and the ultimate evil vies for her soul.

GrifficaA man suspects his boyfriend is a demon.

GutsA horror-comedy short film about a day in the life of a guy who has his guts on the outside of his body.

Hall: Scattered victims are thrust into the fight of their lives, when a hotel hallway is ravaged by a mysterious virus.

Hideout: As they hide at a remote farmhouse after a scam gone wrong, four criminals discover that the family living there is not who they appear to be.

I Want You Dead!A movie within a movie within a movie (within a movie?).

Iskioma: A veterinarian discovers an infectious disease amongst livestock in this tense Greek short.

Keeping CompanyTwo insurance salesmen pick the wrong client to hard sell a policy to and end up chained in his basement.

Koreatown Ghost StoryA woman entertains a macabre marriage offer that might let her pursue her dreams, for better or for much much worse.

Lair: A fractured LGBTQ family are forced to face their demons as they unwittingly become embroiled in a man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural.

LandLocked: Summoned to his soon-to-be demolished childhood home, Mason discovers a video camera that can see into the past, driving him to record as many memories as possible before the doomed house is destroyed.

Logan Lee and the Rise of the Purple DawnDJing, marijuana, evil new boyfriends and plenty of amazing style.

The LoversA roommate stuck in a codependent cycle finds her burgeoning romance might lead to something unexpected.

MarkedA tattoo artist is forced to confront his past when a client knows what his tattoos mean.

Meta: Artie’s nominated for prom king, and is doing his best to hide his excitement. He doesn’t believe his school would vote a transguy for Prom King despite Lucy’s demand that he’s already won.

Miss Blueberry Beauty PageantWelcome to the 1984 Miss Blueberry Beauty Pageant! Where the girls are a feast for the eyes and as sweet as honey. Follow these three finalists as they navigate the twists and turns of a pageant that reveals a much more sinister secret.

Parallel MindsIn the near future, the A.I. “URM” is investigated by a detective and lab researcher on the verge of releasing a contact lens with the power to record what the eye can see to recreate memories.

Poor Glenna: When her mutant son develops a taste for human flesh, a timid mother must find a victim to satisfy his ravenous appetite.

Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie: Sam and Mattie, two badass best friends with Down syndrome, rally the entire town of Providence RI to help them storyboard, script, produce, cast, and star in their own dream movie: Spring Break Zombie Massacre.

SeedsA grieving mother holds on to her Catholic faith as her husband leaves to study and learn the secrets of an old New England cult.

Sin Origen:A former drug runner battles supernatural assassins after taking a sick girl under his protection.

Snapper: The Man-Eating Turtle Movie That Never Got MadeThe story of an unfinished monster movie and the creative friendship that outlasted it.

So VamKurt is an outcast in a conservative town who dreams of moving to the city to be a famous drag queen. When he is kidnapped by a predatory old vampire and killed, he is rescued just in time to be resurrected by a gang of rebellious vampires who feed on bigots and abusers.

Sundown Town: Bryce and Mitchell’s trip home is disrupted after making a pit stop in a mysteriously unwelcoming town.

Take Back the Night: Finding herself the victim of a violent monster attack, a sociial media influencer and artist launches a campaign to hunt the beast (if it exists).

Two WitchesA matriarchal witch passes on her sinister inheritance to her grand-daughter, triggering horrific curses.

ValA criminal on the run breaks into the home of a high class escort, only to realize nothing is as it seems.

VerifiedA lonely but hopeful insta-influence gets bit by a zombie while live-streaming and finally gets the audience she craves… but at what cost?

Weee Woo: A young woman wakes in the dead of night to a world devoid of sound. Yet, through the silence, she hears a mysterious call which draws her deep into the dark woods.

Welcome to Our Home:A first meeting between a new couple and conservative parents leads to…well…you’ll find out.

The WerebackInside a truck carrying illegal immigrants, something is changing as the full moon comes up.

What Happens Next Will Scare YouThe follow-up to the WNUF Halloween Special goes viral and brings plenty of buckets of the red stuff.

Wicked GamesHome invasion goes up against someone who has a history of solving these kind of problems.

Witch HuntA vengeful keyboard warrior falls victim to his own game after a mysterious visitor arrives at his door.

You Missed a SpotIn a world where every single person is a clown, a mime escapes a cabin massacre and must find his voice to save the girl of his dreams.

There’s still time for you to catch all of these great movies by grabbing a virtual pass now until the end of October. Thanks to Salem Horror Fest for including us and we can’t wait to be part of this again next year!

SALEM HORROR FEST: Two Witches (2021)

Sarah (Belle Adams) may have never intended to be a witch but comes face to face with the craft when she meets a strange woman at a restaurant. In contrast, Masha has always known that she will one day become one.

In Sarah’s story, “The Boogeywoman,” our heroine is pregnant and her husband cooly informs her that all her visions of witchcraft are just the hormones talking. Oh yeah? Then who is the stalker in the woods casting spells on photos of your wife? Then, as these things happen, a Ouija board gets involved and the darkness sees out.

In “Masha,” the titular protagonist is a woman who knows that her magical powers are there and waiting for her grandmother to die and pass them on to her. Despite her inability to find the man she feels will complete her, she soon finds the power — and the madness — to do pretty much anything she wants.

Although these stories don’t seem to be connected, they are at the end, as the film hints that these women are part of a larger universe. Director Pierre Tsigaridis told Horror Obsessive that “I was really influenced by Italian cinema…Italian horror movies in the ’70s were criticized by Americans because they didn’t follow a typical structure, more visuals over story. In Europe, that was more common.”

This movie starts off with a bang, featuring a witch devouring a baby, and then doesn’t really slow down all that much from there. You can see hints of everything from Suspiria (both versions) and The Beyond to Carrie, Single White Female and Drag Me to Hell in these stories. And the fact that the villain from the first story has an impact on the second excites me for how this series — I hope it’s a series! — of films grows.

I saw Two Witches as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October. You can learn more about this film on the official Facebook page.

SALEM HORROR FEST: Origin Unknown (Sin Origen) (2020)

Pedro del Toro, a family man and drug trafficking ally, is ready to get out of the crime life. But is the crime life ever ready to be done with you? As Alan, one of his henchmen, asks him to make one last deal to protect themselves from a rival family, a young girl shows up out of nowhere, just as a small team of Romanian killers known as the Arcana decimate every one of Pedro’s guards.

Lina explains to the survivors that the Arcana are after her because she’s a vampire a part of the Cuervo clan. But while Pedro wants to give in, Alan is going after the Dreadnok-looking army of killing machines.


This movie has quite the cocktail: young vampire vs. warrior caste of Romania bloodsuckers + Mexican mov drama + home invasion thriller. Shake it all up, throw some cool fight scenes, an arrow through the mouth and glowing vampires into the mix and you have a pretty full drink.

Director Rigoberto Castañeda and writer Michael Caissie have combined nearly every movie on their DVD shelves — a little John Carpenter stuck in a fortified place against the odds here, some of The Raid martial arts there, some post-apocalyptic movie looking villains here — and plenty of little hints as their source material, naming the family del Toro and the young girl Lina after Let the Right One In.

I had a blast with this, as its really intriguing to see vampires not be slow moving creatures of the night but instead ninja-like fighting machines. Making cocktails of disparate ingredients is always challenging; here’s to a film that pulls it off.

I saw Origin Unknown as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October. You can learn more about this film on the official web page.

SALEM HORROR FEST: Parallel Minds (2020)

On the verge of the release of Red Eye 2, a contact lens that can record data and resurface the buried memories of its wearer, a researcher named Margo finds the lead programmer has been murdered. That leads her to Thomas, a detective who has his own past to deal with, all to find out exactly what’s going on.

In his second full-length film, Benjamin Ross Hayden is really trying to tie so many things into one movie: a software company that has all the worst parts of the social media companies that we deal with every day; a detective with an abusive past and a stalker following him; a cool punk hacker named Jade; the monster that looks way cool on the poster.

This really reminded me of a 1990s cyberpunk movie — and I love those movies like three-legged dogs, so you may not — but even I have limits as to how much narrative incoherence I can deal with. This movie looks gorgeous, however, all cool blues and future gleam. And I think there’s a great movie inside here. It just needs to not have so many layers.

I saw Parallel Minds as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October. This movie is also on Tubi.

SALEM HORROR FEST: The Free Fall (2021)

Adam Stilwell wrote and directed The Triangle, which is a film I’ve heard plenty of good things about. This time, he’s made a movie about a woman named Sara. She starts the film by waking up from a coma — she’d witnessed something traumatic with her parents and attempted suicide — into a life she doesn’t remember. And while her husband seems helpful, there’s the hint that he’s being a little bit too controlling.

How controlling? Well, most of their house is off limits to her and she’s constantly followed by her nurse Rose, who is played by V star Jane Balder and let me tell you, I’ve never seen Ms. Balder play a single heroic or nice person.

Also, when our heroine digs up her garden, she finds an intestine growing in it which is just one of the visions she’s seeing. Is she still alive? Is she being gaslit by her husband? Has she lost her mind? There’s a major shift that comes into the movie, so get ready for it. This is a dark exploration about recovering from suicide as well as the pain men can put into a relationship, so watch it at your own peril.

I saw The Free Fall as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October.

SALEM HORROR FEST: The Lovers (2021)

A roommate stuck in a codependent cycle finds her burgeoning romance might lead to something unexpected. And when she brings her new man home, perhaps both she and her roommate might find some enjoyment out of him. Sure, I should have expected the ending, but it hit me just right. And I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Director and writer Avra Fox-Lerner knows something that very few filmmakers do this day: brevity is the soul of wit. This is just the right length and I’m not saying that in the way women do to make us men feel better.

I saw The Lovers as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October. You can read more about Meta at the official site.


During senior prom, Artie is excited to see if he’s won prom king — despite not believing that his school would vote in a transguy — just as he gets his period. And then, well, he transforms all over again in order to deal with bullies.

I’m somewhat fascinated that the prom scene in Carrie gets referenced in transgender narratives. Someone asked me the other day why so many in the LGBTQ world love horror so much and my assumption — I’d love to learn more — is that the fear of the other is something dealt with every day. Enjoying a world where the other is everyday and often triumphs against normalcy seems way better than normal life.

That said — this is an interesting film and it’s great to see so much representation within Salem Horror Fest. Directed by Sydne Horton and written by Savannah Ward, it has the right tones of humor, horror and understanding.

I saw Meta as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October. You can read more about Meta at the official site.

SALEM HORROR FEST: LandLocked (2021)

Are the movies trying to tell me something?

I’ve watched multiple films in the last few weeks where people try to go back home again and set things right. This never works out.

What am I to learn?

Directed and written by Paul Owens, LandLocked brings his family into the film, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, as well as appearing in their old home movies which have become part of the narrative.

When Mason (Mason Owens) takes on the task of clearing out his father’s home, he discovers those films on an old video camera and begins to grow obsessed with the footage that he starts to watch and learn and document the past.

So yeah, you may be watching a family’s old films and the film feels long even though it has a short running time. But the idea of a camera that can show you any moment in time you ask for is solid, the footage works within the film and you can see what the director was going for. Nostalgia is dangerous (or a profitable place to make a movie) is the message and yes, while you can go home again, you probably shouldn’t.

I saw LandLocked as part of Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October.


Ben (Oded Fehr) is in prison for murdering his wife and daughter, but his lawyer Wendy Coulson (Alexandra Gilbreath) is convinced that demonic possession is the cause. So how do you prove that in court? Steven, whose cursed object may have made Ben a killer, has created an apartment filled with multiple objects with the same demonic hold and rents it out to Carly (Alana Wallace), Maria (Aislinn De’Ath) and her daughters Joey (Anya Newall) and Lilly (Lara Mount). Now, that family’s demons are about to meet very real ones.

Adam Ethan Crow has some interesting ideas in here and it feels like this inhabits the same world as The Conjuring films while having a more progressive family at its center. While Steven and Ben have been faking ghost incidents for years, the air bob filled with occult objects actually begins to show them what the unknown really is.

Steven is as repellant a character as you’ll find, his plan is one made to unravel and woe be to the normal family caught within. If you enjoy possession and paranormal films, you’ll definitely enjoy this one, however.

Lair is now playing Salem Horror Fest, where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October.


When a hotel hallway is ravaged by a mysterious virus — yes, if you’re looking for COVID-19 escapism, perhaps this is not your movie — pregnant tourist Naomi (Yumiko Shaku, Lt. Akane Yashiro from 2002’s Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) and Val (Carolina Bartczak) bond over more than just their bad marriages. They’re also stuck in a hallway filled with victims, all to find Val’s daughter Kelly and perhaps get through the horror.

Made as an ode to 70s and 80s horror — obviously, this Canadian project that tells of an isolated building dealing with a disease within is going to get a Cronenberg association — the guiding question behind this film was “What would happen if vaccines were created intentionally for purposes of government control and for the profit of the pharmaceutical industry, not necessarily to cure viruses?”

Director/co-writer Francesco Giannini first full-length feature shows a confidence many won’t have five movies in. This is a claustrophobic and dark movie that just plain works.

Hall is now playing Salem Horror Fest where you can watch several shorts and features with their virtual pass now until the end of October. You can learn more about Hall at the official site.