Salem Horror Fest is back for its fifth year of eerie, macabre delights. The 2021 edition of the festival will be doing things differently this year, kicking their live program off this Friday as we enter October and running it two consecutive weekends before the program goes virtual on October 22. The live program sees the festival heading back to spaces with live audiences around Salem, Massachusetts for the first time since 2019.
The live events will feature a tribute to George A. Romero that includes special screenings of the master of horror’s works all month long. Among the films featured will be the newly remastered lost film The Amusement Park, Season of the Witch, The Crazies, and a six-day marathon of Night of the Living Dead showings where all proceeds will benefit Texas Abortion Funds. Other highlights include the live 100th episode of The Faculty of Horror podcast. A special presentation of Phantom of the Paradise featuring a conversation with Swan Archives curator Ari Kahan. Documentary Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie follows two best friends with down syndrome as they make their feature debut, Spring Break Zombie Massacre. Plus, the directorial debut of The Room’s Greg Sestero with Miracle Valley, the world premiere of Pierre Tsigaridis’ Two Witches, and the Northeast premiere of Barbara Crampton feature Alone with You, hot off its premiere at Fantastic Fest.
This year, and with the uptick in coronavirus cases, the festival is also taking a stand to make sure its population of moviegoers stays safe. The festival has mandated vaccination cards be present and masks worn in indoor settings, urging anyone not feeling well or unwilling to comply to simply stay home. While the live event runs from October 1–11, a virtual event is scheduled for both VIP attendees to get a second chance at any of the films they may have missed and those unable to attend physically. Beginning October 22 and running through Halloween, the virtual Salem Horror Fest 2021 ticket will likely feature recorded versions of this year’s live events, as well as many of the festival premieres. You’ll also be able to access the films through your television or streaming device via the eventive app.
Horror festivals are always a great place to find some of the most profound independent genre films, usually before anyone else. Salem Horror Fest has always been good at picking some of the most innovative up-and-comers in the genre. Last year, they shocked and amazed audiences with titles like A Nightmare Wakes and Bleed With Me, which have since become Shudder exclusive titles. At the same time, brother-sister road trip thriller Threshold became acquired for distribution through boutique retailer Arrow Video. This year’s Alone With You, already being picked up by Dark Star Pictures after debuting in September, proves that Salem knows how to choose films we’ll be talking about in the weeks and months ahead.
Tickets start at $125 for passes to the virtual event October 22–October 31, while a Salem Horror Fest 2021 VIP ticket, at $199, buys you in-person admittance beginning October 1, virtual access to the films on October 22, as well as an exclusive T-shirt, pin, and reusable popcorn container.