Kansas City, MO – Universal Pictures’ new Dracula horror-comedy Renfield, starring Emmy nominee Nicholas Hoult as Renfield and Oscar winner Nicolas Cage as The Prince of Darkness, kicks off the 11th annual Panic Fest on Thursday, April 13, at Screenland Armour Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
The festival expands its 2023 programming to feature over 100 films along with special guest filmmakers and special events for opening weekend. Panic Fest will once again be a hybrid festival allowing genre fans to enjoy programming in-person and keep the party going online at home with our virtual programming.
In-Person: April 13-19, 2023
Virtual Fest: April 14-23, 2023
Get Your Tickets Here
Their anchor programming will sink its teeth into you with Universal Pictures’ Renfield. Then keep the blood flowing with the heart-pounding action in Lionsgate’s Sisu. After you settle down, strap in for a competitive hairdressing competition gone wrong in A24’s Medusa Deluxe.
In addition to a weekend packed with horror and sci-fi goodness you can also sneak away from the action into the basement. No, they aren’t luring you there to murder you, they want you to check out the new retro Rewind Video and Dive Bar. This blast of nostalgia feels ripped straight from your parents’ basement in the ’90s and features a full-service bar, board games, retro gaming systems, a neon-infused atmosphere and shelves of VHS tapes. All podcasts, meet-and-greet events, and after parties will be held in the basement of the theater. Come party like it’s 1999!
Can’t make it to the fest but still want to hang out at the VHS store? Join the virtual attendees on Gather, our 16-bit isometric festival experience. Design your avatar and hop into the virtual theater to network, discuss the films you have seen, or play some board games.
Panic Fest co-founder Tim KC Canton says, “Our lineup is jam packed this year with over 100 films and special guests. The new partnerships with Universal, Lionsgate and A24 brings a new layer of added excitement to our festival and more attention to our wonderful independent filmmakers and their projects as well.”
Special guests include friend of the fest, Joe Lynch, who is once again back to host a number of screenings including From Beyond featuring guest and horror icon Barbara Crampton and a late-night mystery screening as part of our retro programming.
Spider One and Krsy Fox return to host the world premiere of their new feature film Bury the Bride along with a new short from Krsy titled “HIMS.”
Ted Geoghegan brings his new film Brooklyn 45 fresh off its SXSW world premiere, and will also co-host a special screening of We Are Still Here with Barbara Crampton.
“We cannot express our enthusiasm enough for the films in this year’s programming. As the genres we love so much continue to dominate over the last few months, we are thrilled to continue to be a part in helping expose new voices to the world. If ever there was an excuse to take off work for a few days this line-up is it,” said Adam Roberts, Festival Director.
The podcast lineup includes Cult Podcast, Horror Virgin, and Nightmare Junkhead along with Screen Drafts hosting a live draft virtually on closing weekend. Join along on social channels when the draft begins!
40+ Feature Films
60+ Short Films
Rewind VHS Bar and Dive
Special Events / After Parties
FEATURE FILM PROGRAMMING
8 Found Dead
D: Travis Greene
Two couples take a weekend getaway in the middle of the desert, only to discover that their Airbnb is already occupied. It’s a long and bloody night told from four points of view.
D: Evan Marlowe
Les Hackel is a guy down on his luck who wakes to find an explosive device has been implanted in his neck. He must carry out heinous crimes in order to stay alive while trying to identify the mastermind manipulating the now twisted and strange world around him. The film is enacted entirely using lifelike puppets.
D: Kelly Bigelow Becerra, Roland Becerra
The film follows “The Professor,” a man suffering from a terminal disease, who by a twist of fate, witnesses an incredible event involving his mysterious neighbor Agatha. Hoping to find a cure to his sickness he agrees to follow her on a strange and risky journey into a forgotten but not entirely deserted urban wasteland.
Baby Blue (World Premiere)
D: Adam Mason
A group of teens stumble across the story of now-dead serial killer Baby Blue and decide he’d be the perfect subject of a true crime vodcast. But when they start digging, they quickly discover that his murder spree never stopped. Now they are being targeted from beyond the grave.
Black Mold (World Premiere)
D: John Pata
While exploring a decrepit and abandoned facility, an auspicious photographer faces off against her traumatic past.
Bliss of Evil
D: Josh Morris
A sound engineer is forced to confront her trauma when she and her girlfriend’s grunge band are trapped in a recording studio by a shadowy killer.
Blue Hour: The Disappearance of Nick Brandreth (World Premiere)
D: Daniel Bowhers
True crime documentarian Olivia Brandreth was nine years old when her father disappeared. The official police statement was suicide, though no body was ever recovered. Twenty-five years later, Olivia has returned to her childhood home to finally get closure in an unrelenting attempt to set the record straight. Blue Hour chronicles the journey of a dedicated film crew in their search to figure out what really happened that night in 1997.
D: Laura Moss
A morgue technician successfully reanimates the body of a little girl, but to keep her breathing, she will need to harvest biological materials from pregnant women. When the girl’s mother, a nurse, discovers her baby alive, they enter into a deal that forces them both down a dark path of no return.
D: Dane Elcar
A couple find themselves trapped while on a run around a pond.
D: Ted Geoghegan
Five military veterans, best friends since childhood, gather together to support their troubled host, and the metaphoric ghosts of their past become all too literal.
Bury the Bride (World Premiere)
D: Spider One
Bride-to-be June’s bachelorette getaway turns deadly when her bloodthirsty fiance and his friends show up to crash the party.
End Zone 2
D: August Kane
Fifteen years after the events of End Zone, Smash-Mouth is back to finish off the cheerleaders who killed his mother.
D: John Isberg
In the wake of a tragedy during the summer of 1991, a group of camp counselors find themselves fighting for their lives against a masked killer.
D: Bruce Wemple
Two estranged adult siblings, Casey and Dan, travel to their late scientist father’s farmhouse to make sense of his incomplete work. They soon learn that their father’s work was far more dangerous than they could ever imagine: An evil entity, buried in time and space for millions of years, has been released and has begun wreaking havoc on the locals. One by one the bodies start to pile up. Now, Dan and Casey must figure out the secrets of this extra – dimensional monster before it’s too late.
From Beyond (1986 with Joe Lynch & Barbara Crampton)
D: Stuart Gordon
A group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.
Give Me an A
D: Hannah Alline, Avital Ash, Bonnie Discepolo
Expands the importance of bodily autonomy and addresses the issues of a democracy that does not protect the needs of the majority of the population.
Hollywood Dreams and Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story (World Premiere)
D: Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart
Since first donning a tattered fedora and a glove of eviscerating blades in 1984, Robert Englund has become one our generation’s most beloved horror icons. Englund has risen to stand shoulder to shoulder in the pantheon of movie legends alongside such greats as Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee. His portrayal of Freddy Krueger is without doubt a moment as visceral to the horror genre as Chaney’s werewolf or Karloff’s ground-breaking realization of Frankenstein’s monster. This tells his story.
D: Patricio Valladares
Set in the 1990s, this story of three twentysomething women who venture into the woods to shoot a demo tape for their black metal band.
D: Gary Huggins
A nightmare comedy about a school counselor whose compassion, generosity and dedication destroys the lives of everyone around him.
King on Screen
D: Daphné Baiwir
1976, Brian de Palma directs Carrie, the first novel by Stephen King. Since, more than 50 directors have adapted the master of horror’s books, in more than 80 films and series, making him the most adapted author still alive in the world.
Laced (World Premiere)
D: Kyle Butenhoff
On the evening of a record-breaking blizzard, a young wife’s plans to kill her abusive husband begin to unravel. Laced is a modern thriller/drama in the vein of Hitchcockian classics like Dial M for Murder and Rear Window. Set in a single location, the piece explores the claustrophobic nature of young love strung with toxicity and lies, and the cyclical nature of violence.
D: Thomas Hardiman
Medusa Deluxe is a murder mystery set in a competitive hairdressing competition. Extravagance and excess collide as the death of one of their own sows seeds of division in a community whose passion for hair verges on obsession.
D: Karim Ouelhaj
Megalomaniac questions the invisible line between victim and executioner and how it is crossed. A film about the weight of patriarchy and the illusion of Manichaeism.
Mother May I?
D: Laurence Vannicelli
When Anya starts behaving like his recently deceased mother, Emmett must confront his deepest traumas to free his fiancee from this bewildering possession.
D: Ryan Stevens Harris
A comatose five-year-old girl journeys through an industrial wonderland to find her way back to consciousness.
D: Sun-Ung KIM
Five members of the ‘GO2MOUNTAIN’ bike riding club visit an old abandoned cabin in Mountain CHIAK. Moments of freedom riding the mountain, members experience impossible incidents. What is it that haunts the members? Desperate attempts to survive begin.
D: Johannes Grenzfurthner
South African enfant terrible filmmaker and artiste-cineaste Manus Oosthuizen meets with Rotten Tomatoes-approved indie film critic Babette Cruickshank in an Echo Park sound studio. With key members of Manus’s crew joining, they record an audio commentary track for his new elegiac feature documentary Razzennest. But the session goes down a different path… cazzart! The ultimate elevation of arthouse horror, just not as you might expect.
D: Chris McKay
In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men franchise) stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Oscar® winner Nicolas Cage). Renfield is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, after centuries of servitude, Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his codependency.
D: Anto Anto
Giulia and her four-year-old daughter have been locked up in a car trunk by a dangerous psychopath. Their only hope of salvation is Marta, a girl who, that same day, decided to commit suicide.
The Artifice Girl
D: Franklin Ritch
When an internet vigilante develops a revolutionary new computer program to combat online predators, its rapid advancement leads to serious questions of autonomy, oppression, and what it really means to be human.
D: Michael Stevantoni, Strack Azar
A small town reels from the sudden and mysterious death of “Feral Boy,” a local legend since his discovery in the woods as a child. Father Moss, a priest with a loose grip on the faith, attempts to counsel the forlorn couple that raised the boy. As the answers are revealed, he finds parallels between this grisly incident and his own recurring nightmares, haunted in both sleeping and waking hours.
The Bigfoot Trap (World Premiere)
D: Aaron Mirtes
A journalist’s life is changed forever when he’s locked inside of a bigfoot trap by an insane sasquatch hunter.
The Blue Rose (World Premiere)
D: George Baron
A genre-bending surrealist noir set in the 1950s, The Blue Rose follows the one-night journey of two rookie detectives as they set out to solve a seemingly clear-cut homicide, only to find themselves in an alternate reality of their worst nightmares.
D: Raúl Cerezo Fernando, González Gómez
Octogenarian who enters into a state of dementia after the sudden suicide of his wife, sparking a series of paranormal events that will put his family’s lives at risk.
The Once and Future Smash
D: Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein
In 1970, Mikey & William both portrayed football cannibal Smash-Mouth in the influential cult hit, End Zone 2. Now, 50 years later, only one can wear the mask.
The Origin of Evil
D: Sébastien Marnier
A woman on the verge of financial collapse attempts to reconnect with her wealthy, estranged father and his new family.
The Third Saturday in October
D: Jay Burleson
When a psycho goes on a murderous rampage after surviving a botched execution, only two survivors of his initial attack can stop him.
The Third Saturday in October Part V
D: Jay Burleson
Follow an implacable killer as he stalks and butchers the occupants of houses across the stretch of one lone country road while the residents prepare to watch a yearly college-football bout.
D: Corey Stanton
When a manipulative sociopath discovers her passion for stock market trading, she sets out to conquer the financial world, all from the confines of her basement apartment.
D: Alejandro Brugués, Mike Mendez, Demián Rugna, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Eduardo Sánchez, Demián Rugna
A police raid takes place on a mystery location where a brutal massacre has happened and only one survivor remains. Taken into custody, the mysterious man has some strange tales to tell whilst the clock ticks down to a deadline that man says will be the end of them all.
D: Jalmari Helander
When an ex-soldier who discovers gold in the Lapland wilderness tries to take the loot into the city, Nazi soldiers led by a brutal SS officer battle him.
D: Alexandra Spieth
An urban loner fights for a chance at redemption when she’s invited to her estranged BFF’s bachelorette party.
Walking Against the Rain
D: Scott Lyus
Blair and Tommy are two strangers who are navigating their way across a barren landscape in a desperate attempt to find each other. With their only form of communication being two soon-to-die battery operated radio mics and with a new evil monster in the shape of “The Forsaken” tracking them down, they must learn to confront loss and rediscover a trust in humanity.
We Are Still Here (2015, with Ted Geoghegan & Barbara Crampton)
D: Ted Geoghegan
In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.
SHORT FILM PROGRAMMING
SHORT BLOCK #1
“HIgh Stakes” D: Zachary Eglinton
“Wolf Whistle” D: Jennifer Handorf
“Moonlight Sonata, With Scissors” D: Chris Ethridge
“That’s Our Time” D: Alex Backes
“AlieNation” D: Ray Raghavans
“Meat Friend” D: Izzy Lee
“The Trunk” D: Travis Laidlaw
“HIMS” D: Krsy Fox
SHORT BLOCK #2
“Tanjiro” D: Matt Genesis
“Pool Party” D: Ellie Stewart
“The Heritage” D: Andrew Rutter
“The Internet Remains Undefeated” D: Robbie Gibbon
“Prom Car ‘91” D: Brian Otting
“The Tunnel” D: Adam Rose-Levy
“When the Time Comes” D: Jondaniel Cornett, Jonathan Frey
“The Wheel” D: Nikhil Bhagat
SHORT BLOCK #3
“A Bloody Graveyard Story” D: Vanessa Stachel
“Wellness Check” D: Andrew Bell
“Bug Bites” D: Daniel DelPurgatorio
“Red Velvet” D: Blake Simon
“The Dream Machine” D: Josef Hermansson Embring, Philip Sterner
“Demon Box” D: Sean Wainsteim
“Ditched” D: Sloan Turner
“Lichemoth” D: Carla Nichamin
SHORT BLOCK #4
“Buzzkill” D: Peter Ahern
“Heartbeater” D: Rob Himebaugh
“Feng Shui” D: Kamran Rathod
“Ringworms” D: Will Lee
“A Strange and Terrible Dream” D: Matthew Lloyd
“Delivery” D: Imanol Ortiz Lopez
“OtherKin” D: Dawson Taylor
“Nightmare at Camp Bloodbath” D: Dylan Arnow
“The Fore-men” D: Adrian Bobb
SHORT BLOCK #5
“We Forgot About the Zombies” D: Chris McInroy
“Kickstart My Heart” D: Kelsey Bollig
“Flappy” D: Darcy Conlan
“Cruise” D: Sam Rudykoff
“La Nueva (The Newcomer)” D: Ivan Villamel
“Earworm” D: Bryan M. Ferguson
“Denali” D: Alberto Ortega
“Searchers” D: Isaac Ruth
“Soul Proprietor” D: Scott Riopelle
ONLINE BLOCK #1
“Red Lake” D: Shaun Dunne
“No Signature Required” D: Kenneth Lawrence
“How to Make a Ghost” D: Jared Hogan
“Merger” D: Daniel Negret
“Black Dragon (Rồng đen)” D: Alexander Thompson
“Get Out of There” D: Matthew Barber, Nathaniel Barber
ONLINE BLOCK #2
“Gnaw” D: Rosalee Yagihara
“Wild Card” D: Tipper Newton
“Bad Penny” D: Tony Hipwell
“Knock” D: Bobby Huotari
“Eric” D: David Yorke
“The Wanderer” D: Nebojsa Kovacevic
ONLINE BLOCK #3
“Marked” D: Catherine Bonny
“Scumbags” D: Giancarlo Tovar
“Chicks” D: Geena Marie Hernandez
“The Farmhouse” D: Joshua Land, Victor Fink
“Stop Dead” D: Emily Greenwood
“CIMIM” D: Cody Mobley
LONG-FORM ONLINE SHORTS
“Dead End” D: Dima Barch
“In the Shadow of God” D: Brian Sepanzyk
“Vivere” D: Daniel Sheahan
Panic Fest is more than just a film festival. Each year features a curated selection of events and live podcasts!
From Beyond hosted by Joe Lynch with Barbara Crampton
We Are Still Here with Ted Ted Geoghegan and Barbara Crampton
After Hours with Joe Lynch: Secret Screening
Horror Virgin Podcast
Nightmare Junkhead Podcast and Game Show
Nightmare on Film Street
Rewind VHS Bar and Dive