15 Must-Sees of The Stanley Film Festival

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Horror camp is about to get underway. Affectionately referred to as something of a retreat, the upcoming Stanley Film Festival—housed at the Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel, the rural estate which inspired The Shining—brings together the best in horror festival selections, as well as the best in horror filmmaking, old and new, for a long weekend of movies and events. But like Austin’s Fantastic Fest, Stanley is intent on being more than friendly catch-ups between screenings and industry affairs. It’s meant to be experiential. Inspired by its singular setting and total spooky atmosphere, Stanley is a celebration of horror in all its form, from film to live performance to panel to literature to new frontiers in storytelling, and meant to give attendees a weekend that won’t be so easily replicated.

In anticipation of the festival, I selected 15 must-sees and then in turn spoke with Stanley programmers Michael Lerman and Landon Zakheim about the choices. The slate runs from anticipated fest films like The Invitation, Shrew’s Nest and When Animals Dream; to the Stanley’s budding tradition of an Immersive Horror Game, the frightening live-action mystery playing out all weekend for those who choose to engage; to this year’s big fest figures like Barbara Crampton, Stuart Gordon and Raduis-TWC co-president, Tom Quinn. Not on this list, but something you must do is visit the Estes Park Pie Shop & Bakery. It was a total discovery last year, and maybe some of the best pie I’ve ever eaten.

The Stanley Film Festival runs April 30th-May 3rd. Shock Till You Drop will be on hand all weekend. I’ll be hosting Horror Trivia with former Shock editor and Blumhouse Director of Development Ryan Turek on Friday night at the Wheel Bar. I’ll also be moderating the “Scare Tactics: Creativity in Modern Horror” panel with guests Karyn Kusama (The Invitation, Jennifer’s Body), Todd Strauss-Schulson (The Final Girls) and Leigh Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 3) on Saturday afternoon.

For tickets, full lineup and much more, visit the Stanley Film Festival