The inaugural Puerto Rico Horror Film Fest took place in 2007. Originally, it was a biennial event, but now the festival is held every year. In 2009, it officially became a competitive festival. The main goal of the Puerto Rico Horror Film Fest is to popularize the art of cinema (first and foremost, independent cinema) by screening high-quality feature films and shorts. It focuses on films that would otherwise never be shown in Puerto Rico due to their specific genre.
Over the years, the Puerto Rico Horror Film Fest has grown to become one of the largest events of its kind in the region. It is recognized by La Alianza Latinoamericana de Festivales de Cine Fantástico, Latin America’s premier horror film festival circuit. Its program features about 200 films from all over the glove. The festival attracts over 7,000 attendees (both viewers and industry representatives). In 2011, MovieMaker included it into the list of “13 Horror Film Festivals to Die For”.
The Puerto Rico Horror Film Fest welcomes filmmakers from different countries, from Argentina and Australia to Uruguay and Venezuela. Some of the best known names in the film industry have participated in the festival, including Tony Todd known for playing the title character in Candyman and Zelda Rubinstein who played Tangina Barrons in the Poltergeist film series. Both actors received PRHFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
As we’ve already mentioned above, the Puerto Rico Horror Film Fest is a competitive festival. Awards are given in several categories including Best Local Feature Film, Best International Feature Film, Best Local Short Film, Best International Short Film. The festival also hosts a screenwriting contest. A group of professional actors perform a read-through of the best scripts submitted for the competition at an event open to the general public.
Along with the regular screenings, PRHFF hosts special events. For example, the 2016 edition of the festival featured a tribute screening of Jim Sharman’s cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, an art exhibition called El Bizarro, and the Fashionably Spooky cosplay competition.