The 11th Telluride Horror Show is moving its weekend-long festival online this year with its “Shelter-in-Place Edition” to be held Oct. 15 to 18.
And even though the Horror Show is going to be different this year, organizers still want horror movie aficionados to get ready:
“Start drawing up plans on how you can re-create the Telluride scene in your living room: Build some mountain props, stock up on Colorado microbrews, raise a pig for your own pig roast, find a volunteer to sweep up the popcorn in your living room between movies, stand in line outside your house between shows ... we know you’ll make it fun!” organizers posted on the festival’s website.
Ted Wilson, festival director, said the decision to move the festival online was tough, and, like the other long-running Telluride-based festivals, Horror Show organizers waited as long as they could before moving the October weekend online.
“We tried to buy as much time as possible, but we just finally had to resign ourselves to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “We thought about could we get away with limited capacity and all that, but then you’re just turning away other people. We figured online was the best way – now we can all participate together, even though it’s online. A lot of people have been with us for over 10 years now, which is crazy to think that it’s been 10 years. We want to see those people, even if we have to see them online.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed that it goes well and everyone’s internet holds up.”
Wilson said the Horror Show has grown in popularity and the fear is that the coronavirus may throw off the steam the festival is gaining.
“The last few years, things have really taken off. Last year, we were packed; we had a lot of sold-out shows,” he said. “That’s kind of a little bit of a bummer because we’re worried that we’ll lose that momentum we had going for us.”
Telluride Horror Show attracts fans of the genre from all over the country for screenings of shorts and features, special guests and other events. The films, featuring a mix of horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi and dark comedy, are screened at Telluride’s Nugget Theatre, Palm Theatre and Sheridan Opera House.
Wilson said there are some challenges when it comes to organizing a virtual film festival – piracy can be a big concern for some of the bigger film companies – but the good news is that because the festival is online, crowd favorites such as the shorts programs aren’t in any danger of selling out to a physical crowd.
“We’ve always had five, six, seven shorts programs at the Horror Show, and they’ve always been huge crowd favorites, we always have to run our shorts programs at least twice to accommodate the crowds,” he said. “The shorts, obviously, they’re super-excited that festivals like us are moving online, so we’re still going to have this incredible lineup of short films and programs. There are films in there that are really actually – they’re a short film, but they’re pretty scary. People will still be able to get their jump-scare fixes and all that stuff. We’ll also have the wide range of horror-comedy to the just flat-out frightening.”
And because of the switch to an online format this year, Wilson said the event will hopefully be able to expand its roster of guests more than it typically could at the in-person festival, adding that it’s much easier for a bigger celebrity to commit to an hour online in front of their home computer than making a four- or five-day trek to Telluride.
“We’re talking with a lot of guests in that range, so I think we’re going to have a lot of fun people show up and just help us keep the spirit alive this year,” he said. “So, yeah, there are some silver linings to all this.”