Why Horror?


 “Why horror? Don’t we already have enough of it, too much even, in the so-called real life? It’s in our daily newspapers: in the crime section, in economics, in politics… in obituaries. Do we really need more fear – in movies?! ”

That’s how laymen think. Horror amateurs. Those who close their eyes to horror, run away from it, or at least think they can run away from it, turning their backs on it while embracing romantic comedies, dramas, thrillers, science fiction. They do not know that it is most dangerous to turn your back on horror.

No, one needs to keep an eye on the so-called ‘real life horror’.

Face it. Fight it. Exorcise it. Or, if it proves impossible, find some modality of “coexistence” with it. But only after you recognize it – and get to know it.

Horror movies can be a way to do that. Good, artistic horror films are not escapist: they are a form of opening our eyes to the horrors of our existence, not only social, but also psychological, spiritual, metaphysical.

“Slaughter: The Art Horror Film Festival” is an attempt to separate the horror films of confrontation from the horror films of escapism and show them to an audience which would not otherwise be aware of them, because they would pass under the radar, overshadowed by those horrors which are louder and more prominent in the entertainment market.

Come to the slaughterhouse – not to celebrate blood, evil and death, but, on the contrary, life. Come to a place soaked in death, transformed into a place of life. Help our attempt to revive something dead so that it is not a futile experiment doomed for ruin and nothingness, but the beginning of something really new and valuable.

Open your eyes to horror, indulge in it, relax, have fun and receive it like a vaccine, in small, safe doses, in controlled conditions, in order to develop immunity to the Horror which awaits you outside the gates of this Slaughterhouse. 

Dejan Ognjanović,

program director of Slaughter Fest


2551.01: The Kid (Austria, 2021)

Director: Norbert Pfaffenbichler

65 min


A man rescues a boy from violence and they end up drifting around a horrifying subterranean world populated by grotesque masked figures.

An experimental punk-style re-interpretation of Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) in a style reminiscent of David Lynch’s Eraserhead, which the filmmaker himself has defined as a „dystopian slapstick film“. It won the New Visions Award (Special Mention) at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival.



Agatha (2022)

Directors: Roland Becerra and Kelly Bigelow Becerra

60 min


The Professor suffers from a terminal disease. By a twist of fate he 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.

A moody, mysterious, claustrophobic, visually stunning mixture of live action and animation. It has its world premiere at the Slaughter Fest!



Censor (2021)

Director: Prano Bailey-Bond

84 min


After viewing a strangely familiar „video nasty“ horror, Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister's disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality.

Surreal psycho-thriller set in the 1980s UK. Winner of awards at Imagine Film Festival, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival.



Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes (2021)

Director: Kevin Kopacka

73 min


Having just inherited a run-down castle, a dispirited woman and her ill-tempered husband decide to spend the night, as time and reality slowly start to shift around them.

A love letter to European horror cinema of the sixties and seventies. Things aren’t what they seem in this genre-bending film. Winner of „Best Film“ awards at FrightFest, Rojo Sangre, Dracula Film Festival, etc.



The Door Lock (2021)

Director: Orkenbek Baysenbay

105 min


Beautiful young girl Fang lives alone in a modern city. Someone violently pulls her door lock one night, and the security tells later that the monitor of her floor does no work. Fang is vaguely aware that someone has sneaked in her apartment.

Suspensful horror-thriller about urban paranoia, inspired by the Spanish film Sleep Tight (2011).



I Hear the Trees Whispering

Director: József Gallai

77 min


Running from his tormented past, a man takes a job in the middle of the woods, only to find his quiet life shattered when it soon turns out nothing around him is what it seems.

A creepy, moody, atmospheric film, winner of awards at DRUK International Film Festival, High Tatras Film & Video Festival, IndieFEST Film Award, Paradise Film Festival, Vegas Movie Awards.



Junglemahal: The Awakening (2021)

Director: Arunava Chowdhury

127 min


In the monsoon of 1985, a group of travelers pass through the eastern range rain forests of India to reach the rescue camp. Due to unforeseen circumstances they are forced to spend the night in the old abandoned house filled with dark secrets from the past.

Atmospheric old-school haunted house horror – from India.



A Masque of Madness (Austria, 2013)

Director: Norbert Pfaffenbichler

80 min


In this feature length experimental found footage film the british actor Boris Karloff embodies approximately 170 different characters. An acting career spanning 50 years (1919 - 1969) is compressed into one mindfucking movie. The protagonist experiences a schizophrenic horror trip in which he faces only versions of himself in different masks, at different ages, of different genders and races.



A Messenger from the Shadows (Austria, 2013)

Director: Norbert Pfaffenbichler

60 min


Experimental found footage homage to the silent horror film icon Lon Chaney. Norbert Pfaffenbichler has remounted the 46 preserved films of the 200 that Chaney had made into a tribute to Chaney's art, to the uncanny power of the horror film and to the paradoxical enchantment of cinema.



Possessor (2021)

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

103 min


A female agent works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people's bodies – ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients. Troubles begin when she is unable to leave the possessed body.

A very brutal and bloody SF-horror thriller. Winner of many awards at Gérardmer Film Festival, Monster Fest and Sitges.



Seance (2021)

Director: Simon Barrett

92 min


At the prestigious Fairfield Academy, an elite boarding school for girls, six friends jokingly engage in a late night ritual, summoning the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. Before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened.

The writer of You’re Next and The Guest and director of segments in VHS 2 and VHS 1994, debuts with his first full length feature. „Like his previous works, it has quite a few twists and turns along the way, and although seasoned horror viewers won’t have much difficulty guessing most of them, there’s still a good bit of fun to be had“ („Eye for Film“).



The Timekeepers of Eternity (2021)

Director: Aristotelis Maragkos

64 min


Mr Toomey obsessively tears paper to control his childhood monsters, but when he wakes mid-flight to Boston to find most of the other passengers disappeared, he must confront the paper nightmare which threatens to rip apart the very fabric of reality.

A classic Stephen King miniseries The Langoliers (1995) is re-envisioned in this radical collage animation experiment created by laboriously printing the frames from the  miniseries, re-editing and combining them using paper collage techniques and animation. Winner (Special Mention) at Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema.



The She-Butterfly (Serbia, 1973)

Director: Djordje Kadijevic

64 min

A vampire attacks millers in a remote Serbian village in the 19th century. Young Strahinja, together with the villagers, tries to find and destroy the vampire before the village dies of starvation.

The first Yugoslav / Serbian horror film, although made for TV, is also one of the most terrifying: a cult-film embodiment of a horrible creature from Serbian folklore, but with an authentic authorial, artistic upgrade of our great director. This is a newly remastered version of the film.



The Best Serbian Short Horror Films (1)

about 75 min

A selection of the best Serbian horror shorts made between 1990 and 2016, from the Festival of Serbian Fantastic Film.



The Best Serbian Short Horror Films (2)

about 75 min

A selection of the best Serbian horror shorts made between 1990 and 2016, from the Festival of Serbian Fantastic Film.

Special Guest of the Festival:

Norbert Pfaffenbichler (1967, Austria) has studied applied arts. He works as an artist and curator and is co-founder of Vidok Studio. He was involved with the Austrian abstract cinema which emerged in the 1990s. In 2002, he started working on his film series Notes on Film, in which he deconstructs film history from an artistic perspective.

Among his notable works are found-footage films which reimagine horror icons, Lon Chaney (A Messenger from the Shadows, 2013) and Boris Karloff (A Masque of Madness, 2013). Also, his nightmarish, dystopian film 2551.01: The Kid (2021) has been rightly compared to David Lynch’s horror film Eraserhead.

Jury President:

Alin Ludu Dumbravă is a Romanian film critic, curator and programmer, with 30 years of experience in all things Film and Pop Culture. He is also a screenwiter (feature film 03.ByPass, 2016). He ran the Cinemateque in his hometown, Brasov, from its opening in 2014, also the city's festivals Love Story and Doc and Roll. He was the programmer of Dracula Film Festival Brașov (from 2013), editions 1 4 and Artistic Director of Dracula Film Festival Brașov, editions 5 7. He covered international festivals, including Cannes and Grossmann, was a member of International juries, inland and abroad. He is a member of UCIN (Uniunea Cineastilor), Romanian Filmmakers Guild.


"Half a Century of The She-Butterfly: Horror in Serbian Cinema"

Saturday, July 2nd,

Niš, „Deli“ (near the Synagogue)


Expert discussion of the potentials for quality horror in Serbian cinema and of the achievements so far in that field in the films of Kadijević, Marković, Šijan, but also of newer authors such as Zečević, Đorđević, Spasojević.



1. Jovan Ristić, director of the Festival of Serbian Fantastic Film and co-author of the book Lost Worlds of Serbian Fantasy Film.

2. Dr. Marko Pišev, writer and lecturer from the Ethnology and Anthropology department at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.

3. Moderator: Dr. Dejan Ognjanović, program director of Slaughter Fest and author of the book In the Hills, the Horrors: Serbian Horror Cinema (NKC, 2007). 


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