Chicago Horror Film Festival

2019 Festival Dates

SEPTEMBER 28-29 2019


500 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654

Our 2018 Venue

Red Roof Inn
1212 W Lincoln Hwy
Dekalb, IL 60115

Our 2018 Venue

Red Roof Inn
1212 W Lincoln Hwy
Dekalb, IL 60115

Submit Your Film!

About Us

The Chicago Horror Film Festival

The Chicago Horror Film Festival has become a Chicago institution. With a past that started with the historic 3 Penny Cinema and a future continuing to grow with moving on to new and better venues. What has once started with a simple one-day festival to showcase Short Independent Horror films has now become a festival for both feature and short horror films and to be known for seeing many of it’s featured films picked up for distribution.

The CHFF first premiered on June 1st of 2003 with a line up of 22 short films that played over one night. It played at the 3 Penny Cinema from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. and had for it’s biggest draw, it’s Bloody Mary’s that were served at a discount.

For our second festival, we added to our line up two feature films and a new hostress, Mistress Xena. Having our new hostess to the festival, and our innovative way of having her video introduce each of the films made us stand out in the October of 2003.

The next evolution of the CHFF was with our third festival which took place in the April of 2004. We had our first special guest, Ari Lehman, of the Friday the 13th movie. It opened the door for us to have future guests and gave us a new platform to explore.

It was in our fourth festival that we expanded the amount of guests that we had as well as started a new exhibit that we entitled, “Experience the Horror”. For guests, we brought back Ari Lehman as well as “Bubba Ho-Tep” star, Chuck Williams. “Experience the Horror” was set up as a way for fans to visit the film festival and have special effects make-up applied as though they themselves were in a horror film. The make-up effects were done by the amazing artist, Kristoffer Neumann (El Perdido, The Thirsting).

In our fifth festival, we introduced awards to give credit to the many great films that we have had in our festival and as a way to identify the films that brought the most quality, entertainment and raw talent to the screen.

With our sixth festival, we brought back Kristoffer Neumann for “Experience the Horror”, we brought back Ari Lehman, we had our best line up of films to date, and new to the mix, we brought in Ron Fitzgerald as a guest and a performer. Ron Fitzgerald, hailed for his gothic magic performances, dazzled the CHFF audience with his show and allured them as a guest. In addition, we brought in a new great hostess, “Enidora.”

For seventh festival, we moved into the Portage Theater. A historic Chicago theater with a larger capacity, and a large lobby, allowing us to do a larger event. We brought in more guests, vendors, bands, another breathtaking performance by Ron Fitzgerald and much more!. We also introduced a new hostess, Pearls Mahone of Fangoria fame, We also introduced the first performance of gothic metal band DiAmorte featuring vampire theatrics during the live stage performance! And capped the weekend with musical performances by The Wanderers, and the Devilocks.

For our eight festival, we had guests Reggie Bannister, Edwin Neal, and returning, Ron Fitzgerald. We also had a special appearance by Stuart Gordon who dropped by to check out a couple of films. Mr. Willy Adkins who had performed as the drummer for “DiAmorte” at our seventh festival joined our production team and helped us introduce our new Ladies of Horror competition which was a big success and also brought to life our Music of Horror competition. Salome Slaughter (Suicide Girls) won our Ladies of Horror competition making her the official hostess of the festival! Two very energetic and young groups from Chicagoland known as Setonas and Cripple Ewe won the Music of Horror Competition and gave amazing life performances on the Historic Portage stage. Our event was sponsored by A&E’s Paranormal State, and we premiered a very special sneak peak at what was their new upcoming show. Our eight festival also marked the Warner Brother Premiere for Jeff Thomas’ “Fallen Angels”.

For our ninth film festival, we had very special guests Svengoolie, Tiffany Shepis, John Everson, Ron Fitzgerald, and the weekend was hosted by CHFF’s very own Karen Kenzie. It was an excellent show with our best films to date and many great events running all weekend long. We had our “I want to hear you scream” contest, a Zombie Pin Up Contest, an FX Fashion Show sponsored by Deviant Desires Photography!. It was loads of fun (and blood) for filmmakers and fans alike.

When the Theater opened its doors In 2009 a top hat shaped shadow reflected off the white projection screen as a deep dark voice erupted, “Its Friday evening folks. Do you know where your daughters at? She’s swimming in blood at The Historic Portage Theater for the 10th Annual Chicago Horror Film Festival!” Mr. Willy hosted a great weekend of screens, blood and horror! Chicago’s own industrial metal sensation “Marazene” was the Music of Horror featured performance. Zombie Pin Ups with Master Ron Fitzgerald along with Kitty Zombie were a flesh driven hit! Awesome FX make up artists displayed their trade in a bloody art show on stage and Geo’s Dollfaced Horrors looked so cute with a threat of a bite! Our tenth-anniversary bash was one never to forget!

In September 2010 we kicked off season 11 of the Chicago Horror Film Fest at the Portage with master illusionist and horror fest legend, Ron Fitzgerald hosting! It was a great weekend of Blood, Babes, Booze and ZOMBIES!! We introduced our first ever Zombie Walk! Thats right, nearly a hundred Zombies walked the mean streets of Chicago to eventually find lots of brains and blood at the theater!

In 2011, actress Heather Dorff hosted a great event and Spook Show Entertainment took on the show!  We were joined by special guest celebrity Dominique Swain!  We kicked off our now annual Chicago Music of Horror festival to run after hours during the CHFF weekend!

And finally with our 13th season is upon us as we return again this September to the Portage Theater for The 2012 Chicago Horror Film Festival! What creatures and craziness do you think will lurk about? The darkness of a new age is upon us, so we soon will find out!

More Updates Coming Soon!



$25 / DAY