DeKALB – If you have an appetite for gore with a side of bugs, try out the Indie Horror Film Fest as it makes its return to DeKalb this weekend.
More than 60 independently made horror films will be screened at the festival from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Red Roof Inn & Suites, 1212 W. Lincoln Highway. Admission is $20 and guests are able to come and go throughout the day.
Festival director Willy Adkins, who’s been running the event since 2010, said he’s had a hard time in the past getting an audience in DeKalb, but he wants to try again after taking the festival to Peoria and as far away as Tennessee.
“I keep trying to do it anyway because I know that with the closing of a lot of these music venues, we need some kind of entertainment in this town beyond going to bars and drinking,” Adkins said. “It would fuel the local economy by people coming to festivals and eating at local establishments and staying at hotels.”
Adkins said he receives around 700 submissions from around the world for the annual festival. Every year, he narrows the selections down to about 60 films.
The number of people who reach out to him to be featured in the festival speaks volumes about the state of horror as a genre, Adkins said.
“Horror has more films than any other genre and is more popular on an individual level than anything else,” he said. “People love to make them, watch them and laugh at them sometimes.”
He said the Indie Horror Film Festival draws larger audiences than everything else he directs, including comedy and general film festivals, among other events.
“While a lot of dramatic stuff happens in the world, [horror] allows you to escape,” Adkins said. “Our society is kind of fascinated by graphic things.”
The best of the 60 films are then nominated to different categories, such as “Best Feature” and “Best Short,” and are reviewed by a panel of judges. The winners and nominees gain notoriety from their success in the festival, which goes a long way for filmmakers with small budgets, Adkins said.
“Some films are made with $20 or no money at all and there are other films made with multimillion-dollar budgets,” he said. “It depends on how creative you can be with a little bit of nothing.”
Titles such as “No Way Out,” “Paralysis” and “Bugs: A Trilogy” will be featured Saturday.
“No Way Out” features survivors of a civilization-ending disaster as they make their way through an irradiated wasteland while experiencing nightmarish visions.
“Paralysis” follows Shin, a woman caught between dreams and reality. She tries to cope with everyday responsibilities, not being sure if what she sees is real or not.
“Bugs: A Trilogy” ties together three stories: a babysitter taking care of a clever and violent child, a patient who mistrusts the doctor’s orders and a young woman haunted by an evil presence. What brings them all together? Bugs.
Expanding the festival
Adkins said he is a one-man juggling show, and would like to recruit some local talent to help him direct future festivals. He said he wants to create a planning committee and fill it with people who are idea generators.
“It’s a volunteer position, but the focus is trying to build the audience and build entertainment to bring people into town,” Adkins said.
The next event Adkins is planning in DeKalb will be a first. Dark Arts and Oddities Con is planned for Nov. 23 and 24 at Red Roof Inn & Suites, 1212 W. Lincoln Highway.
“It’s like Black Friday for people who love Halloween and creepy decorations and weird antiques,” Adkins said.