I have to be honest: I’m terrified of horror movies. Not in a “yeah, silly, it’s a scary movie”–type of way; mine’s a chilled-to-the-bone, I’ll-have-nightmares-for-weeks fear. So perhaps I’m not the best person to talk up a film festival devoted to “classic and contemporary independent horror cinema.” But even I see why the inaugural Stanley Film Festival would appeal to scary movie buffs—after all, you get to screen spine-tingling flicks in Colorado’s most popular haunted setting.

From May 2–5, the Estes Park locale will host showings of 22 shorts, 21 features, and a handful of student-made films, as well as opening and closing night parties, a whiskey tasting, and more. Trying to plan your schedule? Here are three events you can’t miss:

—Producer/director and horror icon Eli Roth will be in attendance to receive the first SFF Visionary Award and to present his first film, cult classic Cabin Fever, and his newest, Aftershock.

—”The Pumpkin Pie Show” is described as “part ghost story-telling session, part boxing match, part shamanistic ritual.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it’s certainly intriguing. Plus, it’s been taking place for 20+ years, so author Clay McLeod Chapman must know what he’s doing.

—On Sunday, a screening of silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari will be paired with a live piano score as was originally intended. The afternoon event will start with a showing of Haunted Castle, the first horror movie ever made.

Overnight: The Stanley Hotel is offering two special packages for guests attending the fest. The Stanley Spring Offer extends discounted rates for those staying two or more nights, while the paranormal obsessed can check out the Ghost Adventure Package; details here.

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.