If the lineup at Popcorn Frights Film Festival is any indication, the future of horror movies is female.
Of the 73 shorts and feature-length films screening Aug. 8-16 at Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale, 12 are directed by women. That’s a rarity in the male-dominated realm of horror, where slasher flicks and gory thrillers usually show hyper-masculine villains chasing frightened women with knives and other sharp tools of doom.
But female-centric horror movies directed by women are rapidly rising in mainstream Hollywood. (For a strong dose of nightmare fuel, watch “The Babadook” and “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.”) At Popcorn Frights, female directors will debut films heavy on celebrity star power, including Milla Jovovich and Kyra Sedgwick, Emma Roberts and Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Bill Skarsgård (“It”) and the late Rutger Hauer (“Blade Runner”).
Here are the Popcorn Frights films promising the biggest summer scares in August.
Which films should be on my radar?
The fifth-annual festival boasts many, including 10 world premieres from 16 countries, with over-the-top plots that involve everything from punk feminist vampires to terrifying killer spiders.
“Haunt” (9:15 p.m. Aug. 8): The opening-night premiere at Popcorn Frights, this horror-thriller from Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (the two writers behind 2018 box-office hit “A Quiet Place”) follows friends on Halloween who encounter a haunted house that feeds on their darkest fears.
“Infección” (5:15 p.m. Aug. 11): Social satire meets the undead in this zombie thriller, which imagines a viral epidemic in politically divided Venezuela.
“Paradise Hills” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 14): Emma Roberts, Awkwafina and Milla Jovovich star in director Alice Waddington’s dystopian costume fantasy about women held against their will at a prisonlike finishing school.
“The Gravedigger” (9:30 p.m. Aug. 15): Earlier this spring, Fort Lauderdale director Erynn Dalton staged a full-blown play of the same name at Infinite Abyss Productions, her theater company in Wilton Manors. Over the summer, she turned it into a feature-length movie about a gravedigger who discovers Frankenstein’s monster hiding in a cemetery.
“BIT” (10 p.m. Aug. 16): This festival closer from director Brad Michael Elmore focuses on a transgender teen who joins a mysterious group of punk feminist vampires prowling the streets for predatory men.
How much are tickets?
The Popcorn Frights Film Festival will take place Aug. 8-16 at Savor Cinema, 503 SE Sixth St., in Fort Lauderdale. Admission costs $12 per screening, $99 for a festival pass and $169 for couples. Call 954-525-3456 or go to PopcornFrights.com.