The Highlands Horror Film Fest Celebrates its 5th Season of Global Frights and Jersey Grown Horror at the Famed SModcastle Cinemas October 7th and 8th!

Offering several premieres, three acclaimed horror features, and a vast programming slate of student and New Jersey horror shorts, the Highlands Horror Film Fest returns to the Jersey Shore to celebrate its fifth season. A rising horror genre film festival that has been the home for award winning horror short films, animation, documentaries, student films, and features, the Highlands Horror Film Fest will present this year’s frightfest at one of the pillars for indie horror filmmaking, Kevin Smith’s famed SModcastle Cinemas in Atlantic Highlands, NJ October 7th & 8th! Passes are available at

During the first four years, the Highland Horror Film Fest has presented some of the best modern and award winning genre films to those who dare to head to the Jersey Shore after beach season. Entertaining as much as challenging the #HHFF23 viewer, the festival has featured award winning films like the documentary The History of Metal and Horror, The Andy Baker Tape, Dark Tales from Channel X, For Roger, and One Must Fall.

“The Highlands Horror Film Fest was a kick-a** experience. It’s clear the entire team are super passionate about independent film and giving filmmakers a great platform. Rob, Jay, and everyone involved hosted a great event… with great films… and an all around great vibe. Do yourself a favor and submit here…. we had an enthusiastic crowd turn up for a packed screening of The Andy Baker Tape and we were lucky enough to walk away with the COOLEST film festival trophy ever conceived.” – Filmmaker Bret Lada “The Andy Baker Tape”

A welcoming home for global horror and student filmmakers, festival founder/Festival Director Rob Kneller and Assistant Festival Director/ Programmer Jay Kay are growing the two days of frights October 7th and 8th into a must for the fans of the Halloween season in and out of the Garden State!

“I am so proud to see a grassroots horror festival continue to grow in such a beautiful part of the Jersey Shore like the Highlands… There is something special going on here for horror fans and the pure love that Rob shows for the horror genre! As both an alum and now board member, I have already seen the growth and excitement that each edition brings in for the fans and filmmakers. No matter the nightmare screening, Rob has something special here and the 2023 edition will be the best yet, with us presenting part of the program at Kevin Smith’s Smodcastle Cinema!” – Jay Kay.

The two day festival will feature a total of 21 selections on Saturday (2:30 & 7:30 PM) and Sunday (3:00 PM). #HHFF23 will showcase a spectrum of frights including the U.K. horror anthology Lore starring Richard Brake (Rob Zombie’s 31). The practical FX creature feature, Mind Leech and the home invasion thriller Model House featuring Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie’s Halloween). The three film blocks will showcase a total of 18 short films from five different countries including award winners (Greed & Gore and Party’s Over) and festival favorites (Part-Time, Three Baths, and Escalation). As always, #HHFF23 brings the future of horror filmmaking to the SModcastle Cinemas with a range of local and student films including entries from a middle school film program at Robert Treat Academy Charter School in Newark, New Jersey (Not Your Business), The Pennington School in New Jersey (high school), and the Miami Dade College School of Entertainment (university).

The two day festival will have in-depth Q&As, guests, networking, and screenings in the scenes. Town of Atlantic Highlands, NJ!, PLUS the infamous “skull and serpent” award that have had filmmakers howling! You can purchase passes for VIP, individual, and/or all of three film blocks at! Come out October 7th and 8th to support indie horror and have a howling good time at the Highlands Horror Film Fest!!!

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