Another year, another Panics Fest.

The ever-expanding and always entertaining genre festival returns with more horror than your eyes can contain. Short films, feature films, panels, Q&As, and more will be on display in a unique hybrid event that kicks off today, April 8th.

If you haven’t bought a pass already, now is the time. And if you need any help deciding on what to jump into first, here are 5 of my top recommendations:

Strange cravings and hallucinations befall a young couple after seeking shelter in the home of an aging farmer and her peculiar son.

Devereux Milburn’s feature debut has been touring the festival circuit and building buzz for a while now–but I suppose that’s bound to happen when you have Steven Spielberg’s son cast as the lead. Panic Fest looks to be one of its final stops before releasing on April 13th.

Honeydew screens at Panic Film Fest 2021 online on April 10th at 5:00 pm CDT.

Joel, a caustic 1980s film critic for a national horror magazine, finds himself unwittingly trapped in a self-help group for serial killers. With no other choice, Joel attempts to blend in or risk becoming the next victim.

Vicious Fun could every well be my favorite festival flick of 2020. Now, as it makes its victory lap around the festival circuit, the team at Black Fawn Films is bringing their standout horror comedy to Panic Fest–and you’ve gotta check it out.

Vicious Fun makes its Panic Film Fest 2021 online premiere on April 11th at 6:15 pm CDT

A dark social satire inspired by the real life conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. An amateur journalist and a far-right militiaman team up to expose the ugly truth behind rumors involving sex cults, a pizza place and the lizard people.

I hadn’t heard of Duncan prior to looking over the festival schedule, but with a premise like this, how could I not be interested? My love of horror movies and making fun of idiotic conspiracy theories finally collide!

Duncan screens at Panic Film Fest 2021 on April 8th at 9:00 pm CDT.

Two mysterious siblings find themselves at odds over care for their frail and sickly younger brother.

With a title that sounds like one of the greatest emo songs ever written, My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To instantly won me over–even though I have practically no idea what to expect. Little is known other than the, rather general, plot synopsis provided, but the still image looks every bit as moody as the title. I can’t wait.

My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To screens at Panic Film Fest 2021 online on April 11th at 1:30 pm CDT.

Cristina, a journalist of Mexican origin, travels to her ancestral home in Veracruz to investigate a story of sorcery and healing. There, she is kidnapped by a group of locals who claim she’s the devil incarnated.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but it looks like The Old Ways might be trying to make torture films happen again–and I’m all about it! Regardless of how this one plays out, I can never get enough of a dark, bleak, and violent tale of survival–or, you know… not surviving.

The Old Ways screens at Panic Film Fest 2021 online on April 17th at 7:00 pm CDT.

Panic Fest has truly become one of the best showcases for independent horror in the country, and this year is no different. These are just 5 of the films I’m looking forward to, but there are many more feature films, short films, live events, and more to explore.

Panic Film Fest runs virtually and in person from April 8 through April 18th, 2021. More information can be found at