Horrible Imaginings Film Fest

This was the official website for Horrible Imaginings, which celebrated horror and its various sub-genres by showcasing new and independent artists, as well as reviving classic horror films.

Horrible Imaginings was created to accommodate the lack of events in the city of San Diego that celebrate the horror genre.

Content is from the site's 2010 - 2013 archived pages.

The festival is still running strong. Go to their current website to get all the most up to date information: http://www.hifilmfest.com/


10th Avenue Theatre & Arts Centre
930 10th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 443-834-3742

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival Mission Statement:

It is our mission to celebrate horror and its various sub-genres by showcasing new and independent artists, as well as reviving classic horror films in San Diego, California. From psychological thrillers to supernatural horror to slashers and even to related genres like noir, horror's power lies in its inherent ability to take our fears and exploit them--helping us either to face them, or just to appease our dark sides. The proliferation of horror sub-genres in the arts is testament to the creative power behind/within this dark domain.


Horrible Imaginings was created to accommodate the lack of events in the city of San Diego that celebrate the horror genre. After finding a home at the 10th Avenue Theatre and Arts Centre in the developing part of eastern downtown San Diego, the “First Film Festival in San Diego Dedicated to Macabre Cinema and Art” launched with great success on November 6, 2010. The maiden revival films were Michael Powell’s psychological thriller Peeping Tom and Lucio Fulci’s classic avant garde shocker The Beyond.


Horrible Imaginings Film Festival / Published on Sep 12, 2012
On October 1st and 2nd, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is joining forces with UCSD's ArtPower! Film to bring an exploration of horror in art and cinema to UCSD campus. How does the presentation of fear evolve, and how does it reflect the particular fears of society at a particular point in time? These ideas will be explored over two different evenings!


Following the success of the first Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, the festival director decided to start a quarterly film series, reviving Lewis Jackson’s Christmas Evil in December with an introduction by Lewis Jackson himself, James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein in February of 2011, and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead during the Gam3rCon event in July.

With the dual mission of reviving classic horrible films, combined with giving the screen to up and coming new film makers, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival promises to be a new force in San Diego that is here to stay. As one audience member put it—“San Diego is too sunny! We need some darkness!”


Donna Livak Comments: What a great film festival. I was invited by my neighbors to attend just after I had settled in from a move from east coast the previous week. I had just met them after a dramatic introduction in which many tears were shed as a result of their misfortune. They were raising money for a child care business they were planning. But one day, a search for the business name revealed a startling and terrible result right on Google's first page. It was a news item about a cocaine bust several years ago in which the husband's step sister was convicted and sent to prison. But the content included his name and it appeared as if he were involved, when in fact he was just in the house at the time. They could not get the publisher to remove the content because the story was true. Google could not be contacted. This was the disaster that triggered the tears. Since I had worked for a search engine optimizing company, I knew people who could possibly help. One person in particular specialized in search results removals - he did this by optimizing harmless content to outrank the damaging results. And he offered to help at no cost as a payback for the time I rebuilt his website after his host went bankrupt and disappeared with all the files and data. So my neighbors now love me and they have taken me "under their wings" and showed me all the best restaurants and bars, where to shop for groceries, etc. And then when they learned that I loved horror films, invited me to the Horrible Imaginings film festival. What a welcome to San Diego! Update: Still living in San Diego and still attending Horrible Imaginings.



Submission Instructions

(2013 Deadline: August 31)

For our fourth year now, Horrible Imaginings has remained true to our mission of providing  independent filmmakers with a showcase venue by eliminating the burden of the submission fee. The submission process has been likewise pared down. 

The easiest and cheapest way for you to submit would be to email the password to a digital upload of your film on a website such as VIMEO. I prefer that as a submission technique because I don't want my filmmakers to have to spend any money to submit--including the shipping of a DVD. All submissions are encrypted by a 2-step verification system to ensure the protection of your product. Email digital submissions to miguel@hifilmfest.com with "Horrible Imaginings Submission" in the subject line. I also accept digital submissions via Dropbox or file transfer services such as Yousendit.com or WEtransfer.info.

If digital submission is not possible. You can send two DVD copies (for backup) to: 

Miguel Rodriguez
c/o Horrible Imaginings Film Festival
1826 La Corta St
Lemon Grove, CA 91945

NTSC format only. Please include the following information on all submissions (digital or otherwise):

Film title
Running Time
Country of Origin
Website or IMDB address

Inclusion in the program is not guaranteed. Your film will be watched and seriously considered. I will make all efforts to keep in touch with filmmakers during the programming process. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Feel free to email miguel@hifilmfest.com with any questions you may have!



Horrible Imaginings Blog

Posted by MiguelDR

ArtPower! Film and Horrible Imaginings Present: Two Nights of Horror at UCSD!

Coming October 1st and 2nd to Price Center Theater on UCSD Campus!

A closer look at horror!

In a scholarly essay entitled Supernatural Horror in Literature, early 20th century horror author HP Lovecraft opens by stating “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. . .” It is an interesting claim that he says “few psychologists will dispute,” and his adhering to that philosophy has helped make him one of the most influential contemporary authors of what was once termed “weird fiction,” inspiring people from Joyce Carol Oates to Stephen King to Neil Gaiman. A survey of art, literature, and, more contemporarily, film would suggest that Lovecraft was onto something when claiming fear is the strongest and more enduring emotion of the human condition.

Horror, often demonized as base, exploitative, or pernicious, is fertile ground for the exploration of fear. Many people’s discomfort with the genre can be seen as a sign of its potency as a mirror to our dark sides. It is also notable that it is appealing and lucrative ground for attracting a large audience. In the world of film, horror was one of the first genres to be adapted to that new and mystifying medium. Thomas Edison himself is responsible for a version of Frankenstein as far back as 1910. Since that time, it has ever been a staple in filmmaking.

This October, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is joining forces with UCSD’s ArtPower! Film to bring an exploration of horror in art and cinema to UCSD campus. How does the presentation of fear evolve, and how does it reflect the particular fears of society at a particular point in time? These ideas will be explored over two different evenings!

Note: This event is IN ADDITION to the main Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, which will take place on November 10th and 11th! So much scariness, so little time! 

October 1st Program (starting 8pm): 

  • The Haunted House (1908) by Segundo de Chomon
  • Un Chien Andalou (1929) by Luis Bunuel
  • Skeleton Frolic (1937) by UB Iwerks
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) by Don Siegel

October 2nd Program (starting 8pm): 

  • Katasumi (1998) by Takashi Shimizu
  • Treevenge (2008) by Jason Eisener
  • Martin (1976) by George A. Romero





Best of Horrible Imaginings 2012: Judge’s Picks!

November 14, 2012  Posted by MIGUELDR

It is finally time to announce the favorites from my panel of judges. I chose the panel because of their expertise in film, particularly horror and cult film, and their experience with writing about film. The panel includes film vendors, the creators of a film forum, and an important San Diego professional film critic. As was mentioned in my last announcement, I was happy to curate every film that was projected at Horrible Imaginings. They were chosen out of many, many submissions, and they should all be proud!

Now, I am pleased with the time and thought the judges put into their choices. There were so many short films that they had their work cut out for them! But enough talk. Let's see who won!

There was a lot of back and forth over two of the short films--Rebekah McKendry's The Dumpand Vinciane Millereau's Barbie Girls. In the end, it is The Dump that gets the trophy, due to it's consistent watchability, comic timing, and charm. It certainly had one of the most raucous and joyful audience reactions almost the entirety of the way through the film! Congratulations to Rebekah McKendry and her cast and crew! 

The best feature award goes to Michal Kosakowski's darkly introspective documentary Zero Killed. One judge praised its originality in blending candid discussion interspersed with short films. It was also praised for it's bravery in looking at darkness head on without being sensationalistic about it. It was also noted that the short films in the documentary, many of them made by non-filmmakers, were extremely real and effective. This was probably due to their unique level of sincerity. Congratulations to Michal Kosakowski on winning the trophy for this 16-year project!

The judges also requested that I list other short films that made their job much harder. These were their stand-out choices:

Barbie Girls


Employe du Mois

Midnight Daisy

SMUSH! A Deadheads Short

Desert Roadkill

Hell's Belles

Attack of the Hadedas (music video)

Bariku Light

Escape from Hellview



Ghosts of the 10th Avenue Theatre

As of this writing, three spirits are known to reside at the 10th Avenue Theatre and Arts Centre at 930 10th Avenue in downtown San Diego. A fourth is suspected due to interesting and unexplained early morning activity that occurred in the first floor theatre.

To know the ghosts at The 10th Avenue Theatre, one must have some knowledge of the history of the site. The First Baptist Church was the original owner of the building. Since the 1800's, the First Baptist faithful worshipped in the large church next door (south) to the building that now holds the 10th Avenue Theatre and Arts Centre.

In the mid-1920's, a generous member of the congregation donated money so that the church could build a chapel. The benefactor's intent was to provide a 24 hour place of worship for the military personnel of San Diego. The thought was that if sailors arrived in port at three in the morning, they should be able to come to a house of worship for comfort, prayer and motivation. The chapel was a way for the First Baptist Church to achieve this goal without the need to open the large sanctuary in the main building.

And so, in 1928, the church opened the doors of the chapel and realized the dream of the generous member of the congregation. The building not only became that place of solitude for our military arriving home from a long stint at sea, but it also became a building utilized by a variety of service groups and youth groups such as the boys scouts and youth clubs sponsored by the First Baptists.

Now that there is somewhat of a back story of the site, the history of the ghosts of the 10th Avenue Theatre makes some sense.


During World War II, a Navy doctor had a special tradition. Upon returning to the United States (after his trips to the Pacific Theater) he would go to a nearby church and pray for the men he treated, but could not save. One particular soldier had suffered a gruesome chest wound. The doctor desperately worked to save the man's life to no avail. The doctor was cupping the soldier’s heart when he felt the heart give its final beat. The doctor simultaneously felt some odd sensation throughout his body. He just chalked it up to the stresses of a battle field hospital.

When the doctor returned to port in San Diego he set out to fulfill his solemn tradition of praying for the souls of his fallen comrades. He did this at the chapel of the First Baptist church. He gave church officials the following account. He reported that he entered the sanctuary and sat down in a pew at the back row. He knelt to pray and was suddenly rocked backwards against the pew. As he gazed to the ceiling with his eyes and mouth wide open, he felt that same odd sensation that he experienced back at the field hospital on Okinawa. A church official found him slumped to the floor and unconscious where he had been kneeling. It seems as though the spirit of the British Lieutenant had entered the doctor's body back in that hospital and was now free and had taken up residence at 930 10th Avenue.

Following this doctor’s visit to the chapel, the eerie echo of a British officer’s voice has been heard throughout the building. At times, it sounds like the officer is barking out orders as if in battle. Other times, the voice seems to be keeping soldiers marching in unison with a staccato march cadence. He has even been heard singing pub songs as if celebrating the victory in the Pacific over Japan.

The Lieutenant has never been known to be frightful or mean. He seems to be content with his home in the building, but has known to get a little testy with those who have been heard speaking ill of subject matter related to the United Kingdom.


When the building was occupied by the First Baptist Church, the rooftop was used for a variety of outdoor activities. The church surrounded the roof deck with a chain link fence and installed chicken wire over the top of the court to keep any stray recreational equipment from falling to the streets below. The church youth took advantage of the great downtown playground for such games as basketball, badminton, volleyball, and shuffle board.

On one particularly hot day in October, a girl named Missy had had enough fun on the roof and wanted to go back downstairs to get out of the heat. The pastor supervising the handful of kids on the rooftop reassured Missy that right after the current basketball game ended the group would be going down to the social hall on the second floor for refreshments. Missy was a bit of a precocious child and didn’t feel comfortable with that time frame so she bolted for the staircase.

The pastor excused himself from his referee duties and asked one of the older kids to let the game play out and bring the kids downstairs. The Baptist pastor ran after Missy. In the stairwell, Missy had made it down the first flight of stairs. When she heard the pastor calling her name, she turned the episode into a game and yelled out to the pastor “Catch me if you can!” The pastor quickened his pace down the stairs and as he rounded the landing between the third and second floor, he heard the last words of Missy’s young life. All she was able to shout was “Catch me…” before the pastor heard a small shriek, then a series of dull thumps.

Missy’s body was found at the bottom of the stairs on the second floor, her head split open and leaking blood. The horror-stuck pastor scrambled down the stairs to the twisted body of the dead girl. He would never be the same.

Missy has been known to only roam the stairwell. The thought is that she is playing in that vertical playground for eternity. While traveling the building’s stairwell, a person might have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the little girl peering around the corner of a landing. She’s easy to recognize. She had mid-length dark hair with straight bangs across her forehead. She also sports a white head band. She’s wearing a green and white striped dress and will draw attention with her whimsical smile.


As mentioned, the pastor who ran after Missy never recovered from the idea that he had caused Missy’s death. After the tragic accident, he agonized over the fact that he should not have run after Missy, rather he should have just walked down the stairs to meet her. By running, Missy’s playful mind turned this moment in time into a game. And the memory that really tore at the pastor’s mind was the final utterance from Missy.

“Catch me…” echoed in the pastor’s brain, just as it had echoed off the smooth, plaster stairwell walls. The pastor would agonize over those two words twisting their meaning into Missy’s desperate call for him to catch her from falling to her death. Eventually the pain and guilt reached a level that was intolerable for the pastor.

On the morning of Monday, November 25, 1963, the church secretary unlocked the front door to the church and proceeded up the stairs to her mezzanine floor office. She was still thinking about the inspirational sermon the pastor had given the day before. He spoke beautifully about the need to be strong after the horrible assassination of President John F. Kennedy that had occurred on Friday. The secretary put down her purse and knocked on the pastor’s door. There was no response.

She walked back down to the first floor and entered the sanctuary and called out for the pastor. She noticed a dim light glowing from a cloak room on the side of the alter. Thinking that the pastor was organizing the choir robes from the day before, the secretary walked down the side aisle of the large chapel and called out to him. She entered the small room and uttered the pastor’s name again. Suddenly she recoiled in horror as she stared at the dead body of the pastor hanging from a storage loft access ladder. It is presumed that the pastor had gone to try and apologize to Missy for causing her premature death.

More research is pending on the existence of these three spirits at The 10th Avenue Theatre. As more information is gleaned from the building, we will be posting it at our website.




Meet the Women Filmmakers from Our Women in Horror Event!

FEBRUARY 10, 2012 Posted by MIGUELDR



L. Whyte is a masked vigilante and crime fighter whose mild-mannered alter-ego is an artist and animator based in Dundee, Scotland. When she isn't tackling the forces of evil she can occasionally be found teaching 2D animation at Dundee College, making short films, and writing mildly amusing but largely falsified biographies on application forms. Her stop motion animated short "Nursery Crimes" will screen at Horrible Imaginings's Women in Horror Event.

Gigi Romero, born in Venezuela, arrived in Spain in 2000 where she obtained a degree in media communication with a specialization in film direction. Since then, she's been working in the production area for various publicity and music videos shootings. In 2006 she directs her first short film "Smile" and in 2009 "Together" selected at festivals around the world. She is now working on the post production of her first Venezuelan short "Nada" ("Nothing"). She has also written and directed "Logico" ("Logical") and "Cosas que Pasan" ("Things that Happen"). Her last work "Se Acabo La Fiesta" (The Party is Over) was shot for an internet film festival, being one of the finalists. Gigi resides between Caracas and Madrid.

Since meeting in Nashville, TN at Watkins Film School and having a mutual love of horror, Mary Katherine Sisco and Doug Mallette have collaborated on nearly a dozen short films of questionable taste. Their film “Beatiful as you Are,” written, produced, and edited in 48 hours, with Mary Katherine as producer and Doug as director, has had the good fortune to travel festivals around the country and won the award for Best Storyline at the Viscera 2010 Premiere.

Paula Haifley attended Loyola Marymount University’s film program, where she was the only student to make a thesis film featuring a disemboweling. Her short film “Movie Monster Insurance” screened at the Viscera 2010 Premiere and has won acclaim at film festivals and from zombie lovers everywhere. Her addiction to horror started when, as a child, her teenaged cousins shower her Michael Jackson’s Thriller. They made her cover her eyes during the werewolf scenes, but she watched all the zombie parts and really liked them.

Jen Moss works as a successful music supervisor for a major record label but her true passion has always been film. Her first self-funded, no budget short, Dumped, was well received as an online showcase for her writing and directing potential. Jen has since undertaken several directing courses with renowned independent film school Raindance and is now ready to embrace the challenge of creating higher production value films. With her sophomore effort The Morning After starring UK pop star Kate Nash, Jen has had her film premiere at the Vue West End for the Frightfest All Nighter as well as win Best Film at the Rotoreliefs Halloween Short Film Showcase.


Lisa Coffelt, horror director and editor by nature, she also put together a cookbook called "Have A Heart For Horror". Born and raised in Kentucky, she ventured off to the big city of LA to continue her passion of filmmaking. Her newest release "Internal Thoughts" shares a much deeper and horrific side as it relates to her own personal experiences. This film was co-directed with her awesome accomplice, Cristyn "Crizzle" Wingood. Cristyn Wingood is a new-ish member of the Crimson Stained Lace family and has helped to produce a couple of films to date. But "Internal Thoughts" was her first deviation into co-directing. These ladies look forward to creating a lot more ghoulish films in the future.

Filmmaker Susan Bell loves scaring people. She's directed multiple short films, including THE PATCHWORK MONKEY, THE RESURRCTIONIST and THE BOARDER. Under the banner of Charon Pictures Inc., she is currently producing a project involving the Los Angeles Ghost Patrols reality TV pilot footage. In addition, for the past five years she has worked as a producer and project manager on several animated TV shows including the Emmy-winning ROBOT CHICKEN.

Born in 1982 in Castelo Branco (Portugal), Ana Almeida majored in Sound and Image at the School of Arts of the Oporto Catholic School. Academically, she directed the short film For Five Minutes It Was Impossible to Breathe, adaptation of a Stephen King horror story and produced Uma Quest„o de Sangue, a black comedy showed in the Fantasporto Film Festival. "A Noiva (The Bride)" was her first work as a director in an independent Project. She has worked extensively as a TV Editor and Chief of Production. In 2010, she created the film production Anexo 82 where she produced and edited two shorts films - O Risco (The Line) and Temperar a Gosto (Season at Taste). In 2011, she will return to the directors chair adapting her awarded script Videoclube.

As a young woman lost, but with a Bachelors Degree in Theater Arts, Ashleigh Nichols knew she had to get out of table waiting, so she started PAing. She then quickly realized that she needed to move up...and quickly. Through blood, sweat and yes, even tears she moved up. She has been Production Coordinating, Production Managing and even on the occasion, Producing. Her last film, The Last Lovecraft received distribution at Slamdance and is currently available on Netflix and in store. Realizing she had some creative juices flowing, she wrote/directed and produced "Summer of the Zombies" with her husband Eddie Beasley.

Johnna Troxell always liked horror movies and is self-taught in FX make-up. When her kids were young they always had their house decorated for Halloween, and always came up with crazy ideas making it the best house in the neighborhood. Troxell is still young to the film industry, getting her first taste of it in 2005. With no schooling or training, she and her husband jumped in with both feet, and it has been an uphill climb from there, but well worth it. Since then she has produced four shorts and one feature, with one feature in post-production. "Ambiguous Figure" was the first project that she wrote and directed without her husband, and she had a lot of fun doing it. Now she's back in school learning digital cinematography.

Melanie Light has been working professionally within the film industry since 2006. With a passion for horror, she has managed to keep herself within the realm of her favorite movies. She art directed the first Hammer Horror comeback Beyond the Rave.

Sonya Godwin is a South Korean born actress/writer/producer and San Diego local. She loves to incorporate humor in all her projects regardless of genre and if you can't laugh with her, you will definitely laugh at her. She wrote and produced "Candy Snatchers."

Reyna Young has been labeled by press as The Queen of Horror in the Bay Area. She was born and raised in San Francisco! She is currently working in independent horror as a director, producer, writer, model, actress, and horror host in her hometown.

Rebecca Lorenne has been directing and producing both films and theatre since she was a teenager. Originally from Chicago, she has a B.A. in Film/Video from Columbia College. Her work has been shown all over the world including at the Cannes, Halifax Atlantic, and Phoenix International Film Festivals. Recently, Becky has shifted her creative focus from documentary and drama to comedy and horror, which culminated in her latest short film, “Bugbaby” starring Mink Stole. In addition to directing and producing, Becky works as a Post-Production Supervisor on independent films as well as managing resources at the motion graphics company, Imaginary Forces.


Caroline du Potet is a French female director born in 1982. After film school in Paris, she co-wrote and co-directed six short films in different genres with her brother. THE THIRD EYE is the last one. They decided to continue working together for their first feature film and chose to make a horror/thriller film : IN THEIR SLEEP. At present, they are working on a new project for France, a "hitchcockian" thriller called TOTEM.


Director and Producer Heather Wixson can pinpoint where her love of the horror genre started exactly: at age three she saw AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON in the theater and was immediately hooked. After pursuing more mainstream writing opportunities, she joined the independent horror site TerrorTube in 2007, eventually being promoted to Content Editor in 2008 and in early 2009, Heather joined the ranks of contributors at DreadCentral.com, one of the premiere horror entertainment sites worldwide. As her profile in the horror internet realm began to grow, so did Heather’s desire to continue to support independent filmmaking in a producing capacity. In February 2010, Heather formed Final Girl Films LLC and served as producer on two short films by writer/director Bryan Ryan, THE GUEST and TRESPASSER, and is currently developing a supernatural feature film project with writer/director Mel House called SOON, A LIGHT ON. PAPER ROCK, SCISSORS is Heather's directorial debut and stars Aaron Pruner ("VR Troopers") and Corbett Tuck (INSIDIOUS).