Popcorn Frights Film Festival bringing screen scares north to Fort Lauderdale

After three years of frightening moviegoers in Miami, the Popcorn Frights Film Festival will unleash its zombies and chainsaw-wielding killers in Fort Lauderdale.

The horror-film festival is leaving the independent theater O Cinema, its home since 2015, and relocating to the downtown Savor Cinema. But before the horror fest returns for its fourth edition Aug. 10-16, organizers will screen three horror films between May and July, starting with the 1985 classic “Return of the Living Dead” Friday, May 11.

Pompano Beach-based scream queen Linnea Quigley, who stars in “The Return of the Living Dead,” will host the screening of the horror-comedy, about a mysterious military chemical that animates the dead in a small town.

While O Cinema drew faithful Popcorn Frights cinephiles for years, festival organizer Igor Shteyrenberg says the venue’s 100-seat auditorium couldn’t sustain demand, leading him to turn moviegoers away from sold-out screenings. Savor Cinema’s auditorium, at 216 seats, will help solve that problem, he says.

“[Savor Cinema] used to be a Methodist Church in the 1940s, and that was exactly the kind of holy hell that we needed to raise,” Shteyrenberg, who operates the festival with co-founder Marc Ferman.

The decision to move Popcorn Frights north came after Shteyrenberg researched Fort Lauderdale’s recent surge of high-rises and revitalized art districts. Much of the horror festival’s attendees were also commuting to Miami from Broward County, he says.

“The crazy, old Wynwood vibe, the mural art — it’s all moving north,” Shteyrenberg says. “We’re coming at the right time, and it’s going to be bigger and gorier than anything you’ve seen.”

After “The Return of the Living Dead,” Popcorn Frights will host a 10 p.m. June 15 remastered screening of the 1974 film “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” paired with a Texas-style barbecue in the theater’s courtyard. That will be followed by a 10 p.m. July 13 screening of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master,” which will include slices of something called “Freddy’s soul-fully delicious meatball pizza.”

“The Return of the Living Dead,” part of the Popcorn Frights Film Festival, will screen 10 p.m. May 11 at Savor Cinema, 503 SE Sixth St., in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $9-$10. Call 954-525-3456 or go to PopcornFrights.com.

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