Beware. Mad scientists and monsters gather at The Bioscope. Only the very brave should venture out for the fright-filled, gore-splattered Horrorfest.

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Witches will walk in Maboneng. The annual Horrorfest Film Festival will make a stop in Johannesburg this year for the first time, venturing forth from its lair in Cape Town, where it has lurked for eight years.

From 24 October to 2 November – with Halloween the highlight on 31 October – the cities will give over to horror. The Bioscope in Johannesburg’s Maboneng District will host the event from 26 to 31 October, while three venues in Cape Town, the Labia Theatre, the Book Lounge and the Ster Kinekor at Cavendish Square, will host the festival from 24 October until 2 November.

This year’s theme is Frankenstein! Several films related to the classic tale, which has been adapted, revised and updated a number of times, will be screened. But expect a wide range of other films too, with Joburg audiences getting to see documentaries and short films that have been shown over the years of the festival’s existence.

Paul Blom, the man behind the mayhem, said of the festival in “It’s a chance to showcase rare, strange, exciting and outrageous movies and short films for audiences that they won’t get to see in any cinema in the country.”

At The Bioscope, you can watch Frankenstein, True Nature, Strigol, Bad Taste and Slice and Dice. On Halloween, there will be a screening of Lyfstraf, directed Rudi Steyn.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the horror classic, will end the festival at The Labia. But organisers have added a twist: an element of audience participation. Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and The Possession, a new film by Danish director Ole Bornedal, will also be screened before their official release at the end of the month. The Possession was produced by Sam Raimi, who worked on The Evil Dead and Xena: Warrior Princess.

A performance by the Makabra Ensemble, a musical collaboration between bands Lark and Terminatryx as well as violinist Matthijs van Dijk is also on the cards for Cape Town. The group creates new, original soundtracks to classic silent films shown at Horrorfest, which they perform live to the screen.

Other activities in Cape Town include a Halloween dress-up, Zombie Walk and alternative market. Those who are interested in attending the festival events can RSVP on the festival’s Facebook page, or contact the organisers for tickets on

Although there won’t be as wide a range of activities in Joburg as Cape Town this year, organisers plan to bring more of the festival fun to the city next year.