Telluride Horror Show Builds Its Fan Base in Year Two
by Seth Cagin
Oct 12, 2011 | 2161 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Image 1 / 5
Bride of Frankenstein
TELLURIDE – In its sophomore year, the Telluride Horror Show is bringing back an encore presentation of its freshman year hit.

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil hasn’t yet been released commercially, although it will be soon, so if you missed it last year, here’s another chance to catch it (relatively) early. And like the best of horror films, this parody of the “kids lost in the woods” genre simply has to be seen on the big screen with an audience consisting of your best friends, whose laughter and hoots and screams meld seamlessly with the soundtrack.

Or if they’re not your friends yet, the Horror Show audience consists of people who could be your best friends if you got to know them. Which is entirely possible over the course of a three-day feast of disreputable and funny and scary movies that appeal to a certain class of people.

(If you fit the class, you probably already know it, and if you think you just might fit, you almost certainly do….)

Who is the audience?

“This audience is people who like to have a good time,” says Ted Wilson, the impresario, along with his wife Lynn, behind Telluride’s newest annual festival. They’re not all young, as the uninitiated might think, but are a cross-section of humanity, apart from their shared appreciation of the kitschy thrills and yucks and occasional brilliance and unexpected depth and even beauty that only a true “B” movie can deliver.

By the evening of the last day of last year’s inaugural festival, there were about a hundred people in the audience for Tucker and Dale. This year, Ted and Lynn predict, there will be close to that number in each of the two venues – the Sheridan Opera House and the Nugget – for many of the programs.

“Everyone who came last year is coming back,” Ted says, “which is almost unheard of, and this year they’re bringing their friends.”

Three-day passes have been purchased by people from as far away as Albuquerque, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Utah, all taking advantage of what can only be called “recession pricing,” only $60 for a three-day pass, plus $79 hotel rooms offered by the festival’s official lodging sponsor, Telluride Alpine Lodging. And a pig roast on Friday night is included.

There is a horror film festival circuit, where films gain exposure before friendly yet discerning audiences on their way to commercial distribution – either to theaters or video. In only its second year, Telluride is able to book some of the hottest of the titles that play in Austin, Montreal or London (all of which host popular horror film festivals) Ted said, thanks in part to the renown of Telluride as a brand within the film world, which is thanks in turn to the Telluride Film Festival, with which the Horror Show has no affiliation.

Will this year’s Horror Show present a hit like last year’s Tucker and Dale?

“That’s an awfully high bar,” Ted admitted.

“But The Tunnel is really scary,” he said, in the “found footage” genre (Blair Witch), and the Swiss film Sennentuntschi is one he and Lynn describe as impressive.

And everyone who attends will want to see The Bride of Frankenstein (1935),” Ted predicted, one of the greatest horror films of all time, rarely shown on the big screen in the company of some of your best friends.

The festival is not yet sold out, so you can still plan to join in the fun. Three day passes are available online at, seriously affordable lodging remains available from Telluride Alpine Lodging, and single show tickets will be available for just $10 at the door. A packet of five tickets can be purchased for just $40 from the festival website.


(Following is a letter to the editor received by The Watch on Oct. 12, 2011.)


I see advertised around town that the Telluride Horror Show will be taking place again this month, Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 16. I was somewhat surprised by the return of this festival given the offensive material screened at this event.

As a devout Mormon, I was shocked and appalled by the content last year, especially the zombie film, The Book of Zombie, depicting flesh-eating Mormon zombies gone amuck in a small town in Utah. As a native resident of a small town in Utah, I can assure you this is not what you will find on a quiet visit to Blanding, Utah. And we sure as heck don't have Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives or Machete Maidens Unleashed!

Although we are presently enjoying our week-long stay in Telluride, just as I do not allow my children to read Dr. Seuss (no, I could not, would not, with a goat), there is no way that me, my three wives and our 16 kids will ever return to Telluride if this is the type of thing that passes as entertainment in your town.

Name Withheld

Blanding, Utah

Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 13, 2011
Three wives and sixteen kids-sounds like a nightmare to me ! I guess you weren't aware that DR Seuss books have presided in our library since it was open over ten years ago , your trip would have really been cut short.