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Attention All Aspiring Directors! Halloween Horror Nights Short Film Competition Wants to See Your Worst

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Making your own horror film. The dream of every fan. And we all know we’ve tried it on some level when growing up, mostly succeeding only in staining our clothes with some kind of red food coloring concoction used to represent the gore we ogled in our favorite films.

But then there are those amateurs who are really good at it. You guys, listen up: Universal Studios wants to see your film in its annual Halloween Horror Nights Short Film Competition.

With a panel of judges that includes modern master of horror Eli Roth and Halloween Horror Nights Creative Director John Murdy, Halloween Horror Nights is looking for the most depraved, disturbed and downright demented films they can get their hands on for entry in this year’s contest. And if you’re asking, “What’s in it for me?” let me lay that impressive answer on you: Not only will the winning film be awarded a premiere showing on Chiller, a posting on Syfy.com and a cool $1,000 in cash (think of all the red food coloring you can buy with that to make the sequel!), you will also receive a trip for two to “Halloween Horror Nights” opening night “Eyegore Awards” at Universal Studio Hollywood. Not bad for doing something you love!

Now chop, chop you future Hitchcocks, Hoopers and Cravens; the deadline for submission is August 1.

From the Press Release
Universal Studios Hollywood invites aspiring filmmakers to compete in its annual “Halloween Horror Nights” short film competition, offering budding directors an opportunity to have their most disturbing horror short films judged by a panel of industry insiders, including horror film auteur Eli Roth; Daily Variety senior writer Marc Graser and “Halloween Horror Nights” Creative Director John Murdy. The winning film will be awarded a premiere showing on Chiller, a posting on Syfy.com, a cash prize of $1,000, and a trip for two to “Halloween Horror Nights” opening night “Eyegore Awards” at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Contest entries will be accepted from June 27 through August 1, 2011. Prospective filmmakers can submit short films from 90 seconds to three minutes in length on DVD (two copies of each film must be submitted). Films will be judged based on storytelling skill, originality and scare factor. The top 10 horror shorts, as determined by the panel, will be posted online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com from August 22 to September 9, 2011 for public voting. The winning film will be announced on September 12, 2011.

Eyegore Award recipient and horror filmmaker Eli Roth said: “As a producer I’m always looking for new talent and happy to help a first-time director get their big break. New blood, so to speak, is vital for the continuation and growth of our beloved genre, and programs like this one can help deserving people get noticed. I am excited to see the competing films, and whoever makes me lose the most sleep will win.”

Returning film contest judge Marc Graser, Daily Variety, said: “As a studio known for bringing the horror film genre to life, it’s a thrill to help Universal Studios identify the next generation of filmmakers that will scare audiences. I can’t wait to see who steps forward with their creepy visions this year.”

John Murdy, Creative Director, Universal Studios Hollywood, said: “Just as ’Halloween Horror Nights’ interprets horror filmmakers’ visions into living horror movies for the most ardent fans, our film competition provides a platform for future horror film directors to showcase their work to an audience of influential entertainment industry professionals.”

Entries must be sent to: “Halloween Horror Nights” Short Film Competition, 100 Universal City Plaza, Building 5511-5, Universal City, CA 91608. Additional information on the contest, including a complete list of rules and regulations, is available online at the Halloween Horror Nights website.

Last year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” Eyegore Award recipient Eli Roth is a renowned award-winning, horror-genre filmmaker and actor. His credits include Cabin Fever, Hostel, Grindhouse, The Last Exorcism and Inglourious Basterds. For the past 10 years, Marc Graser has been a reporter at Daily Variety covering the entertainment industry. John Murdy, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Creative Director, oversees the theme park’s attractions, including its very intense annual “Halloween Horror Nights” event.

Universal Studios Hollywood hosts the Eyegore Awards annually on opening night of the theme park’s popular “Halloween Horror Nights” event to honor individuals for their significant contributions to the horror film genre.

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Scott Hallam