Stephenville Fright Fest is an annual horror film and multimedia festival located in Stephenville, Texas, and jointly sponsored by Ranger College and the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council. Originally titled “Stephenville Frights,” the festival was founded in 2015 as an annual venue for screening feature-length horror films accompanied by lectures and discussions focused on a specific annual theme. For the inaugural year, the theme was “Possession and Exorcism.” In subsequent years the festival explored themes of “Monsters,” “Nature Horror,” and “Psychological Horror.”

In 2019 Stephenville Frights morphed into Stephenville Fright Fest, a new monster that retains its original frightful nature but now adds a curated short horror film contest and, this year, a ruin photography contest.

The event is organized and run by Dr. Matt Cardin of Ranger College and Ms. Whitney Lee of of the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council. Ms. Lee is the CTFAC’s Executive Director. Dr. Cardin is Ranger College’s Vice President of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness. He is also an author and editor of fiction and nonfiction on the combined subjects of religion and horror, as well as an expert on the scholarly study of the paranormal who edited/created the academic encyclopedia Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies.

Please register to ensure your spot.


For the 2019 festival, we turn our focus to the theme of ghosts, specters, supernatural revenants, and hauntings. We’ll be screening three classic feature films in this horror subgenre. For the festival’s contest portion, there are two divisions, films and photography.

SHORT FILM CONTEST: Interested filmmakers are invited to submit short horror films (15 minutes and under) that relate in some central, substantial way to the presiding theme.

RUIN PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST: Interested photographers are invited to submit artistic ruin photography.

All submissions for both divisions require a $25 submission fee and are required to follow the official rules.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE for both categories is September 30. Entrants will be notified regarding acceptance or non-acceptance of their work by no later than October 10.

Stephenville Fright Fest proudly accepts entries through FilmFreeway, the world’s #1 way to enter film festivals and creative contests.

Schedule of Events


  • 6:00 p.m. Doors open. Ruin photography showcase in the lobby. Concessions for sale.
  • 7:00 p.m. Short film screenings in the Lecture hall, followed by audience vote for People’s Choice Award, then the full awards ceremony for Spotlight Award, Honorable Mention, and People’s Choice (ending approximately 9:00 p.m.)


  • 10:30 a.m. Doors open. Ruin photography showcase in the lobby. Concessions for sale. Video preshow on poltergeists and spirit communication in the Lecture Hall.
  • 11:00 a.m. Film screening: The Frighteners (1996, dir. Peter Jackson, starring Michael J. Fox)
  • 1:30 p.m. Panel discussion: “The Real World of Ghosts, Hauntings, and Paranormal Investigation”
  • 3:00 p.m. Film screening: Poltergeist (1982, dir. Tobe Hooper, prod. Steven Spielberg, starring Craig T. Nelson and Jobeth Williams)
  • 5:30 p.m. Panel discussion: “The Haunted Screen: A Guide to the Best Ghost Movies and Their Significance”
  • 7:00 p.m. Film screening: The Haunting (1963, dir. Robert Wise, starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson)

On Friday, a public screening of all films accepted for the contest will be held at Ranger College Erath County Center, followed by an award ceremony at which winning films will receive the Spotlight Award, the People’s Choice Award, and, as determined by the judges, Honorable Mention. All winning film entries will receive a trophy. Photographic entries accepted for the ruin photography contest will be displayed in the Center’s lobby on both Friday and Saturday, with plaques and ribbons given to the entries receiving the Spotlight Award and, as determined by the judges, Honorable Mention.

On Saturday, screenings of three significant feature films in the ghosts-and-hauntings subgenre will be held, with each film highlighting the specific trope of paranormal investigation as a central element. These screenings will be accompanied by brief introductory lectures, post-viewing Q&A sessions, and two panel discussions featuring local and regional experts on paranormal and supernatural matters.


  • Dr. Joseph Laycock, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Texas State University and a scholar of paranormal and supernatural subjects
  • Brandy Herr, co-founder of Fort Worth’s Spooky Spectacle (formerly Granbury Paranormal Expo) and author of Haunted Granbury
  • Angela Morgan, founder and leader of the Ghost Walk at the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas
  • Mike Daniels, independent producer/filmmaker, co-founder of Thoughtbox Studios in Dublin, Texas
  • Dr. Matt Cardin (moderator), Vice President of Accreditation at Ranger College and author/editor on the subjects of horror and the paranormal
Please register to ensure your spot.

Links and Downloads

Official Rules: Film & Photography Contests
Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council

Former festivals (as “Stephenville Frights”):

2015: Possession and Exorcism
2016: Monsters
2017: Nature Horror
2018: Psychological Horror

Former festival website: Stephenville Frights

Submission link for contest entries:

Submission deadline (both short films and photographs): Sept. 30, 2019

Notification deadline: All entrants will be notified about acceptance or non-acceptance of their work for the festival by no later than October 10.