I asked JT Seaton of the New Orleans Horror Film Fest what he's looking for in a horror film.
"I would like to see more horror films with heart," Seaton told me. "Films that have an emotional impact beyond fright. There is no reason why we can't cry, laugh, or be moved emotionally by a horror film, in addition to being scared."
This is similar to what I've been about the importance of emotionally engaging characters in a horror film -- how characters are the car in horror's rollercoaster.
Seaton goes on to add, "Show us something we haven't seen a thousand times. Stretch your films, your stories, beyond 'found footage' featuring amateur ghost-hunters. Beyond a handful of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Beyond five college friends partying in a location with an evil history. Beyond women being abducted and tortured. Surprise us!"
The New Orleans Horror Film Fest, now in its 5th year, will be accepting submissions for their 2015 screenings until June 30th.
For a behind-the-scenes look at horror film festivals and the festival directors who manage them, see Horror Film Festivals and Awards. This book also includes a directory of over 200 horror film festivals, and a list of festival award winners from dozens of festivals over several decades.