How to Festival


Whether you’re joining us for the first time or Dead by Dawn is your horror home from home, here’s lots of info about getting here, being here and getting the most from your festival.

If you have any questions at all, please just email us.



If you arrive into Edinburgh by bus, the bus station is in the city centre at the east end of Princes St and has a cab rank right outside.  Edinburgh has a great bus service and you can check routes and timetables.


If you fly here, there are Airlink buses into the city every quarter hour which take about 25 minutes (longer at rush hour) and don’t cost much.  These are operated by Lothian Buses.

There are a couple stops in the city before it gets to Waverley Bridge where it terminates, but Waverley Bridge is right beside Waverley rail station, at the east end of Princes St and is about as central as you can get.  There’s a taxi rank at Waverley Bridge.


There are two main train stations in the city.  They are four minutes apart (by train) – one is Haymarket and one is Waverley. Sometimes Waverley is just known as Edinburgh. Haymarket is at the West end of Princes St and Waverley at the East End.

There are cab ranks at both stations.

There are multiple sites for buying train tickets, and tickets usually go on sale around three months in advance so do not leave it till the last minute to book, it gets expensive!


Tram is an option for getting between the city centre and the airport. Please make sure you get your ticket before you board, as it’s twice the price otherwise!  You also need to hang on to your ticket travelling to the airport as even though the conductor will check it on board, there is yet another inspection once you disembark.  No, we don’t know why either.  Check out the fares and timetable.


If you decide to drive, please check with your accommodation if they provide parking.   If not, your cheapest option might be to park out at the airport and take the bus or tram in, believe it or not, which is fine if you won’t need the car while you’re at the fest.  If you do need transport while at the fest, taxis might still prove cheaper than 24 hour parking.

Travel questions

If you’ve whittled your travel plans down to almost being ready to book and you have specific questions about arriving into or getting around the city, please feel free to email us and we’ll help out with all the local info you need.

If you’re arriving by yacht, jetpack or private helicopter, you’re on your own but we’d really like a go, please

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Remember that you can almost always cancel a booking so it’s worth booking up as soon as you can and hopefully you won’t have to cancel, but you will get a better deal!  Always check the cancellation policy for wherever you book.

Edinburgh is a small city, so even if you’re not staying right next door to the cinema, there’s a great bus service.

We would almost always recommend that you ask any accommodation in the city centre to try and book you a room that does not overlook the street.  Of course, if you have no need to sleep, ever, that’s not going to be an issue…

If you’re really not sure about a location before you book, please just drop us an email and we’ll get straight back to you.  I’m sorry we can’t go look at places for you, but we’ll gladly give you the benefit of our extensive local knowledge!

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Eat and Drink

Filmhouse has a café bar and bistro open every day and Lothian Road has a wide selection of bars, restaurants and shops so it’s not too hard to find something for every appetite!

We build enough time into our schedule for you to get fed and watered between screenings, and a longer break is built in for an evening meal each day.

The Filmhouse bar has a 3am licence each night of the festival which is wonderful but means that all drinks must be finished by 3am.

Alcoholic drinks can be taken into pretty much any screening.

Even once the alcohol licence has ended, the bar stays open for everything else.

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I once sat in a cinema wondering what it was I could see in my peripheral vision. When I finally looked round, I saw a guy sitting further along my row flossing his teeth and pinging the little bits of detritus into the air, where they were briefly caught in the light beam from the projection booth. I got up and left when one landed on me.

Now, I reckon most people know that it’s fine to sit about in saggy old pants watching films at home, picking dropped Wotsits out your belly button, but that it’s nice to put on trousers in public.

Since Debrett’s issued some advice on how to behave in cinemas, though, we thought we’d follow suit. So, step away from the floss and read on…

Here at Dead by Dawn, we’re an audience of sophistocates but just in case anyone still mistakes all the red velvet and the huge screen for their front room, here we go. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

On choosing which one of 300 identical seats to sit in

Please don’t leave an empty seat between you and the next person. Go on, sit next to them; you might meet someone amazing.  The whole room has brilliant sight-lines so you’ll be fine.

On blethering

Even if we can’t hear you chatting during a film, everyone sitting behind you is hypnotised and infuriated by your heads bobbing together like a pair of demented ducks.  Please shut up.

On punctuality

Times shown in the catalogue are when the films actually start.

If you get upstairs and the door to the auditorium is shut, you’re late.   The door is shut because the film has started.  Because we don’t think it’s ok to disrespect the entire audience and the film, late-comers are not admitted.

On bladders

When it’s time to bid a fond farewell to that beer you rented, the Gents are out the left side of the auditorium (as you face the screen), the Ladies to the right.

The door you need, going in either direction, is the one that says Push or Pull on it.   This is a big sticker at head height.

If you push or pull a door and it doesn’t open easily, you’re trying the wrong door, genius.

Clattering through the wrong door means the doors don’t shut properly, it makes lots of noise, it lets in light and it annoys the crap out of everyone else in the room.

On the last temptation of crisps

At no point did any composer wonder if their nuanced, suspenseful soundscape could be improved by the sound of someone schlucking detritus out their gum pockets. Yes, we know the cinema sells crisps. You’re not under any obligation to eat them during movies.

It is a universal truth that unwrapping food slowly DOES NOT MAKE IT QUIETER and waiting for the loud bits of a film to fumble around in a crinkly carrier bag looking for that elusive individually-wrapped sweetie DOES NOT MAKE A SQUIT OF DIFFERENCE. We can all still hear you, and we all think it’s a shame you forgot to ask Santa for some manners. If you’ve stocked up on yummy things, please take them out the carrier bag before the film starts.

On the tragic lack of a Faraday cage

Your phone must be off once I or anyone else gets up on stage to introduce a film. Off means really off, not just on silent. Some of the features we show may not get a release or – like all of our short films – may not get the chance to be seen on the big screen again.

If there is a few seconds gap between films, it is not a handy opportunity to check your phone – even if you think that holding it down by your knees somehow makes a difference. It really doesn’t.

If we see you with your phone on during any film, you will not be allowed into any subsequent screenings. Please bear in mind that we operate a no-refunds policy.

If you need a tweet, it can wait.

On the end of a film

Credits are still part of the movie.  Some movies have post-credit sequences and some people want to watch the movie right till the end.

If you’re not one of those people, please don’t stand up at your seat while credits are on screen, stretching, scratching your arse, having vague discussions about dinner, rifling through your dark bag in the dark looking for something dark or switching your phone on – either stay sat or shift your butt out the door and take your chat to the bar.

Dead by Dawn isn’t remotely apologetic about our policy on etiquette. We think great film is a sacred experience.  We want to recapture the unadulterated pleasure of getting lost in a film, of being transported, captivated, spooked. Remember that?  We think it’s worth striving for.

Not only that, but we know that our brilliant audience spend serious money to be at the festival – on the ticket, on the goodies on offer, on travel, accommodation, bar tab, meals, maybe even on luxuries like cat-sitters and baby-sitters – and so we want to make sure that every single person has a truly brilliant festival!

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Shit Film Amnesty

Our legendary Shit Film Amnesty™ offers fans the chance to offload the very worst dreck from their DVD collections.  All you have to do is bring the film, add in a note explaining how you came to own it or even why it’s the worst film ever made, and we’ll open all the entries up to an audience vote and the “winner” gets to take all the entries home.  No film from the Amnesty can ever be offered up again so we do recommend walking home past a skip :)

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Seating plan

Here is the seating plan for Cinema 1 at Filmhouse. Unfortunately, the seats and rows aren’t numbered so to make things a bit easier, we’ve split the seating into six areas – the front row, the back row, and four zones in between.

You can reserve your seat if you buy an early bird Pass.

An early bird Pass is one bought between Thursday 26th October and midnight on Halloween. All reservation requests must be with us by midnight on Sunday 5th November. If you’ve reserved with us before, this works exactly the same as before but if you’re reserving with us for the first time, feel free to get in touch with any questions.



The blue seats have the wheelchair spaces in front of them.
The unmarked black rectangles show where the doors are.
The door shown at the bottom right as you look at the diagram is the door beside the lift, so if you’ll be accessing the auditorium that way, you may prefer to choose seats nearest to that door.

There are steps up both sides of the auditorium but they are wide and shallow.  There is also a handrail up each side of the auditorium.

As you look at this plan, the Gents toilets are out the right-hand door, and the LADIES out the left-hand door.

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