About the Festival

Dead by Dawn is a film festival.

Not all festivals are the same, so here’s what we do...

2020 Line-up announced!Click to learn more...

Over four days, we show films. Lots of films.

Every single film is considered and selected by our programmers – we spend a year watching everything we can get our hands on to find the very best. Like many festivals, we programme around 5% of what we see.

Every film has to earn it’s place on that gorgeous silver screen!

We know our audience give a lot to be here – money for travel and hotel and meals and beer, cat-sitters, baby-sitters, annual leave, the whole enchilada. We appreciate that so much and what’s most important to us is that you have an incredible festival experience with us – the best films, the coldest beer, the comfiest seats and the friendliest people.

Each day of the festival we screen a heady mix of amazing premieres you simply won’t see anywhere else, rare and incredible classic movies and plenty of short film programmes stuffed full of bite-size nightmares.

All our films are screened in the main cinema at Filmhouse on Lothian Road.

We never put two films on at the same time, so you’ll never miss out.

Between the films, there’s time to pop out for dinner, take a walk or just hang out in the bar. They do food there, too. Check out the menu with the button below...

Filmhouse Cafe Bar

You don’t even have to rush to finish your drink, you can just take it into the next screening!


As well as lots of films, you’ll have plenty to time to meet all our guests, get a treasured DVD signed, take part in our legendary Shit Film Amnesty and try to grab a goodie in a frantic minute when the entire festival plays Punk Pass the Parcel.

You’re in for a treat!

There are two ways to festival:

Buy a Pass so you get to see absolutely everything.

Plus we’ll give you a free festival bag and a free copy of our festival catalogue.


Just dip your toe in, and buy tickets for anything you fancy.

There will be bags and catalogues available to buy.


We don’t have panels or workshops - we’re all about the film - but sometimes we have a Q&A after the movie. In the past, we’ve had a blether with the likes of:


John Landis

An American Werewolf in London
Michael Jackson’s Thriller
The Blues Brothers
Trading Places
Animal House


Frank Henenlotter

Basket Case trilogy
Brain Damage
Bad Biology


Herschell Gordon Lewis

Blood Feast
The Gore Gore Girls


Robert Englund

A Nightmare on Elm Street


Ken Foree

George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead

...as well as the wonderful likes of Ramsey Campbell, Tony Todd, Shaun Hutson, Claudio Simonetti, Jean Rollin, Jeremy Kasten, Neil Marshall, JT Petty, Juan Martinez Moreno and Richard Stanley.


Dead by Dawn is a discovery festival.
Here are some of the amazing people and films we’ve met early in their careers...


Dead by Dawn hosted the UK Premieres of Peter Jackson’s MEET THE FEEBLES and BRAINDEAD.

Peter is loved by fantasy fans the world over for his Lord of the Rings trilogy, Heavenly Creatures, The Frighteners and King Kong to name just a few!


Dead by Dawn hosted the UK Premiere of Jaume Balaguero’s THE NAMELESS.

Jaume is infamous among horror fans for directing the hugely successful [Rec] franchise.


Dead by Dawn hosted the UK Premieres of MULBERRY STREET and STAKELAND from director Jim Mickle.

Jim is deservedly adored for these and subsequent hits like We Are What We Are and Cold In July.


Dead by Dawn hosted the UK Premiere of Neil Marshall’s DOG SOLDIERS.

Horror and fantasy fans also love Neil for The Descent and his episodes
of Westworld, Hannibal, and Game of Thrones


Dead by Dawn hosted the UK Premiere of Mike Flanagan’s OCULUS.

...with Dr Who and Avengers’ Karen Gillan and Battlestar Galactica star Katee Sackhoff (who you also gotta love in Robot Chicken, Futurama, The Big Bang Theory...)


Dead by Dawn hosted the UK Premiere of Eli Craig’s TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL.

...with American Dad!
...and Rogue One’s Alan Tudyk!

Get yourself a Pass for Dead By Dawn 2019, and who knows what discoveries you will make...

Shit Film Amnesty

Our legendary Shit Film Amnesty™ offers the chance to offload the very worst dreck from your DVD collection.

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 absolutely the worst film ever made, and we’ll open all the entries up to an audience vote.

We do this right at the end of the festival when everyone's a little sleep-deprived and stewed after four days of treating beer like it's 4 of your 5 a day...

Voting is done by the very democratic and infallible method of 'loudest racket wins'.

The (ahem) “winner” gets to keep all the entries. No film from the Amnesty can ever be offered up again so we do recommend walking home past a skip.