The cult festival takes place at the Vancouver International Film Centre and will also feature short films made by independent filmmakers. The event was curated and organized by local photographer Shane Burzynski.
"For the last few years now I've been trying to get these films booked in Vancouver," says Burzynski.
Tired of waiting for someone else to present them, Burzynski decided to do it himself and turn the showings into a festival.
Finding the rare films was tricky — most of them were made in the 70s and 80s. Burzynski had to scour independent archivists and past festivals to get a copy that could be screened.
'The gore and the blood are really the sprinkles on top'
The festival will also include guest appearances from some of the films' collaborators, such as Gabe Bartalos. He's a make-up and effects artist who worked on the 1988 horror classic Brain Damage, screened on Friday night as part of the festival.
Bartalos says the key to the horror genre is a good story that has a deeper meaning.
"The gore and the blood are really the sprinkles on top," says Bartalos. "For a successful horror film, it has to start with the written word and it's got to be solid."
He says even people who aren't horror fans will give the genre a chance if it's got a little more to offer.
His focus on quality narratives is part of the reason why Bartalos says he doesn't work on films with directors that are into "mean-spirited stuff."
"If they've got a few screws loose and they're anti-women or they're just getting something out that's very negative, I don't have to be a part of that," says Bartalos.
Ultimately for Bartalos, horror films are really about fun and entertainment.
To listen to the full interview with Gabe Bartalos and Shane Burzynski, click on the audio labelled: Northwest Horror Fest poised to scare and delight audiences.