Feb 26, 2024

THE FINAL HEX: 2024 Hexploitation Film Festival Farewell Tour


Hello friends,

After 15 years of thrills, chills, and kills, The Hexploitation Film Festival is coming to an end…but not without one last scream. THE FINAL HEX Farwell Tour will bring the Hexploitation's unique program of monsters, maniacs, and murder to a series of venues throughout Hamilton all culminating in not-to-be-missed screenings in April 2024. Participating venues and events to be announced soon!

I joined Fright Night Theatre, as it was called when it debuted in 2009, as part of the group Horror in the Hammer. Horror in the Hammer was a collective of horror fans and creatives in Hamilton, ON, Canada, who were organizing and creating horror-related art and events such as the annual Hamilton Zombie Walk and Charity Food Drive as well as Fright Night Theatre a monthly screening series at The Staircase Theatre (27 Dundurn St. N). The first screening was a double-feature of Stuart Gordon's H.P. Lovecraft adaptations (From Beyond and Dagon) on June 24, 2009. The joy I experienced in our ability to bring people together and curate a selection of films to delight, amuse, and horrify had me hooked! I stayed on with Fright Night Theatre, eventually becoming the head of programming in December 2012. I expanded Fright Night Theatre into the Fright Night Theatre Film Festival in 2014 and then we became the Hexploitation Film Festival in 2017. In these 15 years, I've done so much and have had the privilege to meet and work with so many amazing, talented individuals and provide a springboard for the careers of Canadian and international artists.

All things, however, must come to an end. We will be closing the coffin lid on the Hexploitation Film Festival this April. Details about participating venues, films, tickets, and more are coming very soon. 

To all our fans and supporters, thank you for being a part of this adventure with us. We hope you'll join us for the Final Hex; you're not going to want to miss this!

All the bloody best,

Aaron Allen

Director: Hexploitation Film Festival

May 31, 2023

CONTEST: Win a Pair of Tickets to DESTROY ALL MONSTERS @ The Westdale (Fri. Jun 02 / 9pm)


Win a pair of tickets to see DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) on Friday, June 02, 2023 / 9pm at The Westdale Theatre (1014 KING ST W HAMILTON, ON L8S 1L4)

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS is screening as part of The Way of the Sword’s KAIJU SUMMER film talk series  


Email aaron@hexfilmfest.com with DESTROY ALL MONSTERS in the subject line and include the following information:

1) Your full name.

2) Name one of the monsters that appears in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS 

A winner will be chosen and notified at 9:00am on Friday, June 02. Tickets can be claimed at the box office. 

Contest closes at 8:59AM (ET), Friday, June 02, 2023

May 15, 2023

KAIJU SUMMER @ The Westdale (May 19, June 02, July 21, August 18)

The Hexploitation Film Festival is collaborating with The Way of the Sword film talk series at The Westdale (1014 KING ST W, HAMILTON, ON) to host a summer-long celebration of giant Japanese monster movies and tokusatsu! Presented in their original Japanese language with English subtitles

From Godzilla to Gamera and other titantic beasts between, terrifying kaiju are stomping through Hamilton all summer long, only at the historic Westdale theatre. 

May 19: GODZILLA (1954)

Friday, May 19, 2023 | 8:00pm

The classic kaiju film that started it all! Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk. At first, the authorities think its either underwater mines or underwater volcanic activity. A later expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Kyôhei Yamane, his daughter Emiko, and young navy frogman Hideto Ogata soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164-foot-tall monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now, the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan but the rest of the world as well. Can the monster be destroyed before it is too late, and what role will the mysterious Dr. Serizawa play in the battle? Directed by Ishirō Honda.


Friday, June 02, 2023 | 9:00pm

It's the classic monster mash! In the year 1999, all the Earth’s giant monsters (Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Angilas and Minya, among others) are incarcerated on a small island near Japan. The Kilaaks, a race of aliens from a small planet somewhere in the asteroid belt, release the beasts and send them to trample the cities of our world. An Earth spaceship must penetrate the aliens’ moonbase and take control of the monster army before a final confrontation with the space dragon King Ghidorah. Directed by Ishirō Honda.

July 21: WRATH OF DAIMAJIN (1966)

Friday, July 21, 2023 | 9:30pm

The DAIMAJIN Trilogy saw Daiei’s Kyoto studios bringing its own iconic giant movie monster to life in a series that transplants the Golem legend to late-16th century Japan. In WRATH OF DAIMAJIN, the final film in the series, four boys make a perilous trip to ask an ancient mountain demon god (embodied by giant stone statue) to save their families, who have been enslaved by a tyrannical lord. Remarkably overlooked in the West, this thrilling tale of feudal oppression and divine retribution combines lavish period detail with jaw-dropping special effects. Directed by Kazuo Mori.

August 18: GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS (1999)

Friday, August 18, 2023 | 8:00pm

The 1990s GAMERA series (a reboot of Daei's 1960s kaiju series about a giant flying, fire-breathing turtle) is hailed by sci-fi fans as some of the best modern kaiju entertainment ever created in Japan. In the third film in the trilogy -- GAMERA: REVENGE OF IRIS --  Japan is again under attack by giant flying Gyaos. Meanwhile, a young girl – whose parents died during a previous monster conflict – discovers a new creature called Iris. After merging with the girl and fueled by her trauma and hate for Gamera, who she blames for the deaths of her parents, Iris seeks revenge on Gamera, who seems to be losing his patience with humankind. Praised for its practical special effects and apocalyptic tone, GAMERA: REVENGE OF IRIS represents the pinnacle of classic tokusatsu filmmaking. Directed by Shusuke Kaneko [Gamera the Guardian of the Universe (1995) and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)] with special effects by Shinji Higuchi who would go on to co-direct Shin Godzilla (2016) and direct Shin Ultraman (2022).

Sep 21, 2021

HXFF Presents HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003) & COSTUME CONTEST @ The Staircase


The Hexploitation Film Festival is excited to usher in the Halloween season with a screening of Rob Zombie's trashterpiece HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES at The Staircase Theatre! 

HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003)


SHOW TIMES: Saturday, October 23 @ 10:00pm (Main Theatre)
Theatre Doors Open, Vaccination Validation, and Theatre Pre-Show begins @ 9:30pm

*Due to capacity limits, only 33 tickets will be sold*

Get Tickets


In Rob Zombie's infamous breakout feature, four young people investigating the legend of Dr. Satan are captured and tortured by the colorfully psychotic Firefly family. Recognized as a cult classic and horror genre game-changer, House of 1000 Corpses is a Hellbilly Halloween murder-ride inspired by 70's horror and exploitation thrills, chills, and kills.


* Come dressed as your favorite HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES or other Rob Zombie film character (i.e. The Devil's Rejects, Rob Zombie's HalloweenLords of Salem31, 3 From Hell) for a chance to win prizes! Winners will be chosen based on creativity, originality, style, and theme!

* All HXFF shirts and posters will be on deep discount for one night only.
  • Classic Red & White tees - only $5.00 (cash only)
  • Toxic Green tees - only $10.00 (cash only)
  • Limited Edition festival posters - only $5.00 (cash only)

IMPORTANT COVID-19 Safety Update:

Beginning Sept. 22, 2021, ALL cinemas in Ontario will require patrons to provide proof of full vaccination.

At the Hexploitation Film Festival box office, please have ready the following:
  • Physical proof of vaccination or a clear photo of the proof of vaccination
  • Photo ID along with proof of full vaccination
* Attendees who do not present proof of full vaccination will not be allowed into the theatre and there will be no refunds.

Jul 23, 2021

STAIRCASE x HXFF present SUMMERWEEN! Aug 1st - 2nd, 2021

Celebrate Summerween at The Staircase!
August 01 - August 02, 2021

Hexploitation returns to the Staircase for the first time since the pandemic!

The People Under the Staircase and the Hexploitation Film Festival are collaborating this August long weekend to present two nights of Halloween-themed events with a socially-distant Summer twist at  27 Dundurn St. North in Hamilton, ON.

In addition to nightly costume contests, watermelon jack o' lantern carving, a live performance by The Monsters of Schlock, and some special "spooky season" additions to The People Under the Staircase's full-service menu of vegan pub fare and drinks, Hexploitation will be bringing the thrills, chills, and kills with three special Summerween horror events:

Sunday, August 1, 2021

7:00pm - 8:00pm: Summer Survival Horror Movie Trivia
Admission: Free Registration in Advance (limited seating available)

Summer Survival Horror Movie Trivia is an informal, fun, and interactive competition where teams (2 to 5 people) compete to see who has the greatest knowledge of summer-themed horror movies. The team with the most points will take home a prize! During and in between rounds, take full advantage of The Staircase's full-service restaurant specializing in vegan pub food, drinks, and cocktails.

Register your team for free in advance, by claiming a free ticket, but spots will be limited to maintain social distancing between tables.

9:00pm: Hexploitation Presents CRUEL JAWS (B-Movie Bingo Edition)

Only 33 tickets will be sold!
*Theatre fully sanitized after each screening*

Hamilton's longest-running horror, cult, and exploitation genre film festival returns to the Staircase Theatre with an interactive screening of the wild, hilarious, and notorious 1995 killer shark movie CRUEL JAWS (or, as it was known in some countries: JAWS 5). Experience the ultimate example of killer sharksploitation in a film best described as THE ROOM meets DEEP BLUE SEA. Borrowing characters, plot, and footage from other killer shark films, CRUEL JAWS is a film so-bad-it's-good that it might be genius.

Every attendee will receive a limited edition B-MOVIE BINGO card. Instead of numbers, cards will include events or lines of dialogue from the film. Cross them off as they occur on screen and form a complete line. If you can complete a full line on your card, you will win a prize! 1/11 attendees are guaranteed a winning card.

Monday, August 2, 2021

4:00pm: Hexploitation Presents THE MUTILATOR (B-Movie Bingo Edition)


Only 33 tickets will be sold!
*Theatre fully sanitized after each screening*

Hamilton's longest-running horror, cult, and exploitation genre film festival returns to the Staircase Theatre with an interactive screening of beachfront 80s vacation slasher THE MUTILATOR (aka. FALL BREAK).

A group of college coeds travel to an island property on vacation find themselves stalked, hacked, and slashed in a beach-side bloodbath. Oozing with brutal gore from FX wizard Mark Shostrom (VIDEODROME, EVIL DEAD II), beach-goth vibes, and haunted synths, THE MUTILATOR is an undiscovered treasure from the golden age slasher boom. It should also be noted that the movie contains a killer dad-rock theme song called “Fall Break" you'll be singing all August!

Every attendee will receive a limited edition B-MOVIE BINGO card. Instead of numbers, cards will include events / lines of dialogue from the film. Cross them off as they occur on screen and form a complete line. If you can complete a full line on your card, you will win a prize! 1/11 attendees are guaranteed a winning card.

May 21, 2021

Hexploitation Cancels 2021 Film Festival

A special update from Hexploitation Film Festival Director / Lead Programmer Aaron Allen

Hello fellow fright fans, horror hounds, and cult film connoisseurs. 

I hope that you and your loved ones have been able to weather this COVID-19 storm so far, but if you or your families have suffered hardship this past year and half, you have my sympathies. This is not the 2020 or 2021 any of us were hoping for. With so much strife and sadness going on in the world, I have had occasion to hear explicitly from many of you how much you miss the Hexploitation Film Festival (HXFF) and wish for a return to normalcy. With that in mind, it is with immeasurable regret that I must announce that there will be no HXFF for 2021 either online or in person.

Since our last HXFF in February 2020, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation carefully and rolling with the punches that fate has delivered. Whether it was the unexpected closure of our long-time venue or the entirely foreseeable crushing third wave of COVID variants that were encouraged to sweep through Ontario (thanks for nothing, Dougie!), we have been trying to work out a plan to return our festival and screening events to a venue or screen near you. With the news that the People Under the Staircase were going to resurrect our long-time venue, and in seeing that the ramp up in vaccine rollout was on the horizon in Ontario, we had hope that we could return for Fall 2021. We were fully prepared to bring the festival back in 2021 as an online event and were positioned to open submissions this Spring/Summer. Unfortunately, events in my life that are beyond my control have led me to the hard decision to cancel HXFF for 2021.

Like many of you, horror films are my passion but not my profession. I work a regular day job, Monday to Friday, that's about as far away from cinematic thrills, chills, and kills that you can get. Although I have been the lead festival programmer and director of HXFF since 2012, “Festival Director and Lead Programmer” is not my fulltime job. Everything I do to organize and pull off the film festival each year with the help of a great team of programmers is done on my own free time. Like myself, the entire dedicated HXFF team is made up of programmers and volunteers who make ends meet in fields outside the world of film distribution and entertainment. While it is true that those with passion find a way to make time for what they love, it’s equally true that there's not always enough time to give that which you love the attention it deserves. 

This is the position I find myself in as we approach the Summer. Certain developments in my field have resulted in my day job becoming unexpectedly and increasingly demanding. It is leaving me very little time or energy to devote to the intensive preparations that the HXFF requires, and I do not foresee it letting up until next year. I faced a choice of burning the candle at both ends, but no matter which way I looked at it, the HXFF was bound to eventually suffer in either quality or presentation. I love the HXFF, I love our fans, and I love the films we screen too much to do a half-assed job. After speaking with my fellow programmers, I have decided that the best course of action is to cancel HXFF for 2021 in its entirety.

That is not to say that you won’t see some activity from us this Summer or early Fall. Ontario just announced a new three-phase opening plan that leaves the possibility of some outdoor screenings or events. If something of a smaller scale presents itself, we may resurface. But as for our three-day competitive film festival...well, that event is a slippery, slobbering beast to wrangle at the best of times. You cannot handle a monster like that without giving it your full attention. Therefore, for 2021 we will do the next best thing. We will shackle the beast of HXFF and force it into hibernation. But if the types of movies we love to screen have taught us anything, such beasts never slumber for long. Hexploitation will return. And it will return very, very hungry.

We hope you will be there with us to feed it.

Feed it with your screams.

All the bloody best,

- Aaron Allen
Festival Director / Lead Programmer
Hexploitation Film Festival




Apr 9, 2021

CONTEST: Win Black Fawn Distro's HALL (iTunes Download)


Win an iTunes Canada download code for HALL, the new apocalyptically viral horror film release from Black Fawn Distribution


Email info@hexfilmfest.com with HALL CONTEST in the subject line and include the following:

1) Your full name.

2) Indicate consent (write yes or no) to sign up for the HXFF email list for future fest, film screening, and contest updates and news

3.) Your Canadian postal code

Contest closes at 11:59PM (EDT), Sunday, April 11, 2021

Contest open to residents of Canada only, the age of 18 or over. ONE ENTRY PER POSTAL CODE. MULTIPLE ENTRIES WILL BE DELETED.

One winner will be chosen at random and will receive a download code from iTunes Canada for HALL (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/movie/hall/id1556490624)


When a hotel hallway is ravaged by a mysterious virus, pregnant tourist Naomi is tragically thrust into the fight of her life. Forced to crawl her way past other helpless victims, Naomi crosses paths with Val - a young mother separated from her daughter. While keeping out of sight, Naomi and Val must navigate their way down the stretch of isolated carnage, before they become infected themselves.

Directed by Francesco Giannini
Starring Carolina Bartczak,Yumiko Shaku, Julian Richings

"Giannini has crafted a riveting, at times teasingly-abstract apocalyptic nightmare primed by domenstic violence horrors and psychological trauma”
– Martyn Conterio, CineVue

“Will have you gnawing your fingernails right down”
– Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

"Like Steven Soderbergh's 'Contagion' blended with Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys,' Hall bears witness to an infernal outbreak from an elevated Ground Zero."
– Anton Bitel, Through The Trees

“Clearly, director Francesco Giannini, despite this being his first foray into the genre, has made the most of his extensive experience in film and created something definitely worthwhile for fans of slow-burn, subdued horror."
– Keri O'Shea, Warped Perspective

“The film's undertones and story come together to create an uncomfortable situation for all involved, including the viewer.”
– Emilie Black, Cinema Crazed

“As well as Giannini, I must credit the pulsing soundtrack by Michael Vignola, and claustrophobic cinematography by Graham Guertin Santerre."
– Alix Turner, Ready Steady Cut

“Timely horror/thriller is beautifully horrifying."
– Ashleigh Gozy, Load And Clear Reviews

Mar 8, 2021

HXFF 2021 Online Film Festival Planning Survey

 A Hexploitation Film Festival Update from Director and Lead Programmer Aaron Allen

Hello film fiends,

It has been over a year since we held the 2020 edition of the Hexploitation Film Festival at The Staircase Theatre followed by our rocking afterparty at This Ain't Hollywood in Hamilton, ON. Since then, it has been a year of turmoil and uncertainty for all of us. We postponed our plans for a February 2021 festival, and festival operations went into a holding pattern. The Staircase closed. This Ain't Hollywood closed. The Staircase re-opened! It's been a real roller coaster of a year. And looking ahead, it's still quite uncertain when it will be safe for theatres to re-open at a large capacity again.

With this continued uncertainty in mind, and from the feedback we've received from longtime fans and supporters who truly missed having an HXFF to attend in February, we are now looking at launching the 2021 edition of HXFF as an online film festival in the Fall.

To this end, we are currently collecting feedback from fans and filmmakers about what they would like to see in an online version of the HXFF. I would like to invite you to leave your feedback by completing the survey below or click here to complete the survey on a new page. The survey is anonymous, contains only five questions, and should take no more than five minutes of your time to complete. Your feedback will help shape our plans for Hexploitation in 2021. 

The HXFF is an independent festival run by horror, exploitation, and genre film fans. Our passion is introducing fans to the best in indie thrills, chills, and kills. If it's not safe for you to come to us, we may have to come for you.

All the bloody best,

- Aaron Allen

Jul 22, 2020

Hexploitation Film Festival 2021 Indefinitely Postponed

Dear HXFF Fans, Filmmakers, and Supporters,

Due to COVID-19 and related circumstances that are beyond our control, and with the health and safety of all our supporters as top priority, the Hexploitation Film Festival has made the decision to postpone its February 2021 festival indefinitely.

Rest assured; we are working hard to make arrangements to return Hexploitation's unique brand of thrills, chills, and cinematic kills to the big screen at a later date in 2021 and in an alternative format. More news will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Click "Read More" to scroll down for our full statement and rationale behind this regrettable postponement.

Apr 27, 2020

CONTEST: Win RABID on DVD (Signed by Laura Vandervoort)!



Email info@hexfilmfest.com with RABID CONTEST in the subject line and include the following:

1) Your full name.

2) Indicate consent (write yes or no) to sign up for the HXFF email list for future fest, film screening, and contest updates and news

3.) Your full mailing address in Canada.

Contest closes at 11:59AM, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

Contest open to residents of  Canada only, the age of 18 or over. ONE ENTRY PER EMAIL. MULTIPLE ENTRIES WILL BE DELETED.

Winners will be chosen at random and contacted on Tuesday, April 28


Remake of the Classic David Cronenberg 1977 Horror Feature Film

Starring Laura Vandervoort and Ben Hollingsworth

Written and Directed by The Soska Sisters

For immediate release

Toronto, Canada – April 20, 2020 – Following the Canada-wide theatrical release, Rabid will now be available on Apple TV, Sony, Rogers, Bell, Shaw and DVD across Canada on April 28th. Written and Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker in A Trunk, American Mary) and John Serge, Rabid stars Laura Vandervoort (Jigsaw, V WARS, BITTEN) as “Rose” a demure seamstress who goes through a radical transformation after electing for plastic surgery following a disfiguring accident. Rabid is a remake of the classic 

David Cronenberg 1977 horror feature film which was executive produced by Ivan Reitman. Rabid also stars Ben Hollingsworth (CODE BLACK) as “Brad” a fashion photographer, WWE superstars CM Punk as “Billy” and his wife New York Times best-selling author AJ Mendez as “Kira.”

Drawing influence from the original movie, the remake is set in the seductive and glamourous world of high fashion and will follow Rose (Laura Vandervoort), a young woman whose disfigurement after an accident leads to a radical and untested stem-cell treatment. While turning Rose into the belle of the ball, the experimental transformation comes at a price.

“It’s a tremendous honour re-imagining David’s 1977 body horror classic, Rabid. Our Rabid is a continuation of the thoughts and conversation David started, but modernized through a female perspective. The film not only honours his original Rabid, but also Cronenberg’s entire body of work,” said Writer-Directors Jen and Sylvia Soska.

The Rabid DVD (Blu-ray and Standard) contains the following special features, Audio Commentary with Directors and Writers Jen and Sylvia Soska and an interview with star Laura Vandervoort. It is released by Shout! Factory on behalf of A71.

Rabid is produced by Back 40 Pictures in conjunction with Telefilm Canada, Ontario Media Development Corporation and London based, Media Finance Capital. Michael Walker, Paul Lalonde and John Vidette are the producers.

About A71 Entertainment:

A71 Entertainment is the leading independent distributor on the Canadian Feature Film landscape that focuses on acquiring award-winning and festival selected feature films. A71 applies a high level of strategic thinking to all acquisitions from the earliest possible stages of a film’s development. The company sets itself apart by virtue of a commitment to marketing titles on all levels - from industry to audience - with a specific commitment to reaching and building a broader audience. Previous releases include, LOVE JACKED, AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS, HONEY BEE, HARPOON (Certified Fresh) and SHE NEVER DIED. Future releases include the award-winning THE CUBAN, starring Oscar and Emmy award winner Louis Gossett Jr.