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Beat the devil

Gory times ahead as teams race to make horror flicks

Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival just got a little bigger.

After the closing number of Cirque du Horror, the main course of the five-year-old festival, the 48 Hours of Hell video race will begin its last lap on Saturday night. Short horror films concoted in just two days’ time will be screened — blood, body parts, fear and all.

Joshua Butler, president of the Denton-based Texas Filmmakers Inc., said he didn’t hesitate to join the free street festival that runs Saturday in downtown Denton.

“I had the feeling that hitching the video race with the festival would give the filmmakers a chance to have more people see their films,” Butler said. “And it also compresses the screening time. It makes sense. The timing of the festival and when we’ve typically done the race are the same. The themes are the same, and the participatory aspect is the same.

Texas Filmmakers started the video race in 2005, and has hosted it intermittently. The last race was in 2010. Winning teams get cash prizes.

Butler said the audience gets to screen the films at the same time as the judges. The audience’s taste will count for something.

“We will have an audience award,” Butler said.

Festivalgoers should think of it this way: Cirque du Horror, the original Halloween musical by Denton composer and musician David Pierce, is fit for the family. 48 Hours of Hell is the late, late show. It can involve blood, guts, sex and mayhem. (You’ve been warned, parents.)

“You never know what you’re going to get,” Butler said. “Some of the films are funny and campy, and some of the films have been violent. In past races, a woman got disemboweled on screen. Yeah, this isn’t for kids.”

— Lucinda Breeding

48 Hours of Hell: Steps for film crews

Register at for $100 per team.

At 6:30 p.m. today, log on to to get the required elements: a location, the film’s theme and a line of dialogue.

Plan. Write. Shoot. Wrap. Edit.

Bring your finished film to the finish line on Hickory Street at the Day of the Dead Festival, or upload it to the website, by 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Attend the screening at 11 p.m. at Dan’s Silverleaf. Cash prizes are awarded to first and second place.