This is Fearcon's first showing at a mainstream theater, in contrast to the small theaters it has appeared at in the past.
"We've grown very organically, little by little, taking baby steps. Because of that, now we've moved into a commercial theater," Chris McLennan, the festival's director, said. "Everything has grown exponentially from what it was."
Since its beginnings in 2006 as the Phoenix Fear Film Festival, the Fearcon has shown screenings of independent horror films by unknown directors at smaller theaters to a sizeable audience.
The idea of Fearcon was born out of Mr. McLennan's exhaustion from years of reviewing film festivals for Trash City Magazine.
"We could show a bunch of films. And when you're not watching movies, have some things to do. Make it a cool event to go to where it's not boring, it's very interactive. There's lots of stuff to do, and there's a bunch of independent films that are low-budget and not getting seen by anybody," Mr. Mclennan said. "That was, for us, a perfect film festival."
To Mr. Mclennan's surprise, the opening night of the first Fearcon had a big resonance with local citizens.
"We had the film festival at this tiny little art gallery that held 75 people. On the first night of the film festival, 150 people showed up," he said.
The festival gradually grew to include more events in correspondence with the films shown.
This year, Fearcon holds a panel discussion, a question-and-answer segment with the casts and crews of the films, a zombie fashion show, a costume contest, and special guests like Fred Williamson of From Dusk Till Dawn fame and scream queen Tiffany Shepis.
Fearcon's volunteers, nicknamed "minions," help moderate the event throughout the day, motivated to help by their own enjoyment of horror films and desire to keep the art thriving.
"I've been a makeup artist for about 20 years, and my first makeup job was working in a haunted house. So I've always had a passion for horror and monsters," volunteer Ron Titone said. "I figured this would be a good way to meet people and get out into the ‘monster community.'"
With an expected attendance of nearly 1,500, volunteer coordinator Spring Benton noted that the volunteers are a crucial role in helping Fearcon run smoothly.
"It's going to be huge with the movies, zombies, the guests we have, and the vendors," Mr. Benton said. "The volunteers will be a huge help."
The Phoenix Fearcon is from noon to 1 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 at Ultrastar Cinemas. Admission is $15 and VIP tickets are $40.
Editor's note: Mr. Buel is a journalism student at Arizona State University