By Alison Dewey, Southend Bid manager

Southend’s season of cultural events begins with the seventh edition of Horror-on-Sea, the UK’s largest independent festival devoted to the film genre.

In fact, it is now so big that it now runs across two weekends – starting today.

This year’s programme features a hand-picked mix of the very latest British and international horror films, and is also an internationally recognised showcase for young writers, directors and producers.

That means Southend will be once again be thronged with people gathering – from not just the UK but around the world – to see the very latest movies and scare themselves silly.

READ MORE: Gore blimey! Horror-on-Sea Fest is back... with a 'killer' line-up

Horror fans will also have the chance to meet the movie makers and participate in a masterclass, hosted by local legend Pat Higgins, at the Park Inn by Radisson Palace Hotel from 3pm tomorrow.

Something of a regular at Horror-on-Sea, Higgins is once again poised to presenting a fully-interactive show about horror, screenwriting and filmmaking.

Given that Southend has numerous colleges, sixth forms and a university, I expect that many students pursuing qualifications and future careers in the creative industries will not only have lots to see and enjoy but also learn from the festival too.

For a full list visit or call the festival hotline on 07981 824 283.