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Welcome to the Haunted Garage version of Ted Talks. Every year our festival is graced with experts in the horror space. From PhD's on morbid curiosity, to legendary horror filmmakers, we love to bring in wildly wicked talent to chat with us about their horror experience. We hope

to inspire and enrich the minds of horror filmmakers and writers

across the hemisphere. 


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Lillian Schenck

Master of Scaremonies 

Lillian is Shift Films very own think tank and in-house daredevil. When she's not throwing out new ideas, she's throwing herself out of airplanes, knives, riding a motorcycle, or learning about post-mortem trauma reconstruction. She has a penchant for the macabre, cross country motorcycle trips, and true-crime. Lillian has worked as an editor for a number of in-house short films, including the upcoming feature film documentaries on the suicide of Elsa Lemp (2024) and The Lost Boys of Hannibal (2024) and graduates from a mortuary science program in September. She is certified in knife combat for the stage, a classically trained stage actor, and the voice of many corporate training videos across the country. She is pursuing a license in funeral directing.

Patrick Rea

Saturday, Oct 7, 2023 - 12:15PM

Patrick Rea is a prolific, award-winning filmmaker known for his innovative storytelling in the horror and suspense genres. His short films have received recognition at numerous film festivals, including a Heartland Emmy Award for "Woman's Intuition."


Rea co-directed the "Jake Johanssen, I Love You" comedy special for Showtime and won another Heartland Emmy for "Get Off My Porch." He has also contributed to CBS's Daytime Emmy-Winning show "The Inspectors."


His feature films, including "Nailbiter" and "Arbor Demon," have been widely distributed on various platforms.


Rea's recent work, "They Wait In The Dark," premiered at FrightFest in 2022 and received positive reviews, even from The New York Times. It's considered one of the Best Horror Films of 2023 and holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Patrick resides in Kansas City, Missouri, with his family.

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Dr. Coltan Scrivner

Saturday, Oct 7, 2023 - 2:45PM

Coltan Scrivner, Ph.D., is an author, behavioral scientist, and leading expert on the psychology behind morbid curiosity, horror, and true crime. 


"Why We're Fascinated With Monsters and Murderers" 

Why do monsters look and behave the way they do? What are the features of monsters and murderers that keep us coming back for more? This talk will explain the science behind our love of scary genres like horror and true crime, and explore why some tropes just won't die.  

Learn more about Coltan

Dr. Athena Aktipis

Friday, Oct 6, 2023 - 7:00PM

Athena is a cooperation theorist, social psychologist, theoretical evolutionary biologist, and cancer biologist who now works at the intersection of these fields. In 2019, Aktipis started a podcast called “Zombified” that explores how we are vulnerable to being “hijacked” by everything from parasites to monstrous algorithms. In 2020, Aktipis published the critically acclaimed book, The Cheating Cell: How evolution helps us understand and treat cancer.


Aktipis is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. Her new book, "A Field Guide to the Apocalypse: A Mostly Serious Guide to Surviving Our Wild Times," is forthcoming from Workman. She is passionate about building interdisciplinary teams to tackle tough questions, empowering students to learn about the topics they are most curious about, and leveraging cooperation theory to improve our universities and the broader communities in which we are all embedded. She also writes and performs comedy, especially musical parodies about the apocalypse and zombification.

Listen to Zombified Follow Athena

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