The best horror films are at MOTELX

Ever since its first edition in 2007, MOTELX has screened the most recent horror features from all corners of the world, as well as retrospectives and homages sometimes accompanied by its directors, the greats of the horror genre.

Besides feature films another programming highlights are the short films, national and international, before each screening or on their on at "Short Films at Lunch". The MOTELX Awards, recognizing the best Portuguese horror short film and the best European feature film are one of the Festival's highlights.


All the films screened at MOTELX are divided in several sections, including contemporary cinema, short films, retrospectives, children's programming and documentaries.

Méliès d'Argent Award - Best European Feature Film

One of the highlights of the 10th edition was the launching of our first feature film competition: the Méliès d'argent Award - Best European Feature Film. Along with the Méliès d'argent Award - Best European Short Film, there will also be a feature film chosen at MOTELX for the annual Méliès International Festivals Federation gala, thus contributing to the promotion and awareness of genre cinema made in the old continent. Previous Méliès d’or winners include Álex de la Iglesia’s “Day of the Beast”, Michael Winterbottom’s “Code 46”, Pascal Laugier’s “Martyrs”, and Thomas Alfredson’s “Let the Right One In”.

Room Service

In a joint and continuous effort between local distributors and international sales, MOTELX is the ideal place for the promotion and release of the greatest horror films. Since its first edition, the Festival has an original and carefully curated programme that has definitively captured the audience. The presence of directors, actors, producers, and technicians who visit the Festival to present their films is common, often scheduling Q&A sessions at the end of their screenings.

Doc Horror

Doc Horror is the section where films about great authors, classics, sub genres, or unknown cinematographies are screened. Documentaries that introduce the element of reality and help to contextualize the strange “pleasure” of watching horror films. The strand of reflection, formation and study are always present in the programming of each edition. Fear is a primary instinct, easy to provoke, even causing dependence, and which has an after-effect of adrenaline recreating universes, extending the emotions and stimulating memory like no other film genre. In each edition the objective is to create a place where you can analyse the effect and fascination that fear has on mankind since the beginning of time.

Cult of the Living Masters.

To consolidate the objective of encouraging and promoting the production of Portuguese horror films, MOTELX has been receiving a special guests, authors whose career is determining for the genre and who can transmit their experience to those who want to learn the art of frightening through the big screen. With the presence of a living Master in the Festival, a selection of his most notable films is screened. Masters of Horror who have previously attended MOTELX include: Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, George A. Romero, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Dario Argento, Roger Corman, and many others.

Special Screenings

Homages, anniversaries, restored copies, series, and others. MOTELX's special screenings aim for a sensibility to the “terrifying present” and the “fearful past” that surround us in Portugal and worldwide for a programme full of surprises.

International shorts

International shorts are part of the Festival's programme since its origins. A short before a feature film or in special screenings dedicated to this format (as is the case of the "Short Films at Lunch", 45 minutes of cinema at a special price). In this section we can also find national short films out of competition.

Big Bad Wolf

The section that presents horror (but little) to the youngest audience through films screenings and playful activities. With screenings in Cinema São Jorge, Teatro Tivoli BBVA, Cinemateca Júnior, and, more recently, in Museu Berardo, the Big Bad Wolf intends to reconcile the relationship between children’s stories and the universe of horror, understanding that both are important steps in overcoming fears and insecurities that make the child become a young adult. 


In 2020, MOTELX presented a special programme of experimental horror short films, a dialogue between the chaotic wonders of experimental filmmaking and cinematic horror, both sharing the grounds of counter-culture. Stylistic challenges and alternative approaches, experiments that (re)built today and tomorrow’s horror films’ visual identity, bringing forth a new cinematographic soil to manifest the phantasm of horror in underground filmmaking.


Every year MOTELX hosts a world of activities and events based on the horror genre that goes beyond regular screenings. These parallel events not only enhance the dynamic of the Festival's venues but also of Lisbon, in a city-wide celebration of horror.

Masterclasses with some of the genre's masters, workshops on a wide variety of topics regarding production of horror films, horror games nights and (not so) horror games afternoons, the MOTELquiz or the DJ Sets nights t Lounge MOTELX, are some of the events happening during the Festival's.

The MOTELX Warm-Up is also starting to become a recurring part of the Lisbon calendar, with events starting in the first days of September. Our open air screenings are the most highlighted nights of the Warm-Up. These activities aim to promote the Festival as well as the horror genre and those in it.

Open Air Screenings

Since 2013, as part of the Warm-up events preceding the Festival, MOTELX has been organizing free outdoor cinema sessions that have already taken place in several emblematic locations in the city such as the Largo de São Carlos, o Largo Trindade Coelho, o Palácio Pimenta - Museu de Lisboa, o Campo das Cebolas - Largo José Saramago, among others.

Performing Arts and Cinema

Usually during the MOTELX Warm-Up, but also during the Festival days, new proposals that intersect various disciplines and explore horror as a theme of artistic expression. We have already brought together the renowned writer Gonçalo M. Tavares with the well-known rapper Papillon in a staged reading at the Convento São Pedro de Alcântara, where pianist Filipe Raposo also performed, along with the theater company Primeiros Sintomas or Edgar Pêra in 3D version. We delved into the darker side of Fernando Pessoa in an interactive performance at the Espaço Brotéria and hosted Surma, Legendary Tigerman with Rita Redshoes at the Cinema São Jorge, the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra at Palácio Pimenta - Lisboa Museum, Acid Acid at Cais do Sodré.

Workshops and Masterclasses

As one of the Festival's objectives is to promote the production of horror cinema in Portugal, MOTELX has been offering practical workshops on various topics from the early days. Characterization and prosthetics, digital animation, techniques for making low-budget films, scriptwriting, stunt work, are some of the topics already covered. Every year, masterclasses or public conversations with the honored guests of each edition also take place.


The Festival's funnest event. A quiz for all horror and movie fans to come and test their knowledge, while taking part in a night of total craziness.


Since the first year, MOTELX has been taking advantage of the spaces where the Festival takes place to present exhibitions of all kinds, always revolving around the theme of horror. From jewelry to photography, and even props and visual arts.


Sleepless nights in the most iconic venues in Lisbon or at Lounge MOTELX, with local and international DJs and artists.
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