If Denise Gossett has made you cringe, bite your lower lip, sweat profusely, hyperventilate or scream, than she’s done her job. No, she doesn’t work for the IRS. With help from her husband, she runs L.A.’s most successful and entertaining horror film festival, Shriekfest. For a solid decade, not only has Shriekfest enthralled multitudes, it’s been responsible for kickstarting a huge number of careers. Denise has been on the other side of that fence as a professional actress herself. She started this festival “after starring in a horror film 11 years ago, and I wanted the producers to put it in festivals,” she explains. “I was told that there weren’t any horror festivals. So I told my sister-in-law and she said let’s do it.” Shriekfest attracts a growing number of filmmakers and audience members each year. “We cater to the independent film, not the studio films.” Alas, this year’s festival has already passed. Check the website for 2011 details. shriekfest.com. —Todd David Schwartz

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