COVID-19 has caused havoc all over the place. One specific area is in the realm of film festivals. Across the globe, these cinematic showcases have been cancelled or forced online. It’s tough for these fests, especially smaller ones, to make a go of it with their usually limited resources. To combat this, a handful of niche genre fests have banded together to create the Nightstream Film Festival, an online horror film celebration that kicks off this week. It’s not an ideal situation for anyone, but the lineup is super rad and definitely one to check out for horror fans.
The Boston Underground Film Festival, Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival, North Bend Film Festival, and Popcorn Frights Film Festival all threw their hats into the ring for Nightstream. (To be fair, there’s a good amount of crossover between folks who run/work for all these fests, so them all coming together like Voltron definitely makes sense.)
Running from October 8-11, Nightstream assembled an absolutely fantastic lineup of horror features, short films, virtual panels, online workshops, events, and much more. It’s all very innovative and impressive.
There’s a ton to see and do packed into a single long weekend. With that in mind, here are some suggestions of movies we’ve seen already and loved, and other things we’re looking forward to watching.
This is obviously a limited selection, so if this sound like a good time, make sure to check out the full Nightstream schedule. There’s so much I’m pre bummed about everything I already know I’m going to miss.
A teen haunted by night terrors and hellish dreams enrolls in a sleep study that turns into something much, much darker. Come True has a buzz around it from other festivals and I can’t wait to take a gander for myself.
Creepy children, a tyrannical parent, a possible post-apocalyptic scenario outside; this Italian features has a lot going on and much to recommend it.
I’m not quite as in love with John Hsu’s time-shifting historical ghost story and many others. However, there is much I like and it’s well worth a look for escalating terror and stress as it explores a dark chapter of Taiwanese history.
Dinner in America
A movie I called a “middle-finger-flying, punk-rock-fuck-you of a love story.” I stand by that. Adam Carter Rehmeier’s film also captures the edge of being an outsider in a bland suburban landscape you want nothing to do with like few others.
Sure, Ryuhei Kitamura’s post Versus filmography is a mixed bag, but the premise of an ex-Marine-turned-NYC-doorman (Ruby Rose) violently battling a gang of baddies led by Jean Reno is too good to ignore.
Frank and Zed
A gothic horror thriller starring puppets. I’m a simple person with simple tastes and damn, and yes, just yes.
Satiric sci-fi that’s garnered comparisons to Sorry to Bother You, Lapsis definitely has my attention. The dystopian parable about a scam artist with a new hustle that’s too good to be true has been on my radar for a minute.
I missed this one covering Fantasia, so I’m hyped to finally check it out. Heard nothing but fantastic things about this feminist take on a home invasion story.
May the Devil Take You, Too
Sure, Timo Tjahjanto has delivered some of the best bone-snapping action movies in recent memory, like The Night Comes for Us, but he’s also a diehard horror kid. The Indonesian director returns with a sequel to his possession tale, May the Devil Take You. This follow up involves teen orphans and more dark forces. What else do you need?
Love him or hate him, a Quentin Depieux movie is always something to behold. And who better to tell the tale of two friends who find a giant fly in the trunk of a car and train it to make them money?
The Queen of Black Magic
Probably best known for his collaborations with Timo Tjahjanto, as the Mo Brothers, Kimo Stamboel (DreadOut) certainly stands on his own two horror feet. We’ve been keeping an eye on this team up with writer Joko Anwar (Satan’s Slaves) for a while, and this tale of a haunted orphanage looks traumatizing as hell. Love a good Indonesian witch horror.