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Nightmares Film Festival Reveals Its 2019 “Better Horror” Program

Nightmares Film Festival is one of the most highly regarded horror film fests in the United States, and here’s proof: It has been called one of the world’s best horror film festivals by virtually every major genre outlet, and has maintained its position as the world’s top-rated genre festival on the submission platform FilmFreeway for 35 consecutive months. Now, Nightmares Film Festival has outdone even its most legendary stuffed-to-bursting programs with 2019’s lineup, which will pack 190 of the best features and shorts from around the world into this year’s four-day event, which runs Oct. 24–27.

“We are so honored the world’s best genre creators trust us to present their work,” said co-founder and programmer Jason Tostevin. “This year, we have assembled more ‘better horror’ for our Nightmares audience than ever before.”

The Lodge

Leading the lineup are 24 features from both beloved horror filmmakers and important new voices in genre film. Included are Hammer Films’s The Lodge, from the makers of Goodnight Mommy, which I reviewed (spoiler free) for Gruesome Magazine — stating “There’s plenty on hand here to unnerve, and the movie delivers what I consider to be the most harrowing ending in a fright film since Ben Wheatley’s Kill List”  — and which will absolutely be on my list of the 10 best horror films of 2019. I also reviewed offbeat comedy Lake Michigan Monster for Gruesome, which fans of the bizarre, surreal, and experimental should check out.

Z

Two shockers with the shared theme of imaginary childhood friends come highly recommended from yours truly. Closing night film Z, from the creators of It Stains the Sand Red and Still/Born, is a creepy Canadian offering with strong performances. Daniel Isn’t Real, from the producers of Mandy and The Greasy Strangler; boasts crazed visuals and terrific turns from its two second-generation lead actors. 

A Nun’s Curse

Nightmares Film Festival is also featuring the world premiere of Gruesome Magazine favorite Tommy Faircloth (Dollface)’s newest film, A Nun’s Curse. The Carpenter Brut-scored Blood Machines is a mind-bending science fiction trip. Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made is a head trip certain to disturb and upset.

Blood Machines

Also on tap are VFW, from the director of Almost Human; Eat Brains Love, adapted from the popular novel; Jörg Buttgereit‘s infamously banned necrophilic exploitation film Nekromantik; brand new horror comedy anthology Scare Package; She Never Died, the sequel to the 2015 Henry Rollins action-horror film He Never Died; the world premiere of FX artist Marcus Koch (We Are Still Here)’s doc on the history of extreme cinema, Beyond Horror.

VFW

One of Nightmares’s best known traditions, the Late Night Mind Fuck — called “one of the most dangerous and challenging blocks of programming at any festival” (The Film Coterie), returns this year with two world premieres. First is The Obsessed from extreme Italian director Domiziano Christopharo (previous NFF winner Torment), a body horror freak-out based on the manic descent of Bjork’s stalker. And at 2 a.m. is the dark, harrowing and sexually explicit 29 Needles.

The festival’s reputation for presenting the best curated shorts blocks on the planet continues with a lineup of more than 150 horror, thriller, midnight and horror comedy short films, including dozens of world premieres. Its Recurring Nightmares blocks are also back, highlighting NFF audience favorites returning with new work, and its Ohio shorts blocks will offer up some of the best locally made films. Among the superb shorts on tap are a few for which I have written spoiler-free Gruesome Magazine reviews, and that I can urge Nightmare attendees to add to their “need to see” lists: Kyle Martellacci’s witchcraft tale She Must Vanish, “fever dream of terror” Water Horse, and bizarre British creepfest The Third Hand.

Nightmares has also named the 13 finalists in its short and feature screenplay contests. These screenwriters will be given the chance to connect with selected filmmakers to explore production of their scripts through the NFF FinaLIST matching service.

All selected competition films and screenplays vie for a coveted Night Mare statuette, representing the dark horses of genre. The Night Mare is sculpted and painted by renowned toy and figure creator Tony Simione (Marvel, Star Wars, Godzilla, and Alien). 

A complete list of features, shorts and screenplay finalists follows below.

Want to make the pilgrimage to Nightmares this year? Some passes are still available, though they always sell out. 

For more information, check out https://www.nightmaresfest.com/.

FEATURE FILMS

The Lodge       

Swallow

FEATURE FILMS

The Lodge       

Swallow

The Girl on the Third Floor     

VFW

Nekromantik   

Eat, Brains, Love         

Daniel Isn’t Real

She Never Died

Blood Machines

A Nun’s Curse

Reckoning

Antrum            

1BR 

To Your Last Death     

Making Monsters

Z          

Beyond Horror            

Slaughterhouse Slumber Party

Ghost Killers vs Bloody Mary

The Obsessed

Scare Package

29 Needles

Puppet Killer   

Lake Michigan Monster

HORROR SHORTS

Boo

Boo

Trust Me

Melody

In Sound, We Live Forever

The Tattooist

To Enter You Must

Off Fleek

Atomic Ed

Steve And The Dead Girl

Creaker

She Must Vanish

Inferno

Piggy

Lippy

A-Symmetry

The Burden

Destroyer of Worlds

Room 106

The Vicious

Water Horse

How To Be Alone

Night Crawl

Nest

Plainsong

Tick

Twig

Portraits of Fright

Z-GOAT: First Bleat

Asian She – Competitive Mourning

The Third Hand

She Fell

Songs My Mother Taught Me

Attention

MJ

Tagged

Ferine

A Doll Distorted

I Learned How to Drive at the End of the World

Limbo

Headcleaner

Check

The Orchestra

Trust Me

Melody

In Sound, We Live Forever

The Tattooist

To Enter You Must

Off Fleek

Atomic Ed

Steve And The Dead Girl

Creaker

She Must Vanish

Inferno

Piggy

Lippy

A-Symmetry

The Burden

Destroyer of Worlds

Room 106

The Vicious

Water Horse

How To Be Alone

Night Crawl

Nest

Plainsong

Tick

Twig

Portraits of Fright

Z-GOAT: First Bleat

Asian She – Competitive Mourning

The Third Hand

She Fell

Songs My Mother Taught Me

Attention

MJ

Tagged

Ferine

A Doll Distorted

I Learned How to Drive at the End of the World

Limbo

Headcleaner

Check

The Orchestra

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.