5 regional film festivals have joined forces to present an exciting roster of both new & classic horror: here’s what we’re most excited about.
So with the news that Dune, Black Widow, West Side Story and the rest of 2020’s expected tentpole movies have been pushed back to next year (and The Batman to 2022, which seems inconceivably long from now), the outlook for movie lovers is bleak at best. Horror movies, on the other hand, seem to be thriving more than ever, and rather than postpone until it’s 100% safe to go to the theater again, five regional horror film festivals — the Boston Underground Film Festival, Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, North Bend Film Fest, The Overlook Film Festival, and Popcorn Frights Film Festival — have collaborated on Nightstream, a virtual festival screening an eye-popping selection of feature films, documentaries, and both live-action and animated shorts. Available online from October 8th through the 11th, Nightstream will also be hosting panels and events covering everything from the 20th anniversary of Mary Harron’s American Psycho, to trivia contests, to an interview with Nia DaCosta, director of the eagerly awaited reboot of Candyman.
Though there’s something available for nearly everyone (even those who are indifferent at best to horror), here’s our five hot festival picks:
Run (USA, directed by Aneesh Chaganty): Receiving opening night honors, Aneesh Chaganty directs Sarah Paulson as a loving but overprotective mother whose wheelchair-bound daughter (Kiera Allen) begins having strange, seemingly otherworldly experiences in their house. Paulson, who always gives her very best even when working with sub-par material (see the recent Ratched), will likely add her special brand of warm-but-kind-of-spooky energy in what’s described as “a nail-biting Hitchcockian thriller.”
Black Bear (USA, directed by Lawrence Michael Levine): Aubrey Plaza stars as a filmmaker who finds inspiration (and possibly more) in the disturbed couple she stays with in an Adirondacks lake house. This surreal comedy-thriller tests the boundaries between artistic license and reality, joining such other memorable head-scratchers as Being John Malkovich and Charlie McDowell’s The One I Love.
My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To (USA, directed by Jonathan Cuartas): Jonathan Cuartas writes and directs an eerie sort-of-vampire horror-drama about adult siblings (Patrick Fugit and Ingrid Sophie Schram) driven to murder in order to keep their gravely ill younger brother alive. Certain to pose uncomfortable questions about how far one should be willing to go to protect and save a loved one, My Heart Can’t Beat is but one example of how expansive and exciting “horror” as a genre can be.
Frank & Zed (USA, directed by Jesse Blanchard): Among the wilder fare of the festival, Frank & Zed, entirely performed by hand puppets, is a bloody comedy about two monsters whose peaceful lives are interrupted by panicked villagers hoping to pay tribute to a long-dormant demon. Relying entirely on practical effects, and with forty separate puppets designed for it (plus something called an Orgy of Blood), Frank & Zed seems destined for cult movie status.
Mandibles (France, directed by Quentin Dupieux): Another film in the lineup that leans as much towards comedy as horror, France’s Mandibles gets closing night honors. Two friends find a giant fly that, rather than run screaming from it, they decide to train and turn into a money-making attraction. Lighter, sillier fare than Dupieux’s last feature Deerskin, a movie that could be summed up as “Dude, Where’s My Bug?” seems designed to be an audience favorite.
Nightstream will also be screening such oddities as 1990’s Christian-themed vampire flick Def by Temptation, and Japanese splattercore Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell, as well as a collection of short films. Non-fiction fare includes Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist, and Shock Value: How Dan O’Bannon and Some USC Outsiders Helped Invent Modern Horror. In addition to films, panels discussing Indonesian horror, horror literature, and horror comics will be featured, as well as online trivia contests, and livestream recordings of such podcasts as Maximum Fun’s Switchblade Sisters, and Horror Queers. Being stuck in your home will never be more spookily entertaining.
Festival passes and ticket packages are available now, visit Nightstream’s official site for more details!