Nightmares Film Festival, FilmFreeway’s #1-ranked genre fest, today revealed its 2023 program of #BetterHorror. In its eighth year, the fest is building even more community beyond the screen with the addition of live experiences to its heralded #BetterHorror film and screenplay slate.
The four-day Nightmare program once again delivers a must-see lineup collected from new and beloved genre voices around the world, with highlights including the boundary-smashing queer coming-of-age midnighter The People’s Joker, notoriously pulled from TIFF; the world premiere of Zac Locke’s (#Float) psychological Christmas horror Santa Isn’t Real; the U.S. premiere of Stewart Sparke’s (Book of Monsters) classic-creature horror comedy How to Kill Monsters; horror comedy anthology Cryptids, featuring The Last Drive-In’s Joe Bob Briggs; and nightmare fuel Abruptio, a descent into madness created entirely with lifelike puppets.
In all, the NFF will present 17 feature films and more than 150 horror, thriller, midnight, horror comedy and documentary shorts – including themed blocks like werewolf shorts hour Hairy Situations, holiday shorts hour Slay Ride and the alumni Recurring Nightmares blocks – while honoring 22 feature and short script finalists and returning its anticipated annual interactive panels, Social Progress Through Horror and The New Distribution.
But according to NFF co-founders Jason Tostevin and Chris Hamel, that wasn’t enough.
“NFF has become known just as much for the camaraderie and welcoming community it creates as for our extraordinary genre lineup,” they said in a statement. “This year, we wanted to build on those connections by bringing our audience together for fun, unique experiences that let them celebrate horror and one another.”
The Friday night live experience is Nightmare Trivia, created exclusively for Nightmares and composed of horror-themed songs and movie clips. On Saturday the fest welcomes horror host Aurora Gorealis for the Shocktail Hour Halloween Mixtape, with lost horror video segments and Aurora’s Tournament of Terror game show. And Sunday’s live experience is a hands-on workshop on pitching your film to press with New York Times horror reviewer Erik Piepenburg.
All NFF live experiences are free to badgeholders. A complete initial schedule (subject to minor changes) and list of selections and screenplays is available here.
The festival once again takes place at the legendary independent Gateway Film Center, a top five North American art house (Sundance) featuring one of the last dedicated projection teams in the country. Upgrading the already standout on-site experience this year is the film center’s remodeled and expanded overlook festival lounge, where VIP badge holders can hang out with creators while enjoying a private bar and restrooms, a new kitchen menu and private entrance to both festival auditoriums.
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, Alien).