New festival celebrates the best of the horror genre

Nightstream brings over 40 horror movies to fans

Spooky season is here. This year, multiple film festivals teamed up to create a horror movie marathon.
Published: October 5, 2020
Nightstream Film Festival virtual horror movie event Oct. 8-11, 2020

2020 has been hellish, why not embrace it? From Oct. 8-11, experience hell from your couch with Nightstream Film Festival, a cross-country collaborative effort from the Boston Underground Film Festival, Brooklyn Horror Festival, North Bend Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival and the Popcorn Nights Film Festival. Nightstream is a first-of-its-kind, online-only genre streaming festival determined to freak you out in the safety of your own home.

Opening with the world premiere of “Run,” starring Sarah Paulson, Nightstream boasts 23 film premieres such as Ryûhei Kitamura’s Ruby Rose-led action thriller, “The Doorman” and Indonesian possession horror “May the Devil Take You Too.” A true genre festival, Nightstream runs the gamut from the bloody body horror of “The Queen of Black Magic,” to closing night’s “Mandibles,” Quentin Dupieux’s buddy creature comedy.

Other streaming films include “Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist,” an in-depth documentary on Friedkin’s artistic process for “The Exorcist.” The festival also presents a retro series including “Shock Value: How Dan O’Bannon and some USC outsiders helped invent modern horror,” a compilation of student shorts from O’Bannon and John Carpenter, and the world premiere restoration of “Deadline,” a Canuxploitation import about a horror author with an inventive remedy for writer’s block.

Each of the five participating film festivals also presents a short film program, with themed compilations such as “The Dunwich Horrors: New England Shorts,” “Slayed: LGBTQ Horror Shorts,”International Midnighters,” an attention-span preserving way to meet horror’s rising stars.

Nightstream’s offerings extend beyond films, presenting a virtual fireside chat with director Nia Dacosta regarding the state of the film industry and her upcoming film “Candyman,” a 20th Anniversary Celebration of “American Psycho” with director Mary Harron, a Horror Camp! overview hosted by underground drag icon Peaches Christ, genre discussions of Indonesian and Mexican horror, as well as a slew of podcasts covering queer cinema, feminism, and horror history. 

Further special events include Rated R Speakeasy’s live-streamed opening night party, a movie trivia night, a Horror Homecoming with Peaches Christ, nightly ghost stories by “Spooked” podcast and Strange Storytelling Hour, and a ghost story roundtable hosted by Emmet Montgommery. If all the talk of blood and ghosts is making you a little thirsty, IFC Midnight brings their “Evening Ritual” series, a knightly cocktail kickoff that invites you to follow along with special guests including Elijah Wood and Barbara Crampton as they make their favorite cocktails. 

Created in response to the film community’s struggles with COVID-19, Nightstream hopes to offer the film festival experience to a wide U.S. audience – one of the few horror festivals to open its doors to the entire county. Or, you know, ax them down. 

How to watch

Fans can head to the Nightstream website to purchase badges from $25-$99 and view the daily screening schedule for Oct. 8-11.