Recap: Nightmares Film Festival



This past weekend Nightmares Film Festival invaded the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio. For the second year Nightmares brought #BetterHorror to the buckeye state. ECHG writer Adam Holtzapfel shares his thoughts on the must attend film festival for genre lovers.

Thursday kicked off the festival with Adam Green bringing his newest film Victor Crowley. That was followed up by 1 of 10 screenings of Leatherface, the newest entry in the Texas Chainsaw franchise and a block of Horror Comedy Shorts, which those that stayed for were rewarded with a great mix of humor and horror. The shorts block consisted of Nuts, I Love You So Much It’s Killing Them, What’s For Dinner?, Meow, Girl #2, Lunch Ladies, Holiday Fear, Dickeaters, & We Summoned A Demon


Friday brought a full day of movies and conversation kicking off at 9am with a Blood Breakfeast hosted by Jeff Frumess and followed by his film Romeo’s Distress at 10am. The rest of the day for me involved Midnighters, I‘m Dreaming Of A White Doomsday, Gags, Blood ShedBong Of The Living Dead, Compulsion, and She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodenss Sake. Options spanning two screens for attendees also included Capture Kill Release, House Shark, 3 Dead Trick Or Treaters, Terror Of Frankenstein with Director’s Commentary (think of it as almost like MST3K), Horror Shorts A, Thriller Shorts A, and Midnight Shorts B.





Saturday brought the insanity kicking off with Ruin Me at 10am. The rest of the day I caught Scars Of Xavier, Devil’s Due, Unnuyayuk, NFF Awards, Thriller Shorts B (consisting of Pickup, Ex, Jax In Love, Unfriendlies, Here + After, The Fainting Room, The Son The Father, The Dark Hunger), Found Footage 3D, and parts of the midnight mindfuck features and shorts To My Mother & Father, When Susurrus Stirs, Flesh Of The Void, Torment, & Le Accelerator. Other films playing between both screens were Creep 2, Two Pigeons, Rock, Paper, Dead (with most of the cast and crew in attendance), blocks of Midnight and Horror shorts, Melanie Gaydos Shorts, Hostile, and panels covering the death and resurrection of horror media and social progress through horror.





Night Mare Award Winners


iHorror Award – Ruin Me

Best Thriller Feature – Scars Of Xavier

Best Midnight Feature – Le Accelerator

Best Director Feature – Max Groah (Bong Of The Living Dead)

Best Ohio Feature – Blood Ride

Best Horror Comedy Feature – House Shark

Best Cinematography Feature – She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake

Best Screenplay Feature – Rock, Paper, Dead

Best Actor Feature – Kirby Light (Unnuyayuk)

Best Actress Feature – Hope Bikle (I’m Dreaming Of A White Doomsday)

Best Horror Short – Daughters Of Virtue

Best Thriller Short – Too Fast To Paris

Best Midnight Short – Doll

Best Ohio Short – Bride Of Frankie

Best Horror Comedy Short – Lunch Ladies

Best Director Short – Michael Panduro (The Sunken Convent)

Best Cinematography Short – The Cure

Best Screenplay Short -Nasty Robin Goodfellow

Best Actor Short – Lukas Hassel (The Father, The Son)

Best Actress Short – Rakefet Abergel (Jax In Love)

Esprit De Gore – Jeff Frumess

Best Of The Fest – Torment

Best Overall Short – Creswick

Best Overall Feature – Flesh Of The Void

From the screenplay contest the winners are Red Bud for best short and Tracker for best feature with feature runner ups being Night Association and Silhouette.





As the fest wound down on Sunday attendees were treated to several homegrown features and shorts. The day started with blocks of Thriller and Horror shorts, followed by a block of Ohio Shorts (Elly, Mother’s Milk, Code 207, Bucket, Silent Ring, and Tales From The Blood Fairies), Primordial, a second block of Ohio Shorts, Blood Ride, & Don’t Fuck In The Woods.


With the 2nd year of Nightmares boasting over 150 features and shorts including world premieres and some bigger name films with hype surrounding them it still kept the focus of the #BetterHorror mission. Seeing filmmakers chatting with each other and fans about their projects the goal of networking was well at the forefront. All of the films I saw were great, the ones I didn’t like were because they weren’t my cup of tea (the only exception being Gags, but you’ll see more on that in the coming weeks).


Being held on a weekend that competes with Highball Halloween and the local haunted attractions the fest drew an impressive crowd that will continue to grow. Victor Crowley had a packed screening while Bong Of The Living Dead sold out. Most screenings had good sized crowds. As buzz generates the more casual genre fans will leave their comfort zone to see more independent films at Nightmares.


My only complaint from last year to this year was it seemed showtimes last year were more staggered so attendees could ping pong back and forth from one theater to the next. Due to the number of films this year it made attendees choose, which is great but the caveat is at times some films my have been looked over (it happens, even at horror conventions).


Submission are being taken for 2018 Nightmares Film Festival here.