Nightmares Film Festival 2023: Day 3

Night Mare 2023 568x320 - Nightmares Film Festival 2023: Day 3

Saturdays are just as busy as Fridays at Nightmares Film Festival. There were another seven blocks of short films, including two super fun ones themed towards holiday horror and werewolves (respectively). All in all, more than 50 shorts were played throughout the day.

The features were equally varied, with a little bit of something for everyone. The Deep Dark offered up Lovecraftian creature-feature chills. Trunk was another expertly-crafted thriller. Cryptids brought the funny in the form of an anthology film presided over by a radio show host who was played by none other than Joe Bob Briggs. Butchers Book Two: Raghorn dished out a sister film follow-up to 2020’s Butchers, gifting us a new anthology-like series of films that already has a third entry on the way. Abruptio had midnight weirdness covered with a paranoid thriller chock full of puppet-fueled dread. On top of all of that, there was also a screening of the controversial parody film, The People’s Joker. Like I said, something for everyone.

If that weren’t enough, the festival’s mainstay panels on social progress and modern distribution models also returned. The former covered the importance of social progress in horror as the genre continues to make room for diverse voices both in front or and behind the camera. The latter once again tackled the quagmire of the ever-shifting forms of distribution that filmmakers must contend with each passing year. Theatrical exhibition, streaming (both for subscription-based services and ad-supported ones), physical media, etc. All topics were covered in-depth by the panel of experts that the festival put together.

The festival’s awards ceremony also occurred. Nightmares Film Festival gives out Night Mare (pun!) awards in numerous categories, all of which are listed below. Without further ado, these are this year’s Night Mare recipients…

Overall Feature – HOW TO KILL MONSTERS

The Film From Hell – THE WHEEL OF HEAVEN


Etheria Spirit Award – LEAVING YELLOWSTONE

Horror Feature – SANTA ISN’T REAL

Thriller Feature – TRUNK

Midnight Feature – HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS

Horror Comedy Feature – CRYPTIDS

Directing (Feature) – DEPARTING SENIORS

Cinematography (Feature) – THE DEEP DARK

Writing (Feature) – MURDER BALLADS

Lead Performance (Feature) – SAINT DROGO

Supporting Performance (Feature) – BUTCHERS: RAGHORN

Overall Short – SAFE


Thriller Short – MAKE THE CALL

Midnight Short – WHAT LIES WITHIN

Horror Comedy Short – THIN SKINNED

Documentary Short – DEMON BOX

Recurring Nightmare Short – SAINT-SACRIFICE

Directing (Short) – LAKE SUNSHINE 1989

Cinematography (Short) – RED VELVET

Writing (Short) – TWO KNOCKS ON A DOOR

Lead Performance (Short) – SKIN DEEP

Supporting Performance (Short) – FLOATER

FinaList Short Screenplay – FOREVER FRIENDS

FinaList Feature Screenplay – REVIVAL

Why is this information important to you as a reader? Because, in the end, this is a hand list of all of the indie features and shorts that you should be keeping an eye out for over the next year or so. Numerous previous Nightmares Film Festival selections, nominees, and award winners have gone on to become recent indie favorites.

All Jacked Up and Full of Worms, The Barn, The Barn Part II, Book of Monsters, The Head Hunter, Lake Michigan Monster, Scare Package, Scare Package 2, WNUF 2: Out There Halloween Mega Tape, etc. All graced the screens of Gateway Film Center during a previous year and went on to become celebrated by horror fans world ‘round. Trust me when I say that these will be no different. The same goes for other genre festivals. If you ever want to know what next year’s grassroots horror gems are going to be, the best way to find out is to check out what films are winning (and/or getting rave reviews) at festivals right now.



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