Nightmares Film Festival has once again returned to the welcoming arms of Columbus, Ohio’s Gateway Film Center and I couldn’t be happier. This is the festival’s third year and it’s bigger than ever. There are more features and more shorts playing this year. There are more filmmakers in attendance for the weekend (100+!). There are more foreign entries, more female-centric selections, and…based on the first night alone…more attendees than ever before!
The festivities kicked off like a windshield-exploding shotgun blast to Tom Savini’s face with a 4K screening of the sleazy 1980 classic Maniac! Seeing such a beautiful restoration of William Lustig‘s disturbing descent into the mind of a kill-crazy madman on the big screen was treat enough, but having Lustig himself in attendance put it over the top. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing (or even just hearing) Bill Lustig speak, rectify that pronto. If he ever does an appearance at a screening near you, go!
Sometimes filmmakers might not be all that thrilled to introduce their films, do Q&As, sign stuff, etc. and I get it. They’re speaking about the same films over and over again for decades, so it’s not surprising that many burn out on such topics. Not Bill Lustig. That man is a fireball of enthusiasm and graciousness, with an immensely entertaining sense of humor on top. I’ve now witnessed him speak publicly about three of his films and he has never not given 110% to his audience.
Maniac was but the first of three events this evening. The second screening of the night came in the form of the throwback anthology Skeletons in the Closet. Co-directed by our own Tony Wash, the film mixes chuckles and chills in equal measure, making for a fun time at the movies. If you’ve been hankering for a new horror anthology that sidesteps the grim nature of most recent fare from that subgenre, you might want to give it a look once it hits the digital airwaves.
Sticking comedic horror, the night closed out with an entire block of shorts dedicated to funny frights. Standouts for me included Amigos and Bitten, as well as the short Marta that played before Maniac. All in all, it was a fun way to close out what amounted to a great night at the movies.
I really have to hand it to GFC. The theater is astoundingly dedicated to the horror audience and said dedication extends way beyond NFF. Also playing this weekend are Mandy and (naturally) Halloween (2018), as well as a slew of retro screenings for Halloween (1978), Monster House, Dial M for Murder (in 3D), and Beetlejuice. Later this year they’ll be playing Rear Window, Vampire Doll, Lake of Dracula, Evil of Dracula, Psycho, Hocus Pocus, Phantasm (in 4K), and who knows what else beyond this year’s new horror offerings. It truly is a home for horror. My only regret is that I don’t live close enough to attend them!
Nightmares Film Festival 2018 continues with a stellar Friday lineup that includes The FP2: Beats of Rage, Book of Monsters, the latest indie terror from Found & Headless director Scott Schirmer, a killdozer-sized load of short films, and so much more! Stay tuned for more coverage as the weekend progresses!