The first annual Nightstream film festival is set to kick off next week, hosted by five festival organizations now aiming to keep the film festival spirit alive after cancelling their events in the wake of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
Tickets, bundles and badges are currently available with more info to access through this link. In the meantime, in-house genre cinephile Christina Ortega Phillips and I are here to tee-up the festival with a nifty curtain raiser of select titles that are sure to stir interest.
Check them all out in the gallery below, or simply scroll on down for the goods if tech issues arise.
OPENING NIGHT – World Premiere
United States | 2020 | 90 Min. | Dir. Aneesh Chaganty
This movie will premiere on opening night and is directed by Aneesh Chaganty. It stars the incredibly talented Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen. This film is described as a “nail-biting, Hitchcockian new thriller about a wheelchair-bound teenager whose fragile, isolated existence with her doting mother is threatened when she begins to notice strange occurrences around her house.”
While I am unfamiliar with Chaganty, the storyline being described as “Hitchcockian” is enough to raise my interest. I know Ms. Paulson from the many seasons of American Horror Story I’ve watched and re-watched so I can’t wait to see her in another hopefully creepy role. (Christina)
United States | 2020 | 93 Min. | Dir. Ryûhei Kitamura
Currently on track for a U.S. release in early October through Lionsgate, The Doorman marks the latest new work of Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, Downrage). Ruby Rose (John Wick: Chapter Two) stars as “a former Marine turned doorman at a luxury New York City high-rise who must outsmart and battle a group of art thieves and their ruthless leader, while struggling to protect her sister’s family.” The film also stars the venerable Jean Reno (Leon: The Professional).
Av: The Hunt
North American Premiere
Turkey | 2020 | 87 Min | Dir. Emre Akay
I stumbled upon the trailer for this film ahead of its presentation for Neuchatel earlier this summer, and now things are looking up even more as Emre Akay’s third feature film readies for virtual audiences for Nightstream 2020.
Six years in the making and originally campaigned on Indiegogo away from the state-funded film circuit, AV: The Hunt is billed as “a hard-boiled, fast-paced thriller set in patriarchal Turkey”, centered on Ayse (Billur Melis Koç), who must go on the run through the backroads of modern-day Turkey if she’s to escape the murderous wrath of her oppressive and patriarchal family after being caught with her lover.
Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell
Japan | 1995 | 63 Min. | Dir. Shinichi Fukuzawa
So, this isn’t a premiere, but who doesn’t enjoy a Japanese horror film? This film was directed by Shinichi Fukuzawa and was released in 1995. I don’t know how I slept on it. Here’s the description:
“This 8mm Japanese splatterfest poses the question – What if THE EVIL DEAD’s Ash was a bodybuilder whose ex-girlfriend researches haunted houses and, as such, asked him to join her on a special investigation of his dead father’s supposedly ghost-ridden home?”
Ghosts. A reference to The Evil Dead. Count me in! (Christina)
The Obituary of Tunde Johnson
United States | 2019 | 104 Min | Dir. Ali Leroi
The pitch alone here just grabs you by the chest with debut director Ali Leroi’s The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson. Peep it:
“Director Ali Leroi and screenwriter Stanley Kalu present one of the best and most radical uses of the time loop narrative device in the story of a gay black teenager forced to continuously relive May 28th, a date in which, no matter what he does differently, Tunde Johnson finds himself unarmed and shot by the police at the end of the day.”
If you’re a horror fan of the socially concious kind, imaginably you might be just as stricken with curiosity as I am about the creative direction and how the message gets carried out. Nothing short of intriguing.
Belgium, France, Ireland | 2020 | 96 Min. | Dir. Vincent Paronnaud
Having already garnered festival favor at SLASH, Cineuropa and Fantasia, Vincent Parannoud of Persepolis fame brings Hunted, one of the latest female-fronted survival thriller currently headlining Nightstream for its three day run this October, and I really wanted to catch this one last month. With any luck, I may just, and especially considering the premise:
“Acclaimed filmmaker/comic artist Vincent Paronnaud (director of Cannes Jury Prize and Academy Award nominee PERSEPOLIS) returns to the screen with an exhilaratingly ferocious survival horror flick that follows Eve, a woman who encounters a seemingly charming man at a bar, only to uncover that his true sociopathic nature will spark a dire, life-or-death chase through the wilderness.”
AMC’s Shudder will be streaming this one exclusively in North America, dates pending, so on and so forth. Stay tuned!
North American Premiere
Australia, USA | 2020 | 95 Min. | Dir. Alister Grierson
I have to credit social media friend Stevie Wong for bringing this to my attention soon as the trailer started making the rounds. Ben O’Toole and Meg Fraser head the cast in what Nightstream bills as a “relentlessly energetic, pitch-black horror-comedy”, that centers on an ex-bank robber who flees Boise, Idahon, after a video of him goes viral. He arrives to Helsinki, “only to find there’s something in store for him there that is much more difficult to escape.”
Judging by the trailer, you can imagine just what that is, and something tells me Nightstream audiences will be in for a hell of a good time.
32 Malasaña Street
North American Premiere
Spain | 2020 | 105 Min. | Dir. Albert Pintó
One of my favorite things about covering film festivals is the access to films from other countries. Since I’ve been with Film Combat Syndicate, I’ve enjoyed exploring horror films from other cultures and seeing how they vary from American horror films. I’m excited to watch Albert Pintó’s film about a family in Madrid whose home was low-priced for a very good reason. Being described as “intense and stylish Spanish answer to James Wan’s THE CONJURING,” I cannot wait to see the North American premiere of this film from Spain. (Christina)
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
United States / Spain | 2020 | 105 Min. | Dir. Alexandre O. Phillippe
Are you even a fan of all things horror if you’ve never seen The Exorcist? I have to admit that I’ve only seen the first one, but I enjoyed the short-lived TV show that was on a couple years ago. But back to the original: you may have heard the stories that this film was cursed and all the trouble on set. Now there is an in-depth interview to tell us all about it!
“In perhaps his most penetrating interview ever, director Alexandre O. Phillippe (78/52) ploughs deep into the filmmaking process of director William Friedkin through the tumultuous and terrifying production of one of the most iconic horror films ever made.”
Chills. Sign me up now! (Christina)
It Cuts Deep
United States | 2020 | 77 Min | Dir. Nicholas Payne Santos
It may come as no surprise that I am not really a fan of the traditional Christmas movies. I’m always on the lookout for something different, something creepy, something not sappy to watch around December. It Cuts Deep takes place while the main characters are on Christmas vacation, so I’m looking forward to trying this one and seeing if it makes its way into my December viewing rotation:
“While on Christmas vacation, Sam’s world begins to close in around him in horrifying and hilarious ways when his girlfriend’s announcement that she wants to start a family coincides with the sudden reappearance of an old acquaintance who alludes to Sam’s violent past.”
Christmas vacation and old acquaintances? Sounds like Sam’s Christmas past may even make Scrooge shudder. (Christina)