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The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXI: The Nightstream Recap


A toast to a friend of the Podcast, Mick Garris by a who’s who of horror directors: Tom Holland, Landon Zakheim (Overlook programmer), Ernest Dickerson, Joe Dante, Mick, Axelle Carolyn, Bill Malone, Mike Flanagan, Tom McLoughlin, John Carpenter, and John Landis. If you don’t know ’em… look ’em up!

We have seen the future of Horror Film Festivals, and it was the big Nightstream festival. While it was disappointing not to be able to go to these events in person, the streaming digital festival delivered a wealth of great movies, shorts, and special events that both horrified and delighted us. Listen in to the Scariest Things team report on our favorite moments.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, 2020 has been very hard on the film industry. Our beloved film festivals found themselves floundering and uncertain as to whether they could survive the pandemic. They waited during the summer looking to see if there was going to be a return to the cinemas, and once it was clear that we were in for the long hall, the decisions was made to go streaming.

It must be said, changing to a streaming format is a Herculean task. Creating the viewing engine, and coming up with a means to get everyone access to the videos was a big trick, particularly for festivals that did not have a lot of experience with streaming media. One result of this was the joining of forces. Several of our favorite film festivals came together to create a singular streaming event. Enter NIGHTSTREAM.

The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival, North Bend Film Festival, Popcorn Frights Film Festival, and the Boston Underground Film Festival all combined their efforts to provide one of the largest events on the horror calendar for 2020.

Each festival brought their short film programs to the event which proved to allow the flavor of each organization to pop. The size of the festival allowed the best of independent horror and horror adjacent movies to get a showcase. It became evident that the curating of each festival allowed for a very high standard of movies for the event.

If you attend these festivals, you will know that it is more than just going to see movies. Nightstream showcased a number of live events and panels designed to give you the feel of the traditional festival fare. Of course, with the 2020 pandemic, many of these were ZOOM events. (With all of the classic microphone glitches and video drops we’ve become used to.) But the result felt like an intimate gathering.

You can see a full list of the events and films HERE.

But, the biggest draw, of course, was the feature films. A chance to see early screenings that the best of the genre has to offer.

The biggest difficulty would be the time for the audience to catch all the movies. If you’ve ever been to one of the larger festivals, you would know that picking and choosing which movies you want to see is part of festival attendance, and that truth didn’t change with a streaming event. One of the interesting arrangements was that some films (usually the buzziest of films) were made available for just a few hours, while other films were made available for even a week after the festival formally ended.

This created a unique situation where you “shopped” in advance and reserved a badge for a film, but you needed to create a calendar to make sure you weren’t overlapping your viewing. There were so many intriguing movies, and only so much time that you had. And, after all, was said and done, the Scariest Things took in a lot of the action, but couldn’t quite catch everything. Our experience tells us that festival films have been vetted for the horror and genre film fan and that all the films are worth checking out. Go back to the lineup, and see what piques your interest. And for our recommendations, listen to EPISODE 11… right here!

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