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COLUMBUS, OH - Nightmares Film Festival, FilmFreeway’s #1-ranked genre fest, today revealed its 2023 program of #BetterHorror. In its eighth year, the fest is building even more community beyond the screen with the addition of live experiences to its heralded #BetterHorror film and screenplay slate. 


The four-day Nightmare program once again delivers a must-see lineup collected from new and beloved genre voices around the world, with highlights including the boundary-smashing queer coming-of-age midnighter The People’s Joker, notoriously pulled from TIFF; the world premiere of Zac Locke’s (#Float) psychological Christmas horror Santa Isn’t Real; the U.S. premiere of Stewart Sparke’s (Book of Monsters) classic-creature horror comedy How to Kill Monsters; horror comedy anthology Cryptids, featuring The Last Drive-In’s Joe Bob Briggs; and nightmare fuel Abruptio, a descent into madness created entirely with lifelike puppets. 


In all, the NFF will present 17 feature films and more than 150 horror, thriller, midnight, horror comedy and documentary shorts – including themed blocks like werewolf shorts hour Hairy Situations, holiday shorts hour Slay Ride and the alumni Recurring Nightmares blocks – while honoring 22 feature and short script finalists and returning its anticipated annual interactive panels, Social Progress Through Horror and The New Distribution


But according to NFF co-founders Jason Tostevin and Chris Hamel, that wasn’t enough.


“NFF has become known just as much for the camaraderie and welcoming community it creates as for our extraordinary genre lineup,” they said in a statement. “This year, we wanted to build on those connections by bringing our audience together for fun, unique experiences that let  them celebrate horror and one another.” 


The Friday night live experience is Nightmare Trivia, created exclusively for Nightmares and composed of horror-themed songs and movie clips. On Saturday the fest welcomes horror host Aurora Gorealis for the Shocktail Hour Halloween Mixtape, with lost horror video segments and Aurora’s Tournament of Terror game show. And Sunday’s live experience is a hands-on workshop on pitching your film to press with New York Times horror reviewer Erik Piepenburg. 


All NFF live experiences are free to badgeholders. A complete initial schedule (subject to minor changes) and list of selections and screenplays is available here


The festival once again takes place at the legendary independent Gateway Film Center, a top five North American art house (Sundance) featuring one of the last dedicated projection teams in the country. Upgrading the already standout on-site experience this year is the film center’s remodeled and expanded overlook festival lounge, where VIP badge holders can hang out with creators while enjoying a private bar and restrooms, a new kitchen menu and private entrance to both festival auditoriums.


Competition films and screenplays vie for a coveted Night Mare statuette, representing the dark horses of genre. The Night Mare is sculpted and painted by renowned toy and figure creator Tony Simione (Marvel, Star Wars, Godzilla, Alien). 


A limited set of VIP badges is now available for purchase through Gateway Film Center’s website while they last. Tickets for individual screenings will be available beginning Friday, Oct. 13.




6PM - Departing Seniors (84.5) w/The Night Editors (11) OHIO PREMIERE

8PM - How to Kill Monsters (95) w/We Joined a Cult (4.25) U.S. PREMIERE

10PM - Hundreds of Beavers (108) w/Tooth (4) OHIO PREMIERE


6PM - Horror Comedy Shorts

  • Hide Your Crazy 

  • Good Looking Out

  • Cut Me If You Can

  • The Management 

  • Waka Chicka Waka 

  • Thin Skinned

  • Batshit Crazy 

  • Under My Bed

  • Suction

8PM - Midnight Shorts A

  • Gummy

  • The Mobius Trip

  • The Mantis

  • F*ckin Nuts 

  • Didn't Think I'd See You Here

  • Annihilator 

  • What Lies Within 

  • Cornerboy 

10PM - Horror Shorts A

  • Abominations 

  • Safe

  • Gnaw

  • Alicia

  • Red Velvet 

  • Janelle's Baby 

  • Night Work 

  • All Your Women Things 

  • Bookworm 


FRIDAY 10/27



2PM - Love Will Tear Us Apart (86) w/Nasty Videos (7.5) OHIO PREMIERE

4PM - The Choice (77.5) w/Virga (19.5)

8PM - Santa Isn't Real (75.5) w/The Spirit Became Flesh (17.5) WORLD PREMIERE

10PM - The Wheel of Heaven (102) OHIO PREMIERE


2PM - Recurring Nightmares A

  • That Doll Ain't Right! 

  • Surgical Precision 

  • The Clogging 

  • Super Happy Fun Clown

  • Exit Package 

  • Last Sacrifice 

  • That Doll Ain't Right Too 

  • All-Nighter 

  • Shelter Half 

  • An American Family Calamity 

  • That Doll Ain't Right III 

  • Dummy 

  • Sleep Tight 

4PM - Horror Shorts B

  • Caustic 

  • Lands of Steel 

  • Lake Sunshine 1989 

  • Hims

  • The Queue

  • Filter 

  • Cover Your Ears

8PM - Thriller Shorts A

  • tu:li:

  • Stolen Tundra

  • They Call It... Red Cemetary! 

  • Garbage Days 

  • Caterpillar

  • The Watcher

  • The Emissaries

  • That's Our Time 

10PM - Horror Shorts C

  • Lure 

  • Honeymoon at Cold Hollow 

  • Baby Fever

  • Get Away

  • No Overnight Parking






NOON - Trunk (94.5) w/Shut (15) U.S. PREMIERE

2PM - The People's Joker (92) MIDWEST PREMIERE

4PM - Slay Ride: Holiday Horrors (44.75)  

  • Come Home 

  • In The Heat 

  • Up on the Housetop 

6PM - The Deep Dark (102) 

8PM - Cryptids (95w/Sempre Avanti (15) OHIO PREMIERE

10PM - Butcher's Book 2: Raghorn (89w/Signal (8.5) WORLD PREMIERE

MIDNIGHT - Abruptio (94w/The Hunter (7) OHIO PREMIERE


2PM - Recurring Nightmares B

  • Saint-Sacrifice 

  • Influence 

  • Candor 

  • #Pizzagate

  • Ride Baby Ride 

  • A Suit and a Straight Razor 

  • Filet De Femme 

  • Three Baths 

  • The Ossan 

  • Engram 

  • Fed 

4PM - Hairy Situations: Werewolf Shorts (49)

  • Let It Kill You 

  • Scratch 

  • Full Moon

6PM - Thriller Shorts B

  • Tiny Thing

  • Make the Call

  • Winder

  • In Your Arms 

  • Caroline

  • POV

  • Pruning

8PM - Horror Shorts D

  • Rezar 

  • Pest 

  • Biters and Bleeders 

  • MK Ultra Violence 

  • Where's Waldo 

  • Vespa

10PM - Midnight Shorts B

  • First Blood 

  • Floater 

  • The Heritage 

  • Toad Boy 

  • Latex Lorenzo 

  • The Little Girl Eater 

  • Hot Local Singles in Your Area 

  • Virgil's Rings 

  • Don't Eat Candy at Night 

  • Content: The Lo Fi Man 

12PM - Thriller Shorts C

  • Everything Is Quiet Now 

  • Two Knocks on the Door 

  • Latchkey 

  • Robbie Ain't Right No More 

  • Closing Time 

  • Leaving Yellowstone


SUNDAY 10/29


NOON - Saint Drogo (77) w/Ringing Rocks (17) MIDWEST PREMIERE

3PM - Real Nightmares: Doc Shorts (37.25)

  • No More Room in Hell

  • Demon Box

4PM - Murder Ballads (97) w/ Wicked Image (9) WORLD PREMIERE


NOON - Ohio Shorts (109)

  • Thingamajig 

  • The Hanover Incident  

  • Susi Q, Where Are You? 

  • Tied Down 

  • Deadly Reunion 

  • I'm Going to Kill You 

  • Bedbugs Ate My Dreams 

  • Partnr 

2PM - The Beast of Walton St. (90) w/The Beast (2)

4PM - Livescreamers (90) w/Old Flame (4.5)

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