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Things are going to definitely get creepy during Nightstream, a virtual film festival dedicated to genre fans demanding their movies be scary, supernatural and entertaining.
The Halloween-appropriate slate slashes its way open Thursday (Oct. 8) and runs through Oct. 11, with some films available to stream through Oct. 15.
Nightstream was born out of necessity (due to COVID-19) and out of creativity with five festivals — the Boston Underground Film Festival, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Washington’s North Bend Film Festival, Los Angeles’s the Overlook Film Festival and Florida’s Popcorn Frights Film Festival joining forces.
The result is a diverse bag of treats for horror fans, including appearances by the Bay Area’s Peaches Christ, a divine horror expert, who helps kick off the festival chatting about campy genre nuggets with other connoisseurs at the “Horror Camp!” panel. Join that fun starting at 10 a.m. Oct. 8. There are numerous other panels, including a virtual fireside chat with “Candyman” (2021) director Nia DaCosta.
Here are but five films worth watching.
“Run”: Even though its theatrical run got tabled because of COVID-19, former San Jose resident Aneesh Chaganty’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to his wickedly clever “Searching” receives a world premiere Thursday. Catch it before anyone else has seen it, or you wait till Nov. 20, when it comes to Hulu. The plot’s been very hush-hush, but from the trailer it looks like “Ratched” star Sarah Paulson’s Diane isn’t paying with a full deck and has some diabolical plans for her daughter (Kiera Allen), who is in a wheelchair.
“Lapsis”: Noah Hutton forsakes violence for clever satire in this mildly futuristic paranoia thriller. As both writer and director, he creates a surreal yet familiar world as an ordinary man (Dean Imperial) takes a job hooking up cables for an insanely wealthy computer company. Equally a rebuke of taking advantage of gig workers and a passionate takedown of greedy conglomerates, Hutton’s scrappy feature is a winner, devoid of bloodshed and awash in cleverness. (Available Oct. 11.)
“Detention”: Similar in its historical outrages as Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” John Hsu’s adventurously told political horror show returns to the bloody White Terror period in Taiwan. In 1962, a student crushes hard on her schoolteacher and then winds up with another student in her haunted school at night where an evil entity roams the hallways preying on violators who’ve been reading banned books. Based on a video game, Hsu’s film defies genre constraints, dabbling around with a time-shifting narrative and tonal changes. It works quite well and socks it to us with frightening images, made all the more horrible since they’re rooted in truth. (Available Oct. 8.)
“An Unquiet Grave”: Grief makes us do crazy things, but the actions that widower Jamie (Jacob A. Ware) takes in Terence Krey’s unsettling psychological thriller are not merely terrifying but terribly sad. Krey’s two-hander builds not just on tension but on a stirring portrait of grief as Jaime and his late wife’s sister (Christie Nyland, who co-wrote the screenplay) visit the scene of a fatal accident. (It receives a world premiere Oct. 11.)
“The Night”: Kourosh Ahari creates a most unsettling mood and atmosphere in a psychological mind-messer about an Iranian family who become stranded in a mysterious hotel where a doorway to a painful past gets flung open. “The Night” flickers with hues of “The Shining” and delves deep into the shadowy nooks of memories. It also features two strong performances — from Shahab Hosseini and Niousha Jafarian. So sly that you might want to watch it again. (Available starting Oct. 9.)
For a complete lineup and to purchase ticket bundles, visit https://nightstream.org/. But only if you dare.