Nightmares Film Festival 2019
Image from Daniel Isn't Real from SpectreVision

Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio has become a benchmark festival in the indie horror world, and they’ve established some very cool traditions over the years with their festival announcements, few of which are as highly-anticipated as the Early 13.

Announced each year on August 13th, the Early 13 is a list of the first 13 films chosen for screening at the festival. The films are indicative of Nightmares’ commitment to quality programming as well as its commitment to progressive movement and creation in the genre.

“We choose the Early 13 each year based on their high scores with the jury, and also for their alignment with the spirit of the fest and the tone of that year’s program,” said co-founder Chris Hamel. “Just like the full lineup, there is something for every genre fan in this preview.”

This years Early 13 showcases a little bit of everything including films written and directed by women, a film from Elijah Wood’s production company SpectreVision which produced the instant cult classic Mandy, and films from the creators of Goodnight, Mommy and Cheap Thrills.

The list also includes entries for my favorite category at NFF, the Recurring Nightmares–shorts created by filmmakers who have screened at the festival before. It speaks volumes about the environment that the festival has curated in the indie community.

“The Early 13 is an exciting tradition for us, and has really become the unofficial start of the festival,” said NFF co-founder Jason Tostevin. “We do it because we want to give everyone a sense of the breadth and depth of the program that will take shape in October.”

Nightmares Film Festival 2019 will take place at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio on October 24-27.

Take a look at the full list of the Early 13 below!

Nightmares Film Festival

Nightmares Film Festival Early 13 Picks:

Features:

SWALLOW-Second screening worldwide-Thriller Feature
Directorial debut of Carlo Mirabella-Davis. Starring Haley Bennet (The Magnificent Seven).
A newly pregnant housewife finds herself increasingly compelled to eat dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession. A “deeply unsettling feminist thriller” (Variety).

EAT, BRAINS, LOVE-North American Premiere-Horror Comedy Feature
A zombie road trip film based on the hit novel by Jeff Hart.
When Jake and his dream girl Amanda contract a mysterious zombie virus and eat the brains of half their senior class, they must elude the government’s hunter–a teen psychic –as they search for a cure.

THE OBSESSED-World Premiere-Late Night Mind Fuck Feature
From Italian extreme director Domiziano Cristopharo (Nightmares winner Torment). Based on  the real-life story of Bjork stalker Ricardo Lopez. Albania’s first horror film.
Cristopharo presents this dark and deeply affecting tour of the mind of a madman, via a body horror film featuring practical FX, including a penis with a mouth, teeth and tongue included.

DANIEL ISN’T REAL-Regional Premiere-Midnight Feature
The newest film from Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision. Stars Arnold’s son Patrick Schwarzenegger.
Luke, a troubled a college freshman, resurrects his childhood imaginary friend Daniel to help him cope with a violent family trauma. But as Daniel’s influence grows, it pushes Luke into a desperate struggle for control of his mind — and his soul.

THE LODGE-Regional Premiere-Thriller Feature
From Austrian directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz (Goodnight Mommy).
Trapped inside a cabin by a fierce blizzard, two children and their future stepmother must fight for their lives against an unseen evil force.

THE GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR-Regional Premiere-Horror Feature
Directorial debut of hit genre producer Travis Stevens (Cheap Thrills). Stars C.M. Punk.
A man tries to renovate a dilapidated house for his growing family, only to learn that the house has other plans.

RECKONING-Midwest Premiere-Thriller Feature
Created by husband and wife team Lane and Ruckus Skye.
Miles from the nearest power grid, Lemon Cassidy scratches out a humble living in an isolated Appalachian farming community. Her life is tossed into chaos when two men from the oldest family on the mountain hold her son hostage until she can settle a debt her missing husband owes to their cold-hearted matriarch.

Short Films:

LIPPY-Horror Short
Directed by Lucy Campbell
England
Two girls enter an underground world of strange forfeits and grisly demands when they are caught stealing lipstick testers.

GASLIGHT-Thriller Short
Directed by Louisa Weichmann
Australia
A waitress waiting for her bus on a deserted road is stalked by a vampire.

CHANGELING-Midnight Short
Directed by Faye Jackson
Scotland
A new mother is increasingly mesmerised and appalled by the strange transformations happening around her baby.

BOO-Recurring Nightmares Short (returning filmmaker)
Directed by Rakefet Abergel
USA
A traumatic event forces a recovering addict to face her demons.

REUNION-Horror Comedy Short
Directed by Andrew Yontz
USA
A woman spends the night with her friends she hasn’t seen in 10 years only to find out they may have become serial killers.

LIMBO-Late Night Mind Fuck
Directed by Dani Viqueira
Spain
When his family resolves to flee him, a man becomes unmoored from reality