Tuesday , 28 March 2023

For NYC Horror Film Fest, the show must go on-line!

The year 2020 will long be remembered for the pandemic that took away so much of what we have long taken for granted, or at best, changed the way we’ve been able to enjoy a few of our favorite things. From sports to dining out to going to the movies, it’s certainly been a year to dismember. But it’s also been a year that has showcased the creativity and ingenuity people have shown in figuring out ways to carry on with life as normal as possible,  in thoughtful and responsible ways that reduce the risks of spreading the virus. For us movie lovers, theaters everywhere must be commended for all the protocols they’ve instituted to make the theatergoing experience a safe one. Unfortunately, when it comes to film festivals and conventions, where people gather en masse, those events are still on hold for awhile. Luckily for horror fans, the New York City Horror Film Festival is carrying on their annual tradition of offering up the best and brightest, or should we say, darkest in horror and sci-fi cinema by going virtual this year. That’s right, now you can join in the festivities no matter where you live, and view a plethora of frightening fare right within the comfort of your own home. Taking place December 3rd to 9th, the horrors that await you are now only a click away.

This will mark the 19th year of the distinguished festival founded by the late Michael J. Hein and kept alive by his beloved family and friends. Taking place in the Big Apple post-Thanksgiving for the past two decades, the NYC Horror Film Fest offers up a wide variety of genre fare in both feature length and short film categories. They also induct an esteemed contributor to horror cinema into their illustrious Hall of Fame, like recent honorees, The Walking Dead‘s Greg Nicotero and Tony Todd, of Candyman and Final Destination fame. For an in-depth look at the past couple of festivals, to give you an idea of what you’re in store for, albeit without everyone gathering together at the theater, check out the Gore 4’s coverage of NYCHFF 2018 and NYCHFF 2019. A lot of the films we first saw at last year’s fest have since been released for home viewing, like Do Not Reply, Exorcism at 60,000 Feet and the animated, To Your Last Death, available on all streaming platforms, and Blu-ray and DVD. Volition and Star Light are also up for streaming. And Blood Vessel can currently be seen on the horror streaming service, Shudder. We’re also really looking forward to seeing again, Puppet Killer and Benny Loves You, still playing at festivals, once they’re released.

One of the most anxiously awaited films at this year’s fest is Neil Marshall’s The Reckoning. Marshall is best known for his films, Dog Soldiers, The Descent and the recent reboot of Hellboy, and he’s also directed episodes of Black Sails, Game of Thrones and the pilot and second installment of NBC’s superb time travel adventure, Timeless. The Reckoning is a period piece that couldn’t be more timely, as it takes place during The Great Plague of England during the year 1665. Charlotte Kirk, who co-wrote the screenplay with Marshall and Edward Evers-Swindell, stars as Grace, a woman accused of being a witch who’s not planning on taking these charges lying down. Other feature films on tap include Max Strand’s Goodbye Honey, where an abducted woman escapes to what she hopes will be safe refuge in the back of a truck, Mathieu Turi’s Meander, where a woman gets locked in a series of strange tubes full of deadly traps, and from Germany, Sky Sharks, where genetically mutated, undead soldiers pilot Nazi-created flying sharks. The cast includes such genre favs as Tony Todd, Amanda Bearse, Lynn Lowry, Lar Park Lincoln and Master of Horror, Mick Garris. We are so there.

Any fan of independent horror cinema is well aware of perhaps the greatest purveyor of twisted, over-the-top, gut spilling, blood-gushing entertainment, Lloyd Kaufman’s and Michael Herz’ Troma Films. This year’s NYCHFF is proud to present their latest delightfully demented piece of work, the title says it all, #Shakespeare’s Sh*tstorm. Directed by Kaufman himself, the movie features a number of Troma‘s repertoire of players, including Scream Queen Supreme, Debbie Rochon. One of Debbie’s earliest roles was that of Ness in Troma‘s first ‘homage’ to the world’s greatest playwright, Tromeo and Juliet. So, #Shakespeare’s Sh*tstorm brings Troma‘s relationship with the Bard full circle.

In addition to the many features and short films to be screened, there will also be a number of zoom panels, including ones on Women in Horror Filmmakers and Latinx Horror Filmmakers, two groups we hope to see much more represented in the industry. This year also featured for the first time, a virtual cosplay contest ahead of the festival, and we’d like to congratulate the winner below for his fine rendition of one of the Thi13en Ghosts.

All in all, everyone involved with the New York City Horror Film Festival looks to have done another fantastic job of putting this all together, especially in light of this trying and painful year. This is a great way to close out 2020 with some entertaining horror and engaging discussions and still be together though we’re all apart. You don’t dare want to miss a minute. You can purchase tickets online now for the entire week of December 3rd-9th, or for individual programs, at NYCHorrorfest.com. And be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news and updates. So, enjoy the movies, be safe, wear a damn mask! and we hope to see you all in person next year at the NYC Horror Film Festival!

— by Brian de Castro


  1. The film festival is underway! But there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action. Get your tix now!

  2. Please let me know how the Horror Festival is.
    The movies all look so Wicked.

    • So far, so good, second night in, having seen the witchy, The Reckoning, and the stalkery, Blinders. Ready to continue the journey!

  3. Did you get the VIP CHILLER PASS? Sounds like you are Enjoying the Horror Film Fest. Please review your Favorites.

    • Yes, I got a full pass so I could see everything, films and panels included. I plan on doing a write-up of the entire event soon after it ends next week. Just saw the Australian, An Ideal Host, which was terrific. Also really enjoyed the short films, Live Forever and Bark.