The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (BHFF) announces today the full program for its 2023 incarnation, running October 12-19 with all screenings held at Nitehawk Cinema’s Williamsburg and Prospect Park locations. Audiences are in for an unearthly lineup of films and events, including the inaugural Leviathan Award, which will be presented to NYC horror legend William Lustig at a special 35th anniversary screening of Maniac Cop, followed by a post-screening conversation with Lustig.
Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Highlights Exciting New Talent
The Opening Night film is the World Premiere of Kill Your Lover from directors Alix Austin and Kier Siewert, who previously announced themselves to the BHFF audience last year with their short film Sucker. The 2023 festival boasts the World Premieres of three more exciting new films: GAIA director Jaco Bouwer’s unsettling Breathing In, Aimee Kuge’s audacious debut Cannibal Mukbang, and Tyler Chipman’s powerfully creepy debut The Shade. The festival’s other spotlight titles include director Pascal Plante’s recently announced Utopia Distribution title Red Rooms as the festival’s Centerpiece Film, and Jenn Wexler’s ’70s supernatural Christmas horror The Sacrifice Game as the Closing Night Film.
Additional highlights include NYC horror royalty Larry Fessenden’s latest, the werewolf chiller Blackout; the Adams Family’s decade-spanning Hellbender follow-up, Where the Devil Roams; SXSW official selection Monolith; Brazilian chamber piece Property; Amanda Kramer’s tech-minded documentary So Unreal; Cannes selection Tiger Stripes; Robert Morgan’s trippy animation/live-action hybrid Stopmotion; and Jason Yu’s Sleep, hot off its inclusion as part of TIFF Midnight Madness.
The festival’s signature sidebar programs all return, starting with Slayed: LGBTQ Horror Films (presented by Horror Press), which includes BHFF alum Betrand Mandico’s unclassifiable Conann, Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping’s confrontational Femme, Alice Maio Mackay midnighter T-Blockers, and BHFF’s popular Slayed: LGBTQ Horror Shorts block. The Home Invasion sidebar (presented by Cool Hand Movers), meanwhile, shines a spotlight on NYC’s brightest new filmmakers and includes Chris Skotchdopole’s anxiety-inducing debut Crumb Catcher, BHFF short film alum Mary Dauterman’s singular feature debut Booger, the previously mentioned Cannibal Mukbang, and two shorts blocks.
J-Horror in Focus at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival
The Fear In Focus sidebar is also back with a special Japan edition! The festival’s perennial international-cinema-focused sidebar, presented by Arrow Video, will include the 1926 silent masterwork A Page Of Madness, featuring a live original score from The Flushing Remonstrance; a 35th anniversary presentation of 1988’s forgotten home invasion shocker Door; a 25th anniversary screening of 1998’s essential Ringu; the North American premiere of The J-Horror Virus, a new documentary that delves into the history and lasting impact of this highly influential wave in horror cinema; and a special lecture presented by THE MISKATONIC INSTITUTE OF HORROR STUDIES, with Professor Sigmund Shen highlighting the aforementioned Ringu and Gojira as allegories to reckon with a traumatic past.
The final sidebar, keeping in line with the festival’s 2023 video store theme (check out the killer poster above), is none other than our Staff Picks section, the majority of which will screen at midnight and include 50th-anniversary screenings of a pair of 1973 classics, Messiah of Evil and Torso, along with a 40th-anniversary screening of 1983’s Angst.
Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2023 Leviathan Award
2023 also marks the introduction of the Leviathan Award, Brooklyn Horror’s first-ever tribute award created to honor the luminaries of horror and acknowledge their monstrous contributions to the genre. This year’s recipient is none other than legendary NYC horror filmmaker and conservationist William Lustig.
From a catalog of enduring canonical efforts such as MANIAC and MANIAC COP to his invaluable contributions to film restoration with his distribution label Blue Underground, Lustig has dedicated a decades-long career to championing genre film. A true lover and supporter of cinema, we can think of no one more deserving of this inaugural award than him. The award presentation will be followed by a special 35th anniversary screening of his 1988 NYC action-horror classic MANIAC COP and a Q&A.
Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2023 Special Events
Final Exam Horror Trivia – Presented by Dark Sky Films
Do you think you know more about horror films than the rest of Gotham? Then it’s time to prove it via five blistering rounds of expert level creepy trivia with hosts Ted Geoghegan (director of WE ARE STILL HERE and Shudder’s BROOKLYN 45) and journalist Michael Gingold (of Fangoria and Rue Morgue fame)! Meet new friends, win amazing prizes, and learn more about horror cinema exclusively at Final Exam!
Certified Forgotten Podcast
Certified Forgotten is a 60-minute bi-weekly horror movie podcast with a focus on underseen films. Hosts Matt Donato and Matt Monagle speak with creators, filmmakers, and critics about their lifelong relationships to the horror genre. Each episode also highlights another unique genre title with ten-or-fewer reviews on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes that’s picked by the guest, letting them champion each episode’s title to their heart’s content.