Written by: Wesley Thomas
All Hallows Eve is almost upon us, so it’s time to start planning our celebration of this major holiday. To us horrorbuffs, it trumps Christmas by a long shot, but the ways by which we enjoy it can vary. You may be binging on horror movies with friends or solo, going on a haunted house walk, or getting dressed up as a ghoul or goblin and indulging in a few alcoholic beverages. But alas, if none of these are on the cards for you, don’t worry, I am here to give you a rundown of five great short horror films perfect to watch on Halloween if you’re pushed for time, or just want to add them to your movie binge-fest. Some are creepy, some are odd, a couple are chilling, most are pretty scary, but ALL of them are perfect for the night of all things spooky.
Some people frown on short films, but I promise you, most of these are scarier than the majority of horror movies I have seen, and I have seen thousands of horror flicks!
Get the most from these:
Make a youtube playlist of them all, get some snacks, and let the shorts play. That way your practically watching a horror movie anthology. They will seamlessly play one after another.
Get the best out of these by watching in the dark, either alone, or with horror-nerd friends.
So here we go guys!
Red Balloon, 12:51
If you love urban legends, this one is for you. A bite-sized horror that brings new scares to a classic tale. We have all heard of this one. The babysitter, the live-size doll, the phone call and then the horrifying realisation. Hair-raising doesn’t even begin to justify this one, I have replayed it many times and still break out in a rash of goosebumps. The camera work and music is impressive, as well as the acting from both the little girl and the babysitter. If this is how frightening the director can make a short, I would love to see them tackle a full length horror movie. The suspense, impending terror and tension is captured magnificently.
This is a very very strange one. But nonetheless, freaky as hell. Props have to go to the actress who plays ‘Dollface’, unnerving, thrilling and frightening. That frozen, horrific face and insidious eyes gave me nightmares for days. It will be sure to get your blood pumping. Let’s not forget a sneaky cameo appearance from Nip/Tuck’s Roma Maffia, who as expected, is superb. Excellent filming helps make the viewer feel uncomfortably tense. A chilling tune that made me think of the devil playing a harp. Bizarre meets apprehension here.
Lights Out, 2:42
Great naturalistic acting lead the way in this terrifying short. It’s a very unnerving film with a fantastic build up and genuinely jumpy moments. There is a subtle use of aural elements here with the occasional sound effect for the jump-out-of-your-seat moments. But for this, a minimal soundtrack works nicely here. This teaches us as horror fans not to underestimate the really short horror films. It may only be a few minutes in length, but they, in this short space of time, can really affright us.
Now this is truly an original, a new myth in the horror genre disguised as a bedtime story, a new kind of beast with new motivations, but it still has an insatiable craving for blood. All in all, this is a kooky one. A strong belief that if a child doesn’t stop sucking their thumb by a certain age the ‘suckablood’ will come to punish them. A great way to discipline your child, given how petrifying the creature is. This one has some excellent additional features making it a fantastic viewing. With a classical murmuring, haunting voice that narrates the film, along with artistic and Gothic graphics used, this should become a Halloween classic.
The location: a haunted house, adds to the Grotesque, eerie vibe. Although the Suckablood is the real antagonist of this tale, the evil step-mother is very intimidating. A strict, emotionless and frightful woman who is very unattractive with a huge witch-like nose and piercing eyes. An arty and spooky masterpiece in mini horror that tells you not all fairy tales end in a happily ever after.
The Dummy, 7:31
Let us now forget about older short horror films, which have been in existence for years, and ignoring the preceding ones which gave birth to this sub-genre of horror, would be as insane as discounting the classic horror movies such as ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’, or ‘Halloween‘.
So here we have a short from 1982 about a ventriloquist doll, and let’s face it, dolls are just plain frightening. This one shows just how much filmography has advanced and progressed. As well as the use of music being different, with a windy howl throughout, and some very odd sounds to create suspense. Even the acting style has dramatically modernised since the 80’s. Acting was more melodramatic and over-the-top back then, but that doesn’t stop this one being alarming. Overall, short, seasoned, but sinister.
I personally wish everyone a spook-tacular Halloween from all contributors at HNR and ATHM, and I hope you enjoy this bunch of small but shuddersome shorts.