Scariest Horror Short of The Week – “Cleansed” (2008).

OK, honestly, I was going to mix it up a little this week and post a pretty goddamned scary ‘found footage’ short film, that amped up the scares by mixing in an urban legend. So if I find it before it’s time for the NEXT scary horror short of the week, then screw it, there will be TWO Scariest Horror Shorts of the Week.

I am aware that the “Actual 911 Call Recording/Transcript” cold-open is in danger of becoming cliche. That’s not the case here, though…

Yeah, so this one is longer than the last one,  and last week’s was pretty simple.  On this one, there’s actually some room for interpretation, but it took me a minute or two to figure out and confirm what I thought happened …had happened.   It’s a simple concept. A woman works for a crime clean-up service (shit, what a grim way to make a living, even if you can totally keep your emotions out of it and are completely level-headed). There was actually an indie film that came out in the mid-late 90s; same concept, but different genre. I also read a novella by Graham Masterton (I want to say titled Butterfly, but I know it was published with two titles) that was definitely horror. It got to me; I don’t know if I read it more than once (twice tops) but even back in the Clinton administration when it was published and I read it, the novella was so vivid, engrossing, and disturbing I remember some vignettes to this day. I’ll get back to you on the title of the film, with a link, and do the same for the book. In the book, the woman (who was already going through a rough patch) started out hearing details about the various crime scenes. They started out ghastly but got more and more blood-curdling and brutal with each cleanup. She starts having nightmares, then she just plain can’t sleep. Then she starts to doubt her sanity just a little bit. Then it gets really  brutal…

  It’s a simple concept. A woman works for a crime clean-up service (shit, what a grim way to make a living, even if you can totally keep your emotions out of it and are completely level-headed)…

This film is a different scenario (apart from the business she’s in). If you’re feeling really brave, turn out all the lights and watch it full-screen. I was NOT feeling brave at the time; in fact I had the sound turned down as low as I could and kept the viewing window tiny. It still frightened me so badly it was hard to shake. Since I am posting this after dark, until it’s light out, I don’t need to watch it a second time just yet. I found it last month and can still remember it a little  better than I’d like…

I read so much horror that, as a fiction writer, when I start to tell people (who know me enough to know my genre faves )about my novels, they’ll often ask, “so, it’s horror, right?” and when I say no, more mainstream, they ask, “so when ARE you going to write a horror novel?” Good question –I don’t know!  I have zero ideas right now! I can write a few graceful short horror stories, I have a few to my name that don’t embarrass me, but a horror novel? No ideas. Zip. I used to think (for a week or so) I might have a horror screenplay in me. Then I admitted to myself no, not really. Finally I clutched at the idea that maybe I could write a segment for a horror anthology film. Or even a short film. Well, if so (and I’m starting to think NOT so), I don’t know if I could come up with anything half as great–and terrifying–as this.

Directed by Drew Daywalt and David Schneider.  It’s well worth your ten minutes.

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