So, regular visitors and readers here might recall an award-winning short film that pretty much scared the hell out of everyone who saw it, titled “Lights Out”. If you don’t recall it, you probably haven’t seen it (it is extremely hard to forget), but you can take a gander right here. Two more shorts by the same team found their way online, and the piece featuring them can be found here.
Anyway, we caught the second trailer, and it is also the stuff of nightmares. We dare you–no, we double dare you–to watch both trailers below alone in the dark…
This is the feature film debut of David F. Sandberg. However, he previously directed the original short that the film is based on. Here’s the official plot description from IMDB… now we have a backstory!
When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.
“Lights Out” opens July 22nd at a theater near you. Oh, and the icing on the cake? David F. Sandberg decided to focus on practical effects and avoided as much CGI as possible.
We were holding this back, but for some reason, multiple versions of this same tale/concept have been popping up. Two of them appear to be by the same team (same guy playing the dad), only the gender of the kid is different. We found this one to be the most effective, by far. No gore, no violence at all (the artistic team lets your imagination do all the freaky work), but still the stuff of nightmares, and clocking in at two minutes. That is not an easy task. Watch it below… lights off, of course!
The reason that more than one film-maker has used this theme, we discovered a couple of days ago, is that it was based on a very creepy and raved-about Reddit post. If you’re in even a little bit of an unstable mood, and are having trouble sleeping, we recommend that you save the creepy sub-reddits for the daytime. The disturbing, creepy threads are clearly indicated by the name of the category (such as “letsnotmeet), so there’s no danger of you suddenly getting the shit scared out of you if you’re paying attention to the topics. When it comes to reading some of them alone at night, you have been warned…
“The Little Witch” was produced, directed, and filmed by Alasdair McBroom – check out his official site right here. The story was adapted from a version by Reddit user who goes by the name of “justanothermuffledvo”.
Don’t forget: if you know of a really good short horror film we haven’t featured yet, please share it with us so we can give it a gander and (if it’s creepy enough) post it! You can put a link, or the title, in the comments section.
This may be the shortest Horror Short of the Week ever at a little over one minute. But boy,does it pack a wallop.
When The Conjuring was released in the summer of 2013, three indie film-makers were asked to do short horror films that would just have one common theme: They all needed to take place at 3:07. If you saw The Conjuring, you know why 3:07 is a very creepy time of the night. I even dared people to come home after seeing Conjuring and watch these three short shorts either at 3:07, or to time it so the last one ended right before 3:07. Not too surprisingly, there were no takers (possibly because I made the stipulation that all the lights had to be off in the house at the time).
They were all partially presented by VICE. The first short was an incoherent jumble–all I could tell was that a séance was involved (I think) and then the people recording it freaked out at 3:07– the second (by Ti West) was creepy and had a great filming style, but had no narrative. So I recall by about that point I was pretty sure they were all going to be pretty mediocre. I was very wrong about that. Watch Jason Eisener’s (Hobo With a Shotgun,V/H/S 2) “One Last Dive” below. Crank up the volume!
I almost hit the goddamned ceiling! And I didn’t even watch it on a large window OR have the music at a high volume. While we’re on the subject, I should mention that I am aware you don’t get a ‘Scariest Short Horror Film of The Week’, once a week anymore. The truth is, I have a few tucked up my sleeve but am also running out of good ones that are scary as hell. Thanks for being patient, and if you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments section! We already put up the one with the creepy Smiling Man when it was suggested to us in a poll. To find new ones, I usually have to sit through nine crummy ones to get to the 10% that are actively frightening.
“One Last Dive” still scares me after ten or so viewings.
We were hoping for a release date at the end of this one (we couldn’t take it if another distributor pulled a “Green Inferno” on us), but alas, none yet. However, we have been told that The Babadook will be out by the end of the year. Probably it will only have a limited release in select theaters (which Seattle never seems to be included in, goddamnit, unless they announce the screening less than 24 hours before it actually happens and it’s already sold out) and have a VOD release. Don’t know about you, but this looks like something we would love to see in a theater with a crowd. Take a gander at trailer #2 for Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook! Oh, and we advise headphones– not because there’s some huge jump scare that will make you soil yourself, but because of the incredibly creepy sounds that really add to the overall fright factor.
If you want a direct link to the website, click here. As of this writing there isn’t much, other than a couple social media links and those extremely unsettling inhuman sounds, but it’s still cool. When I checked it out earlier, at around 3:00 AM, those sounds kept going even after I closed the browser window. I had to just quit Firefox completely and start it over. This did not have a beneficial effect on my insomnia issues.
Here’s the plot description (though the trailer gives you a pretty good idea of the themes):
Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia struggles to discipline her “out-of-control” six-year-old Samuel – a son she finds difficult to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called Mister Babadook turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he has been dreaming about. As Amelia begins to see glimpses of the creature herself, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may well be real.
Okay! Want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s get that less-than-positive news out of the way. You may recall an announcement in January that among the hundreds of entries for the 2013 “26th Director Contest” for the letter M this year, the winner (“M is for Masticate”) was chosen last December. Then in January 2014, we got all excited when there was an official press release that told us there would be an “ABCs of Death 1.5” that would be composed of 26 of the top entries for the contest, released in “early 2014”. Here’s the short version:
Drafthouse Films has announced that producers Ant Timpson and Tim League, in association with producer and competition organizer Ted Geoghegan, have selected 26 of the 541 entries for ABCs OF DEATH 2 (the winner was Robert Boocheck’s “M is for Masticate”), and combined them for ABCs OF DEATH 1.5. This omnibus will be available digitally early this year, and will also screen at select Alamo Drafthouse cinemas. “The production team had a real blast selecting the 26 shorts that make up ABCs OF DEATH 1.5,” says Timpson. “The hard part was only selecting 26, as the competition provided so many outstanding entries. We couldn’t be happier with the final lineup. There’s enough horror, humor, weirdness and, frankly, truly f**ked-up material to give even the most jaded fan a wakeup call from hell.”
You can read the longer version o trusty ole’ Fangoria.com that includes the titles of the shorts here. Well, as you may have noticed,early 2014 has come and gone, and we looked around all over the net but sadly could find absolutely no further mention of this release after the initial one. Other than someone else asking on a message board, “What the hell happened to ABCs of Death 1.5?” you could pretty much hear a pin drop since the January press release. We’ll try to find out. Several of them are available on You Tube, Vimeo, and the contest entry page, but we like the reveal of the title AFTER the short – in some cases, giving the cause-of-death word is even a spoiler.
OK, on to way betters news: The ABCs of Death 2 (tagline: Some People Never Learn) will be released on VOD October 2nd (a Thursday), and in select theaters on Friday, October 31st – now there’s a fun release date for you! No trailer or teaser yet, so we found something else entertaining that’ll be on The ABCs of Death 1.5 (whenever the hell THAT is- we’re thinking it’s not going to make it out before the main release, but we hope to be proven wrong).
We watched several of the “M” contest entries from last year, and as with the letter T, there’s several standouts. The one we picked to show you in this piece inexplicably didn’t make it into the top 26th, and there’s no reason why not (especially since it’s better in every way than a few entries –that we’ll be nice and keep nameless– that did make it to the top 26). We’re 99% sure that, if they’d gone by voting, and not the production team’s selections, it would have. Watch below for one of the best entries, “M is for Matchmaker” (no spoilers in the title), written and directed by Sean Tretta, with Tiffany Shepis (Nightmare man, The Violent Kind), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), and Sebastian Kunnappilly (The Frankenstein Syndrome).
We’ll bring you more “M” finalists and their entries as the countdown to October 2nd (come on, even if you live in one of the select areas, can you REALLY wait an extra month when you could watch it on VOD in the comfort of your home?) continues. We actually held a couple of winners back because they were so gruesome and graphic we almost felt guilty posting them… almost!
OK, so it’s Monday and we’re feeling a little low on energy here, but hey, you don’t have to be at the top of your game either before you take our newest poll! We inserted a few of our favorites here in this piece in case you hadn’t seen them yet, or wanted to confirm they still scared the living shit out of you before you voted (and yep, you can pick two runners-up for a total of three picks). Scroll down if you want to skip the preamble and go directly to vote.
See, we post a lot of scary short movies online. Sometimes–like this past weekend– we sit through literally dozens of ’em on the laptop looking for a gem worth posting. We do have a few sure things we’re still saving for a rainy day, but these days, we’ve already posted most of the scariest made (so far). It seems like whenever we’re combing the net and watching ten or more at a time, it’s always after midnight, which may be why we stopped having “Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week” be a regular feature for a while back there, but that’s beside the point.
What do we look for before deciding to post? A good jump scare–or two–is usually a sure thing, as long as it’s earned and not a cheap, lazy one. “Lights Out” sure has that:
A fridge scare (AKA a chilling and/or horrifying reveal), done well is also a sure bet. Here’s an example of the latter, in the very short, simple, but hair-raisingly effective “Mockingbird” (from Drew Daywalt):
Of course, some really disturbing make-up effects and gore aren’t required (none of the films listed so far really have much blood), and gore for the sake of gore isn’t scary, but here’s an example of it working well in the exorcism shocker “Deus Irae”.
Then you get a film that has all of the above (except the gore) but you don’t really break down intellectually what aspects scare you until after you’ve calmed down from watching it (whenever the hell THAT is), because you’re too busy for anything besides being fucking terrified. If we had to pick just one “Scariest Short Film We’ve Ever Seen,” it’d be the absolute nightmare that is Mama, below.
We know you’ve seen others, so we listed the ones here that got the most positive feedback and left a space for a write-in. Tell us, we’re seriously curious! Here we go.
If you feel like watching a bunch more, go to the “category cloud” on the sidebar and pick “Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week”. “Horror Short Films” will work too. Here’s a few links to ones we highly recommend if you missed them the first time around: Bloody Cut’s gothic folktale of the “Suckablood,” and their gory masterpiece “Don’t Move” that gives you another reason who you should never even be in the same house as a Ouija Board, let alone play with one. There’s also two other Drew Daywalt films that we watched in the middle of the night and instantly regretted our decision; “Spoon”, starring Christa Campbell showing some acting chops, and “Cleansed,” which we regretted watching after dark less than a minute in. Actually, anything we’ve posted associated with Bloody Cuts UK or The Daywalt Fear Factory could give you nightmares…
So, as you may know, The Babadook, the debut feature from talented Aussie film-maker Jennifer Kent, is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming horror releases of the year. When it was screened at Sundance, audiences and critics alike knew they’d just seen something unique, special …and pretty goddamned frightening.
Monster, the short film that was basically the seed of The Babadook, won several awards –the full list is here— at short film festivals. We’ve heard that the tone and theme of Monster are very similar to the upcoming feature-length film, and though we haven’t seen Babadook, we have seen enough clips and trailers to be able to confirm that. It has a very spooky, gothic, fairy-tale tone (kind of in the same way the deeply frightening 2013 film Mama did, though we’re pretty sure–no offense, Mr. Babadook– Mama is the one that will forever haunt our nightmares), and to us, the visuals evoke early Tim Burton a little.
So if you’re as amped-up about Babadook as we are–it’s on our list of Ten Most Anticipated Horror Films for the last half of 2014*– turn out the lights, put on your headphones, and take a gander at Jennifer Ken’s “Monster” below. The only version on You Tube has Russian subtitles, but since there is very little dialogue, it shouldn’t distract you. If you MUST see it without subtitles, you can; here’s a link to the short film on Vimeo.
Monster was screened at over 40 festivals worldwide, including Telluride Film Festival, Montreal, Slamdance, SXSW, Aspen Shortsfest, Palm Springs, Karlovy Vary and Sydney Film Festival. We have yet to see a bad review of it (or Babadook, for that matter). The short film was also included in the Kickstarter campaign; of The Babadook’s modest budget, $30,071 was raised via Kickstarter. Most of the funds raised from Kickstarter were channelled toward the art department (source: IMDB).
While we’re at it, here’s the latest, full-length trailer for The Babadook. It’s clear they’re keeping the atmosphere –and the scares– from the short you just saw.
The movie will have its UK debut in the upcoming Film4 FrightFest in London, and this is the official description:
REPULSION meets ‘The Gruffalo’ in writer/director Jennifer Kent’s Sundance acclaimed début feature as the unresolved traumas of a conflicted mother and disturbed son manifest as a malevolent entity threatening to consume them both. Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son, Sam (Daniel Henshall), have had a raw deal in life. Her husband Oskar died six years prior while driving her to the hospital pregnant with Sam, and his birthday is a particularly painful reminder. But now things worsen dramatically. Samuel’s been having nightmares, and when a mysterious pop-up children’s book appears on his shelf titled ‘Mister Babadook’, he is finally able to put a name to the terror.
No official US release date yet, though we hear vague rumors of Fall 2014. IFC Midnight will be releasing it, last we heard.
*We split that article up into two parts; part 2 is still pending and Babadook will be on that upcoming half.
Well surprise surprise, it’s another heart-pounder of a short horror film by Bloody Cuts UK! We posted another short horror film a couple of years ago with the same basic plot, but this one was different–and frightening enough–that we didn’t let that stop us from picking this creeper for scariest of the week.
Check out “Stitches,” the second (out of thirteen) short Bloody Cuts released, right here… and don’t forget to stick around until after the credits have finished rolling. Oh, unless clowns creep you the hell out, in which case consider yourself warned:
In case you’re interested in being terrified some more, here’s a link to the similar film I was talking about. It’s longer and does a different take, but is still “12 Minutes of Must-See Terror!” as we titled the post when we first published it a little over two years ago. We’re leaving out the title so as not to spoil you, just in case you haven’t watched the above short yet. Again, be warned: you WILL jump!
OK, what is the LAST kind of “urgent newsbreak” you want to see while you’re babysitting?
Also, as usual, Bloody Cuts put up a “Making-Of” video for the short. I don’t know about you, but usually I watch these to remind me the short that just actively frightened me was only make-believe. Though they are also very informative, and it’s so cool to see what a team of creative, talented people can create with a low-budget when they really throw their hearts into making the best short they can. Interested (or need to be reminded what you just saw was fiction)? Watch the behind-the-scenes featurette below.