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…
Well, it’s getting closer to Halloween, so I figured I’d toss in a bonus scary short film (since I can’t really say there are TWO “Scariest Short Horror Films of the Week”). This was in my private stash I save for future Scariest Shorts; I like to have a few lined up in advance for security, plus I set the bar kind of high and now it can take me sitting and sifting through a dozen of them until I find one that’s nightmare-worthy. Shit, I’d post one a day up until Halloween if I wasn’t worried about running out.
This bonus film is also from the old Daywalt Fear Factory, and it’s called Suicide Girl. No, not the trashy kind who looks like she fell down a flight of stairs carrying an open tackle box (sorry, not a fan), the kind who is just sad and had all she could take. It’s also always nice to see someone in one of those shorts get what he or she deserves… turn the lights off, the sound up, and check this out…
This is not only creepy and scary as hell, but could also work as a nice anti-bullying public service message! This was written and directed by Drew Daywalt. I need to start checking out his ongoing web series, Camera Obscura.
Is it possible to scare the living shit out of a viewer when the short is less than two minutes long, and the setting is bathed in warm, cheerful sunlight (accompanied by a sweet lullaby, no less)? Yes, it is. However, I’m trying to think of another horror short that accomplishes this and coming up empty. For that alone, this terrifying, rare gem deserves some sort of award.
This one was directed by Marichelle Daywalt. Short …but far from sweet. Listen to the lullaby lyrics right before it cuts out (someone had to point it out to me, I was too busy taking deep breaths to avoid a panic attack)!