Halloween is nearly upon us, and while the world has its mind on certain things that are happening in early November, there’s still room to get in the spooky spirit — quickly! — with these six horrific short films.
1) Special Delivery
Hulu’s “Bite Size Halloween” series brings us this three-minute cautionary tale from director John McPhail, about a delivery driver who has an awfully hard time following some very simple instructions.
2) Other Side of the Box
Another film about a mysterious package! This Vimeo Staff Pick (also a Short of the Week selection) by Caleb J. Phillips won top prize at last year’s SXSW “Midnight Shorts” competition. That’s a lot of bona fides…and Other Side of the Box definitely lives up. This satisfying slice of what-the-fuckery might not be Halloween-themed, but don’t you know that Christmas is statistically scarier (at least in terms of horror movies)?
3) Face Mask
You can always count on the fiends at Midnight Video to supply plenty of quality chills, which is exactly what you’ll find in the very timely Face Mask. It starts off as a tension-filled chat between neighbours…but you won’t be able to predict how this one plays out.
4) Lane 9
Alter’s ongoing “Two Weeks of Halloween Hell” series on YouTube brings us Jessica and Richard Valentine’s tale of terror set in a small-town bowling alley, circa Halloween 1979.
Another Alter selection, O.I.’s not from the YouTube channel’s “Halloween Hell” series, but its protagonist, a regular dude named Barry (Ben Cotton), sure feels like he’s doomed to eternal damnation. To reveal much more would spoil the splattery joke at the heart of N’cee Van Heerden’s macabre short — but let’s just say that Barry learns the hard way that sometimes, one brilliant idea can bring some unexpectedly gruesome consequences.
4) The Tunnel
Short of the Week recently shared this chilling tale from André Øvredal; it skews sci-fi, but since Øvredal is the director who made Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, there’s a fair amount of horror to be found as well. Coming back from a trip to the beach, a family of four must negotiate gridlock traffic leading into the city. Their relaxed vacation vibes evaporate — and the mood of the short takes a dramatic turn — once it’s clear this is a dystopian situation, and the “tunnel” of the title (the film is based on an Alice Glaser story) is no ordinary roadway structure.
Also via Short of the Week, Carlyn Hudson’s pitch-black comedy Waffle has a wickedly clever premise — need a best friend in an instant? There’s an app for that! — and some outstanding performances, especially by Katie Marovitch as a lonely heiress with a fondness for breakfast food and more than a few screws loose.