Well…there’s a lot packed into these less than 4 minutes, and it somehow does it with some unsettling dark humour. In director Charlene Bagcal‘s moody short Neighbors, there’s gore, decadence, bizarre creature design, and a cautionary kicker of an ending. It’s like a modern-day, campfire Wicker Man tale squeezed into the below.
This wordless, slow-burn student-made slasher makes memorable use of Cigarettes After Sex’s Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby. It’s a simple 6 minutes: a young woman makes her date some pretty decent-looking stakes, they gaze at each other over red wine, and then the inevitable Plot Thing happens.
While pretty to look at, it’s all a bit overwrought, with its obtuse angles, jump cuts and a puddle of an ending that asks more questions than it answers. Still, points for the song.
Two years before fellow short Lights Out, there was another little horror preying on our fear of being alone in the dark. Ben Franklin’s eerie office slice Lock Up is a tense, fun 3 minutes, in which an everyman pencil-pusher realises that, under cover of mostly darkness, an empty office looks nightmarishly different.
Well-acted with some great makeup and some efficient editing, this is cautionary tale against all of you schlubs working late. Unless you get overtime or time off in lieu, don’t. They can’t make you!
I can safely say I’ve seen and/or heard every type of human be slaughtered in this naughtily gruesome comedy short.
More enjoyable to me than the mildly similar Deathgasm, Chris McInroy‘s SFX-laden Death Metal is a devilish treat for gorehounds. An adult slacker and musician is gifted an impressive guitar (literally fashioned from an axe), a cursed-object heirloom that promises its wielder infinite death-metalling power.
Unfortunately, our protagonist is too excited to stick around to hear the 3 simple rules [don’t play in daylight, don’t use it for money, don’t play it like you’re wanking], and bolts down to the park to start some mid-afternoon busking. No sooner does he do said penis-strumming move, than the axe flies out of his hands and literally shreds everything in sight in a gloriously gruesome never-ending POV shot.
Memorable, and not just for metalheads. But the music’s not half-bad, either.
“You coming to the pub, Chainsaw Phil?”
“I can’t – I’m going to a horror talk on animation at The Horse Hospital.”
“Look, man, if you don’t want to join us, just say so.”
It’s my first full season as a proper pass-holder, and my third lecture of this year’s winter semester of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. And not only was it on animation, but the venerable Robert Morgan (creator of the amazing The Cat With Hands), was there!
I’m not sure how to spell the name of this film. The actual short has it listed as ‘The Copy-Writer’. The trailer says it’s ‘The Copy Writer’. It’s actually spelled ‘Copywriter’. I know, because I used to be a fucking copywriter.
In hindsight, that should have been a clue. But I don’t like to form an opinion until I’m done with a short (even a 9-minute one), and I can safely say this was, to put it kindly, lacking.
The story is simple enough: a young horror novelist holes himself up in rented room to prep for a non-fiction project. But soon he’s plagued by nightmarish visions of weird figures and something something losing his mind.
It claims to be Lovecraftian but I see no evidence of it here. My friend pointed out the possibly deliberate The Shining reference in both this short’s set-up and the pattern of the wallpaper (a dead ringer for the carpets). The final scene has distractingly awful sound quality and hammy, unconvincing acting from a detective type, making the rather stilted acting from the lead seem more tolerable. The short’s Facebook page has some stunning graphic design, but this is less than the sum of its faults and awkward to watch.
I saw this 2-minute short seemingly repeatedly pop up in my news feed in a post from Horror Society and thought, ‘nobody can’t spare 2 fucking minutes’.
Glad I did. Much like Lights Out, 12AM it uses its simplicity to great effect: one actor, zero dialogue, trim edits in a single scene, played out in real time, revolving around a relatable fear: that groggy, half-waking state between sleep and awake.
(SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP)