This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
In need of some seasonal creepiness but haven’t got time for a whole movie? Looking for something to watch on your lunch break, or on your phone on the bus home from work? You’ll find just the thing on this list of horror shorts and web series, available on YouTube now…
He Dies At The End
The title’s kind of a spoiler here. But it’s also a clever hook, because it means you spend the entire four minutes and 29 seconds wondering how, exactly, he’s going to die. The ‘he’ here is an office worker, tapping away at his computer after hours, apparently alone – until someone starts asking him creepy questions via his computer screen.
It’s deceptively simple (after all, it’s just a man sitting at a completely unremarkable desk, typing) but the escalation of the questions makes for a gripping watch, and the ending… well, just watch it. Not at your desk, though, unless you want your co-workers to see you scream.
The Ten Steps
The Ten Steps has a classic horror setup: a girl is left to babysit her younger brother in their family’s new house while their parents go out to dinner, but something’s goes wrong, and the lights go out. The fuse box is, naturally, in the basement – which is also where, according to local legend, the devil lurks.
You might think you know where this one is going, but actually the ending is cleverer and creepier than the obvious ending would’ve been. It’ll definitely make you think twice about moving anywhere with a basement.
Why are nursery rhymes so creepy? In this short but not especially sweet horror, a woman finds a doll’s house in her attic and unfolds a series of hidden messages, which combine to create a creepy rhyme. At just over three minutes long, this short is really short, so there’s not a lot to it other than the scare, but the elaborate build-up is delightful in a scary kind of a way, and it’s got bags of atmosphere.
Mina Murray’s Journal
This YA adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula swaps out leather-bound journals for YouTube videos, bringing the classic vampire story bang up to date. Here, it’s Mina who sets out to Romania, filming every stage of her journey for her vlog. And she keeps vlogging even when things take a turn for the weird…
Because it’s Dracula, you’ll sort of know what’s going to happen, but watching it play out in this new modern context is thrilling. Since it’s aiming at a younger audience, there’s no blood, gore, or swearing involved, but it’s still scary – not least because all the characters are so likeable you won’t want anything bad to happen to them.
Swimming pools in horror movies are always bad news. This short makes dramatic use of its setting, using underwater photography to create some particularly creepy imagery that totally sells its simple story. Brrrrrr.
After being haunted by an angry spirit in their home, a pair of sisters seek help from a medium… but not everything is as it seems. What makes this Spanish language short so impressive is the production design: from the medium’s mask to the girls’ costumes to the spectres that appear mid-séance, everything seems to have been painstakingly designed to be as beautifully creepy as possible.
This French short updates the classic calls-are-coming-from-inside-the-house story by using Snapchat. After adding a new friend, a girl finds herself bombarded with messages from a stranger… and they get increasingly nasty from there. The ending is a little underwhelming, but the snaps themselves are kind of brilliant, as the stalker draws a series of increasingly threatening emojis to indicate their displeasure with the girl’s actions.
Given that the Snapchat logo is literally a ghost, too, it seems only right that someone should make this film.
Film student Alex was working on something called Marble Hornets when he attracted the attention of something evil. He abandoned the project, only for his friend Jay to try to pick up where he left off, uploading bits and pieces of his mangled footage to YouTube.
Disorienting, creepy, and occasionally frustrating, Marble Hornets was inspired by the Slender Man posts on Something Awful, though the monster is only ever referred to as ‘the Operator’. Whatever you call him, though, he’s pretty terrifying. Probably best not to start watching this one late at night.
A stop motion animator puts a bit too much of himself into his work in this clever little short. It’s pretty meta, since it uses stop motion animation to create its own scares; it’s a great concept, meticulously shot and edited. The monster is one of the most absurd you’ll see in a horror movie, but that absurdity works in its favor, and it’s actually kind of disturbing. You won’t forget this one in a hurry.
Who Is Mr Tom?
This web series starts with a bang, as a woman films her possessed daughter mutilating herself in the kitchen. It’s seriously disturbing, and one hell of a hook. Every episode seems to add something new and creepy to the mix, as the unnamed filmmaker – his face and voice distorted and disguised for his own safety – tracks down the underground exorcist known as Mr Tom.
Is he really trying to save the world, or is he the one we should be afraid of? Either way, it’s scary stuff.
The beginning of this one will be frustratingly familiar to anyone who’s ever shared a flat with someone less tidy than they are: Steve comes home from work to get ready for a Halloween party to find his flatmate has already wrecked the place (and drunk all the booze). But when his attempts to tidy up are thwarted, Steve starts to suspect something else is going on…
This short is proof positive that working on a low budget doesn’t need to hold you back: all you need is an idea, and the right Halloween costume.