After a nearly two-year run, The Witching Season has just wrapped the first season of its Halloween-themed web series and released its fifth and final episode, "Is That You?" The series launched its pilot episode "Killer on the Loose" back in August of 2015 and has not slowed down in its quest to put out unique and nostalgic #horror content since.
To mark the occasion, I wanted to take a look back on the series and rank each episode in terms of its scariness and contribution to the independent horror genre. All too often, the landscape of horror shorts is oversaturated with cliche and low-quality content, but #TheWitchingSeason set out to offer us as horror fans something a little different — high quality, original content within a shared universe that pays tribute to the genres we know and love. So, without further ado, let us begin.
5. Not Alone
Kyle wakes from a horrific nightmare, struggling to bridge the gap between his dreams and reality in the darkness of his room. But then, he notices something… an ominous figure standing silently in the darkness. He is not alone.
The third episode in the series, Not Alone strayed from the supernatural into the realm of science-fiction to depict a truly horrific vision of an alien abduction. Although the episode made it a point to avoid tropes (and even mock certain clichés), its simplicity and lack of depth are why I chose to rank it last. That being said, it is one of the few alien shorts I have seen that was not cheesy in the least, and fans of extraterrestrials everywhere will find it refreshing and genuinely scary.
4. Killer On The Loose
An escaped killer lurks in the shadows of an isolated home on Halloween night...
The pilot episode of the series, Killer on the Loose plays out as one might expect a slasher film to — a woman frantically tries to escape a Jason-esque killer who follows here into a mysterious house. The episode, though beautifully shot, feels somewhat predictable throughout most of the runtime. However, it is not until the twist at the end that you realize that this was actually deliberate and intended to lead the audience into a false sense of security. Though the episode did not break any new ground, it delivers a truly fun game of cat and mouse that leads to a delicious payoff that will leave you thinking even after the credits begin to roll.
Kendra and her daughter Jamie move to a new home in the quiet suburbs in search of a new beginning. But something evil lurks in the basement and it isn't looking for roommates.
The second episode in the series, Princess went all out on the "creepy doll" genre and introduced us to one of the most repulsive stuffed animals I have ever seen. What sets Princess apart and makes it unique within the series is its willingness to embrace genre clichés, acknowledge them and even make fun of them. The episode is full of subtle, awkward humor that will keep a smirk on your face as you spend 17 minutes watching a stuffed bunny stalk a single mom and her young daughter.
2. Is That You?
Confined to her bedroom on Halloween night, Whitney notices an eerie figure lurking outside her home.
The Season 1 finale, Is That You? takes the series in a more deliberate, scary direction. Much like Not Alone, the episode is simpler in its structure and execution, but really focuses on production value, atmosphere and imagery. This installment is easily scariest of the lot, featuring some very disturbing visuals and a creature that is sure to haunt your nightmares for many nights to come. The uptick in production value is fairly obvious as the sound and visual quality is about as good as you can get when it comes to independent short films, and the performance from lead actress Karlee Broschinsky is superb.
1. They Live Inside Us
A writer spends the night in a notoriously haunted house in hope of finding inspiration for his latest project. He soon realizes that he is living in his own horror story.
Coming in at a Whopping 31-minute runtime, this gigantic short film is far above what you will see anywhere else, delivering massive production value, a deep and enveloping story, superb acting and a twist that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud.
They Live Inside Us is an anthology within an anthology, and obviously a labor of love for the filmmakers behind it, as the sheer scale and depth of the sets, scenery and imagery go to show that if you truly love filmmaking, you don't need millions of dollars to make something beautiful.
As the first season of The Witching Season comes to an end, we eagerly await to see what these filmmakers will be bringing us next. We hope the series will return for a second season at some point, but until then, these episodes should become a Halloween staple for horror lovers across the world.