October is just around the corner and we all know what that means: 31 days of non-stop thrills, chills and shrills. Your favorite Halloween horror flicks are scheduled to record on DVR and your Shudder subscription is up to date, but what about those 10-minute breaks at work? How will you handle dinner night at the in-law's house without screaming?
I say go ahead and scream. Just grab your cell phone and start watching some of the most terrifying shorts on the internet. The best part is they are all free, with a run time of 6 minutes or less.
6. 'Where Is It' (3:29)
A woman returns home from vacation to learn that an old mirror mysteriously fell off the living room wall during her absence. The entire short is visualized through a picture-in-picture FaceTime call with her house sitter. Constant in-picture buffering and camera angle flips add to the tension as we see bloody writing appear everywhere. Three words repeatedly ask an unnerving question: Where is it? Click play to learn the answer.
5. 'Two Birds' (6:09)
When you hear a noise beneath the floorboards, call the police, go to the neighbor's house or simply run — never go into the cellar and check it out. Brendan Beachman wrote and directed this horror short about a woman who learns some hair-raising secrets about her girlfriend. The story is an allegory for the depths we can unwittingly descend for our loved ones, especially when we don't truly know them. As stated below, Brendan often ties elements of the human psyche into his work.
My favorite horror films have subtext woven in that can be interpreted as a metaphor for the terrors experienced by the unlucky protagonists. I tried to do the same with this film. Specifically, with the theme of domestic abuse.
4. 'Night Night Nancy' (4:56)
None of us seem to sleep too far from our cell phones these days. So it's no surprise to see Nancy awakened by texts from a friend. No problem, right? Think again. Navigating through her phone, Nancy learns someone took pictures of her while she slept. Is a stranger in the house or is a friend playing a prank?
Take five minutes to watch this terrifying short, and don't forget to stop by the kitchen and pick up a meat cleaver before taking a stroll through Nancy's house.
3. '#NotAlone' (4:59)
A girl posts a selfie on the internet tagging it #homealone. She checks the post a few seconds later and notices the hashtag has changed to #notalone. A quick search retrieves images of butchered bodies posed in bloody houses. This eerie short made by filmmakers Dimitris Tsakaleas and Sotiris Petridis will make you think twice before taking your next selfie. Just imagine a gorier version of the short horror film Selfie From Hell, which went viral in 2015, amassing more than 20 million views.
2. Rotary (2:21)
Few things are creepier than 1970s appliances. That said, if you know a vintage rotary phone isn't working, don't pick up the receiver when it rings. This edge-of-your-seat thriller moves fast and leaves you guessing as a teen girl closes a thrift store for the night — just in time for the lights to go out. Crypt TV, with filmmakers Patrick Young and Powell Robinson, have put together a spine-tingling horror flick guaranteed to give you chills.
1. 'Stereoscope' (3:31)
If your stereoscopic viewfinder shows nothing but #horror images, do you keep watching? This woman certainly can't pull her eyes away. Writer and director Alex Babaev and Crypt TV present a visually dynamic horror short for the not-so-feint of heart. Beware — once you click the play button you might not be able to stop watching.
In addition to horror shorts, the internet is filled with full-length horror movies to whet your seasonal appetite. Sites like Shudder and Screambox can turn the entire month into one long scream-filled hell-o-ween.
Have you seen any horror shorts you would like to see turned into a feature film? Let me know in the comments.