Darlings, we are into our second year of Friday Night Features, our weekly feature of the best horror short films available to watch online. Last year we featured nearly fifty fabulously horrific independent shorts, so for the first Friday in 2014, I thought I’d recap the five scariest features of 2013. Enjoy, and feel free to let me know in the comments if I missed one of your favorites!
Our first horror short of 2013, Deus Irae is a in media res tale of a secret order of priests who will stop at nothing to fight a demonic infection. Imagine Boondock Saints meets The Exorcist in a post-apocolyptic future with some particularly outstanding horror effects – perhaps a bit over-the-top in places, but it’s brutally impressive and I hope to see its feature-length script picked up for production.
If you suspect your new home may be haunted, why not invite a psychic and a gaggle of friends over to attempt to contact the spirits? The film is a bit of a slow burn, but once the séance gets under way things get disturbing fast. Small wonder Séance has racked up festival wins, including taking Creepiest Film at the 2012 Knoxville Horror Film Fest.
This 2001 mixed media horror short written, directed and animated by Robert Morgan tells a dark folktale of a cat who wishes to be human. Although innocuous at first, the strange cat is every wrongness that nightmares are made of, animated against the backdrop of tall tales and legends.
One part video travel journal, one part thoughtful letter home by a young traveler on the road for reasons which grow clearer as the movie progresses, the chilling 2012 short film Run uniquely blends a pleasantly hazy tone with the abject horror of everyday monsters. This is one that lingers long after you watch it, kittens.
Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, this 2006 short was made for about $1500 over four days and echoes elements of Stephen King’s The Reaper’s Image and Room 1408. Shot in a stark room, Oculus allows all focus to be on actor Scott Graham as he slowly unravels, confronting an unusual adversary with a bizarre and brutal history spanning more than three centuries. Oculus is one of my favorite examples of how horror can be created with minimal budget or special effects by using atmosphere and anticipation to bring nightmares to life, and I’m pleased to see that the feature length adaptation of this short now has a release date scheduled for April 2014.
Honorable mention also goes to Cost of Living, Cargo,The Cat Piano, and Monster Roll. Since they don’t really qualify as scary, they didn’t make this top five list, but they are really outstanding short films featured in 2013 covering other aspects of the horror genre. For more featured horror shorts of all types, visit the TYoH Friday Night Features archive!