Generally, by virtue of the constraints of time, you will notice that short horror movies do not have a complex storyline. They usually explore a moment, a situation, a terrible and conspicuously sinister incident, upon which the main character – or characters – finds himself at the epicenter of it, having to fight hardly to survive a hazardous, treacherous and abnormal ordeal.
Well, here I selected six short horror movies, that you may find relatively interesting to watch. When watching it, try to appreciate them for what they are, and avoid comparing this peculiar form of art with feature films, that usually have bigger budgets, are financed by major studios, and do have a more decent quality of production. Most of short movies are independent, so they lack the support that we normally see in mainstream motion pictures. Nevertheless, some of these movies are quite excellent, and do not possess an inferior degree of quality whatsoever. So I think you can easily appreciate most of them; they are, indeed, an excellent and genuine expression of passionate creativity. Of course, they are not perfect, but neither feature films are.
So, let me invite you to lose – or gain – one hour of your life, opening your artistic perceptions to a more brief form of narrative. I hope you appreciate the selections that I have done, as well as my invitation for you to see this type of movies more frequently. And let me warn you: although this was not premeditated, here you will see a lot of sinister, dangerous and nefarious killer clowns, or at least subtle references to them. I think in the end they truly are – as unexpected and improbable as it might seems –, an authentic and pervasive source of genuine horror.
2AM: The Smiling Man
Soon, the mysterious person that grabbed his mobile phone sends him videos, first of the writer himself taking the mask in the garage, then of random girls shopping indoors, outdoors, and last, of the writer’s agent, in her own home. Seeing by the signal that the assailant is probably still there, he decides to rescue her, but upon arriving at her apartment, he finds only a note saying that it was too late, attached to a picture of her agent, with her face drawn as a sinister clown. So he goes home, to find another video uploaded, that shows her unconscious in a bathtub, with her hands tied. Then he sees a man in the clown mask, holding a knife. So he decides to call his own cell phone, and it rings inside his own house. When he goes to the bathroom, he sees the mask and the knife in the sink with a note, and her agent lying down in the bathtub.
Nevertheless, his partner is deeply concerned, as he hasn’t slept in six days, and they start to discuss. His friend calls him a coward, and urges him to confront his problem. As the tension between them escalates, the young man becomes desperate, and starts to lose grip of reality. Soon, he grabs a gun, and starts to have reminiscences about a recent event, where we see him armed, apparently trying to rob someone, that soon we see, is his friend. As his friend – now posing as the victim of a robbery – shows that his empty wallet only had a picture of his daughter, the assailant tries to inspect his victim, in order to search for valuables. Unfortunately, thinking that he had a chance to grab his gun, the victim tries to subdue the thief, but is shot. So, the assailant gets desperate, and soon they are shown one more time talking to each other, in their flat. The robber now seems deeply resentful of what he has done, and reprehends his friend for trying to grab the gun. When he confesses that he is guilty for his friend’s death, it becomes implicit that he was a criminal, and that he killed his victim in a frustrated robbery attempt. So he is seeing frequently this individual that he murdered only as a delusional experience, a natural symptom of his conscience being overcome by guilt.
Die! Sitter! Die!: Rupert
Upon entering, she grabs the electronic babysitter device, and soon afterwards locates the baby room, whose name is apparently Rupert. When she is relaxing in the leaving room, doesn’t take too long for her to hear strange noises through the electronic device, so she runs to the baby room. Arriving there, she initially thinks that someone might be in the room, so she cautiously enters, and goes directly to the cradle to verify how the bay is doing, only to see a baby toy, besides the electronic device. When she looks behind her, she sees an enormous man with a white painted face, dressed as a baby, that attacks her. He terrorizes her, and demands that she changes his diapers, then clean him with baby powder, and threatens her not to inflict any harm on him.
Feeling exceedingly humiliated, she initially complies with her assailant’s demands. Nevertheless, Alison tries to escape, but he chases and eventually subdues her violently. Meanwhile, her boyfriend calls her to apologize, and leaves a message on her mailbox. Alison subsequently wakes up in a very obscure place, imprisoned by Rupert. He severely reprimands her, and tells her – contemplating a mural full of collages of missing woman reports –, that he had several other “mommies” before. When he threatens her, she explains her situation. If he kills her, her mother, who is sick with cancer, will have nobody to assist her. Rupert then tells her that if she behaves and do everything that pleases him, he will make her time worthwhile. He offers her twelve thousand dollars if she spends the entire night, which is precisely the value of the debt she has with her mother’s chemotherapy. He then demands that she feed him.
So, when she puts the diner for him – in a very childish pattern – he demands the baboon. When putting the baboon, she feels tempted to strangulate him, but decides to give up this idea, since such a mistake could cost her life. So she starts to feed him. Rupert, behaving as a baby, denies the food. Alison apologizes, but then Rupert reprimands her, saying that she should behave like a mother, as he behaves like an infant. Just because he denies food, something every baby does, this is not an excuse for her to quit, as no mom would let her own child starve. So she plays his game, and even imitates an airplane with the colored spoon, while feeding Rupert. Just like a child, he then spits food on her.
Then the doorbell rings, and Rupert threatens Alison with a meat hammer. Her boyfriend, though uninvited, enters the house. Alison screams, and then Rupert breaks her foot. Rupert then attacks and kills Philip, smashing his face several times, with the meat hammer. When Rupert return covered in blood, Allison realizes that he had killed her boyfriend, and she screams in panic.
Allison then begs Rupert not to kill her, saying that she accepts to play Rupert’s twisted game. Rupert, enraged, says that they will, indeed, play a game. Hide and seek. He says that first, she will hide, and then he will find her, and bury her in a place where no one will ever find her. He then starts counting. Alison goes hiding.
Allison hides below the kitchen table. When Rupert enters the kitchen searching for her, Alison dilacerates Rupert’s Achilles tendon with a knife, making him unable to walk. While trying to grab her, he tore her clothes apart, so he uses a snip of her blouse to improvise a bandage in his foot, while screaming in pain. Then he goes again after her. Soon thereafter, Rupert hears what appears to be Allison crying. When he goes to the direction of the whimpering, he sees only the electronic babysitter device, and, while distracted, Allison hits Rupert in the head with a blunt object. Then she catches Philip’s car keys, and runs outside. Nevertheless, Rupert – despite his injuries –, goes rapidly after her, and eventually grabs and attacks Allison. They fight hard, and Rupert tries to strangulate Allison.
Allison then manages to grab the car key, that she already had inserted on the door, and sticks into Rupert’s right eye. Then she proceeds to strangulate him with his own baboon, eventually killing him. Exhausted, she falls asleep, and wakes up the next morning, besides Rupert’s corpse. She pulls the car key from Rupert’s eye, and then leaves, in total shock.
Tremendously sensational and genuinely frightening, Die! Sitter! Die!: Rupert is a very tense, impactful and sinister horror film. Almost half an hour long, probably is the most extensive in this selection that I’ve done. With great acting, a cohesive script and a formidable production, this is certainly one of the best and most genuinely frightening short horror movies that I have seen. Despite the apparently ingenuous premise, the story was well-conceived, and its coherent development has not left any holes in the plotline.
So, short movies are a fundamental form of art by its own rights and merits. Nevertheless, they can inspire good – sometimes even excellent – feature films. And the exponentially genuine, original and creative talents we see in this field of work definitely makes worthwhile watching short movies frequently. It’s always refreshing to discover new talents, and exceedingly inspired filmmakers challenging new horizons. I hope you have enjoyed this experience, as well as the movies that I’ve selected. See you soon in the next list!