I saw a lot of shorts this year, people. A lot. Thankfully I wrote them all down!! For horror shorts I don’t just limit myself to 2012 releases, although the five films here are all from 2011 and 2012. I’ve said it a million times that I have the utmost respect for filmmakers who create really badass horror shorts. To be able to develop characters, atmosphere, and tone in such a short amount of time is nothing short of impressive to me. The six films on my list all do just that. So here’s my list of my favorite horror shorts for 2012 (in no particular order). As always, I look forward to your comments.
RED KINGDOM RISING (2012; 73 minutes; my review):
I know, I know. 73 minutes is hardly a “short.” But I and the filmmaker consider this one a short and for me it has to do with the structure of it. This is a beautifully made film that has it all. A strong story, strong performances, a trippy-dreamy-hallucinogenic atmosphere, and it’s creepy and scary as all hell. The story revolves around a woman who is trying to come to terms with her very traumatic childhood. Her fractured and damaged mind (due to the trauma) creates a warped Alice in Wonderland-like world for her so she can try and process and deal with her past traumas. It’s a beautifully dark short film, people. This is the kind of story that could have easily become a muddled mess, but writer-director Navin Dev has such focus and control over the material and where he wants everything to go. The cinematography and editing are nothing short of expert, and the special f/x and some of the imagery are downright disturbing. RED KINGDOM RISING will haunt you for days after seeing it.
FAMILIAR (2011; 24 minutes; my review):
This is the first short I watched in 2012 (waaaay back in mid-January 2012) and I knew from the second it ended that I’d be including it on my list as one of the best horror shorts of the year. FAMILIAR tells the story of a man, John Dodd (Robert Nolan) who has grown ever more increasingly bored and hostile of his life. His behavior is one of a man content with his life. He goes through the motions of playing his roles as husband, father, and bread-winner but inside he’s an active volcano about to explode in a fit of rage and violence. What at first seems to be a simple mid-life crisis turns out to be something so much more. Is John not really responsible for his thoughts? Is there something “inside” his head whispering those horrible thoughts? FAMILIAR is a horror short not to be missed. All these questions are answered in a very explosive and disturbing ending. FAMILIAR has been tearing up the film festival circuit and winning awards left and right. As soon as this becomes available I’ll let you know!!
KLAGGER (2012; 12 minutes; my review):
The story in KLAGGER isn’t anything new. A man in a warehouse which was shut down after a horrendous accident occurred there, is haunted by the spirit of one of the workers who died in that accident. Again; nothing new. But writer-director Casey Crow really elevates this short with giving us some fantastic shots and by building up some incredible tension. Give this short 12 minutes and it’ll get under your skin!! The filmmakers are currently working hard turning KLAGGER into a feature length film. I’m excited!!
TILL DEATH DO US PART (2012; 13 minutes; my review):
You know I had to have at least one zombie horror short on my list!! Writer-director Julián Lara has a really fun time here examining the underside of love that Hollywood never shows. How it makes otherwise rational people crazy with jealously and doubt. On their wedding day a couple is attacked by a group of zombies at the church. But this isn’t some random attack from some viral outbreak. The zombies attacking the couple and the people attending the wedding are all the ex-girlfriends of the groom. Lara really shows his love of the genre here and throws some great social commentary at us as well as some damn good f/x!! This is a fun one that’ll make ya think twice before agreeing to, “Till death do us part”!!
TERRIFIER (2011; 20 minutes; my review):
This short is just all kinds of wrong!! This takes the idea of clowns being just about the scariest thing in the world and amps it up about 1,000 percent!! This clown isn’t just scary, terrifying, and the stuff of nightmares, it’s also the most vicious, brutal, sadistic clown that ever existed. Remember Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT? Terrifier fucked Pennywise and left his bleeding corpse on the side of the road as a warning to all the other “scary” clowns out there!! The story is simple enough. A woman driving back home gets a little turned around and stops off at a gas station for directions. Bad choice, lady. Terrifier is already at the gas station finishing up his “play date” with the attendant. Now the killer clown has his sights set on the girl. There’s a few twists and turns that you won’t see coming and the ending is absolutely horrifying (it still haunts my dreams). Check out my link above to actually see this short. You’ll thank me.
WALT (2011; 25 minutes; my review)
What starts off as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the week quickly turns into a dark nightmare that serves as a warning to never trust anyone. Ever. Walt is a lonely old blind man just looking for a friend. He finds one in high school student, James. James is a lonely kid and a bond and friendship begins to develop. But one of these guys hides a secret and that secret isn’t revealed until the final bloody and violent frames. WALT has a lot of heart (and blood) to it and is an expertly crafted short that has better character development in it’s short 25 minutes than most two hour Hollywood big budget films.
Have you seen any of these horror shorts?
Stay Bloody in 2013!!!