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8 Horror Short Films and Where to Watch Them

Dear reader, it appears that spooky season is officially here. There’s no better way to partake in the festivities than willingly putting on a film that has been banned from showing in theatres (more on that later). But, what is one to do if they have such limited time? Well do not fret, because I have just the solution. Here are eight horror short films and where to find them brought to you by a lifelong horror fiend.

Juliet in Paris (1967)

Juliet in Paris is a french film starring it girl Juieit Berto is a feminist horror film for the ages. It tells the story of college student Juliet and her hidden obsession with violence. Director Claude Miller creates an endlessly fascinating female lead that will leave you both sympathetic and slightly disturbed. The bright color palette combined with innovative framing are a treat for the eyes. And it features, in my humble opinion, one of the best ending shots of all time. It’s so good that I’m mad I didn’t come up with it first. This is also the first of many “good for her” films on this list, so get excited. This one is available for free on youtube.

Elephant (1989)

Ever wanted to know what the Irish Troubles were like? Well boy do I have the movie for you. Elephant is a plotless, anti movie that consists entirely of random acts of violence. The film is a metaphor for the “elephant in the room”, that elephant being Northern Ireland’s long and deeply upsetting history. As a proud descendant of Northern Irelanders, I recommend this film for anyone that understands what generational trauma looks and feels like. Trust me, it’s just as disturbing as this film is. Elephant is available for free on youtube.

The Alphabet (1968)

This is a student film made by the one and only, David Keith Lynch. Like most Lynch films, the plot is pretty much impossible to recant. This film is said to come from his daughter’s (who also appears in the film) night terrors. The Alphabet is weird, even for Lynch standards. Incoherent animations, terrifying renditions of the ABCs, and what can only be described as distorted baby noises are just some of what makes up the three minute short. It’s Lynch doing what Lynch does best, confusing and amazing the audience. If you want something to chew on for a while, this one’s definitely for you. The Alphabet is available for free on youtube.

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

If you want something equally as weird as the last entry, I recommend this iconic piece of surrealist filmmaking. This film has everything: unforgettable match cuts, a brain melting plot, religion (?), and of course, eyeball slicing. Some may find this one frustrating, but if you're willing to give it the time, you’ll be reminded of this film’s long lasting memory. The fact that it’s co-written by Salvador Dalí is reason enough to give it a shot. You won’t be forgetting this one any time soon, that’s for sure. Un Chien Andalou is available on Amazon Prime.

Shia LaBeouf Live (2014)

This one might be cheating a bit, but it’s on letterboxd so I’m counting it as a short film. Ah, how can one describe Shia LeBeouf? This is definitely the lightest short on the list, as it’s more of a horror comedy. In this film, a narrator tells the story of a perilous fight against known abuser Shia Lebeouf. The song gets more and more outrageous with each chorus, culminating in an exclamation in the last bridge that is so funny I still giggle every time it pops into my head. There are multiple verses here that left me wondering how one even comes up with something like that. The song is also catchy as hell. This is for the girls who want a little giggle and a little spookiness. Shia LaBeouf Live is available for free on youtube.

Possibly in Michigan (1983)

Possibly in Michigan is one of my all time favorite short films. You may have heard of this one after a sound bite from it went viral on public enemy number one, TikTok. Cecelia Condit’s one of a kind tale of two women seeking revenge against a male threat is both a validating experience for women everywhere and a haunting reminder of the very real threat women face everyday. No matter how fantastical the execution is, the heart of the short is all too real. Condit would know, having dated an actual serial killer (there’s a wikipedia rabbit hole for ya). I can’t think of a film that better utilizes artistic expression. A psychedelic blend of music, horror, comedy, and the singular female existence, Possibly in Michigan remains one of the most affecting cinematic experiences ever made. Possibly in Michigan is available for free on youtube.

I Was A Teenage Serial Killer (1994)

How can I even begin to describe I Was A Teenage Serial Killer? A triumph in riot grrrl feminism, Sarah Jacobson allows the unsung teenage girl a chance she rarely gets in cinema: the opportunity to inflict the type of violence usually reserved for men. The title pretty much explains the plot, but there’s something so breathtaking about such a small film. Seeing a teenage girl express her rage so brazenly made me really emotional. Film allows us to confront our darkest feelings in a healthy way, and I Was A Teenage Serial Killer is a prime example of this. This is a movie that hears the pleas and frustrations of women everywhere and gives the most extreme outlet for it. It’s wonderful. It also curb stomps the “not all men” ideology, which is reason alone to give it a watch. I adore just about every second of this one and Sarah Jacobson is my personal hero. I Was A Teenage Serial Killer is available for free on Tubi.

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987)

Remember at the start of this piece when I mentioned that one of these is banned from theatres? Well folks, this is the one. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story comes from Todd “let’s do it baby I know the law” Haynes. The film depicts the life of Singer Karen Carpenter told entirely through Barbie dolls. If you're wondering why the film has been almost entirely wiped off the face of the earth, Haynes used copyrighted music from the Carpenters, and when Karen’s brother Richard caught wind of this, he sued Haynes. One can also assume Richard pursued legal action because the film is just plain creepy. Did I mention that Haynes skinned the barbies to make them look emaciated? Because he did that, just so you know. While the film may be infamous, it still remains a harrowing, yet moving depiction of how mental illness can destroy a person’s life. Karen Carpenter struggled with severe anorexia, and it ultimately killed her. Haynes pulls no punches. Many have said this, but Superstar is one of the most successful biopics because it is not concerned with turning the subject’s life into a neat little package. Haynes set out to tell the real story, and he succeeded. As I’ve mentioned, Superstar is almost impossible to find, but it may or may not be available somewhere on the internet right now. If you happen to find it, maye don’t spread it around so as to not alert Mr. Carpenter.

So there you have it folks. I love all of these shorts, and I promise you’ll at least find them interesting. So grab your warm drink of choice, turn down the lights, and relax by watching Todd Haynes play with skinned Barbie dolls. Who knows? You might end up on a weird short film rabbit hole like I did, and then you too can write an article about your favorites. Anyway, I hope you find these as wonderfully odd as I did. A happy spooky season to all and to all a good night!

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