By Andie Mau
Assistant Web Content Manager
Short films and the horror genre are overlooked by mainstream audiences despite their contributions to the cinema. Shorts have fantastic entertainment value given the wide variety of stories, creative approaches and quick run time.
Shorts are particularly well suited to the horror genre, as suspense is hard to maintain in a feature-length film. The following are the most disturbing yet brilliant shorts available to watch for free on YouTube.
“Unedited Footage of a Bear” by Alan Resnick and Ben O’Brien
“Unedited Footage of a Bear” has a misleading title and opening. The short film is disguised as a drug ad before descending into chaos as a part of Adult Swim’s infamous Infomercial series. The film has a running commentary made more poignant by the disturbing visuals.
Directors Resnick and O’Brien poke fun at familiar marketing ploys, while also uprooting the deep-seeded issues of addiction. The terror set into the audience by the dysphoric narrative reflects the real-life horror the short is meant to represent.
“Unedited Footage of a Bear” is a great watch if you are a fan of fourth wall-breaking narratives, stories with an undercover message and satirical commentary.
“Teeth” by Daniel Gray and Tom Brown
Rather than horrify viewers, “Teeth” instills a pervading sense of unease. The narration, accompanying visuals and (most prominently) sound design set a disturbing amount of lifelikeness to the animation that makes one want to grit their teeth.
“Teeth” draws its creepiness from both body horror and animal cruelty. The evident insaneness of the narrator’s obsession becomes ever more apparent as the film ticks on until its climatic and startling end.
“Teeth” is a quick watch for those who enjoy narrator-driven tales, spine-tingling sound effects and subtle horror.
“5 Minute Dating” by Peter Hatch
The shortest short of this list, “5 Minute Dating,” pulls a twist on the Frankenstein storyline. Following a seemingly pitiable and disfigured man, “5 Minute Dating” pulls such an abrupt twist on its audience the shock value is horrific enough.
The short is so effectively scary because it plays with the audience’s expectations. “5 Minute Dating” makes audiences question previously held idioms and faith in their ability to judge the character of others.
“5 Minute Dating” is a short watch for anyone craving a plot twist, psychological horror or monster tale.
“Who’s Hungry” by David Ochs
In this perverse rendition of Hansel and Gretel, the Tim-Burton-esque style is the star of the show. Narrative-wise the short is not particularly remarkable, but the thrilling and gory animation makes watching worthwhile.
The smooth motion captured in the black-and-white cartoon adds a fast pace to the short that leaves audiences on the edge of their seats. The gore is also amplified by the disturbing amount of detail during graphic bits.
“Who’s Hungry” is the pick for those interested in horror animation, horrific versions of children’s folktales or the creepy aesthetic of Tim Burton.
Featured Image by Andrea Mau on Canva