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The Art Of The Horror Short

Short films are an underrated medium for horror. With the rise of creepypastas, it’s become more and more apparent that narratives don’t always need to be long in order to be effective. By the very nature of our technology-obsessed culture, content has to grab an audience quicker and quicker or risk being lost in the chaos of a Twitter or Youtube feed.

It takes skill to condense an emotionally resonant piece into a fifteen minute(sometimes less) video. Because of the natural constraints, shorts can often be an effective tell of a director’s talent. A director must be able to balance a stricter budget and get the best performances possible from often unknown or unproven actors. Some of the best talent and ideas in the genre got their start with horror shorts.

Here are five of my favorite horror shorts. Watch these with the lights out and more than once, if you can. I am willing to bet you will notice things you hadn’t with the first viewing.


Adapted, Directed, Filmed, and Edited by Jonathan Castillo

Produced by Johnny Catastrophe Productions

Based on a creepypasta. Short, simple, effective.


Directed by Ben Tillett and Jake Cuddihy

Produced by Bloody Cuts Films

I love the blending of the horror and fantasy genres.That’s partially why Guillermo Del Toro is my favorite director. Suckablood is a black fairytale that utilizes nursery rhyme in a fun and interesting way. It harkens back to a time when fairy tales were meant to terrify children into obedience, something lost in our overly politically correct cultural norms.

Horror Short Film

Animated by Riff Studio and Alternate Studio

I was stunned at the quality of the CG when I first saw this short. I love the way the creators used POV and the narrative it weaves without any real dialogue. Powerful stuff. I wish there were more big budget CG horror films. It would be an interesting way to push the genre.


Directed and written by Andrés Borghi

Produced by Estrella Infernal

Don’t you hate it when your dead ex-girlfriend just can’t take the hint? That’s the premise for this award winning Spanish short.

Lights Out

Made by David Sandberg and Lotta Losten

This summer, Lights Out was a huge success in theaters, but have you seen the short it was based on? My 17-year-old brother hadn’t seen it either. When I showed it to him, he was amazed. He said it had given him chills and he jumped. It instantly made him interested in the film adaptation, even though he is not a horror fan. 

If you liked these shorts, please like, comment, or share these creators’ videos. So what do you guys think? Which one was your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments below.

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