With the long lineup of Halloween parties and festivities, you may not have the time for full-length horror movies. So how will you stay awake through the night? We’ve got you covered with 10 shots of adrenaline (in no particular order), guaranteed to keep you up and keep the nightmares at bay…for a little while at least.
1. Red Balloon (2010) Directed by Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbro
Red Balloon is a well-shot and tense entry in the babysitter horror trope. It takes a few cues from John Carpenter’s Halloween, and while it’s not wholly original, the creative ways of obscuring the images and the actual threat make for a chilling short.
2. The Cat With Hands (2001) Directed by Robert Morgan
This unique mix of live action and stop-motion tells the story of a cat that wishes to be human. It’s a very brief but effective yarn in the gothic tradition.
3. Night Swim (2014) Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce James McGuire
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the pool, Night Swim will make you think twice about swimming alone. The short makes great use of lighting that really adds a lot of tension to a simple premise.
4. Tub (2010) Directed by Bobby Miller
Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, Tub is a frightening, funny, and disgusting little film about a man who accidentally impregnates his bathtub. I first saw it four years ago and it’s stayed with me ever since. It’s wonderfully original, makes great use of practical effects, and is probably not safe for work.
5. The Dummy by Lou La Volpe
The Dummy is a short horror classic that was featured in between movies on HBO during the 80s. It’s a bit silly but still eerie, especially if you’re no fan of dolls.
6. Certified (2013) Directed by Luke Asa Guidici
Based on the short story “The Open Window” by Saki, a postman’s stop leads to an afternoon of terror after a young girl tells him of the grisly tragedy that befell her family. The short’s solid twist and strong production values make it quite memorable.
7. Alma (2009) Directed by Rodrigo Blaas
Directed by an Ex-Pixar animator, this beautifully crafted short may not seem scary at first glance. It’s a film that tricks you into thinking it’s aimed at children while leading you towards its chilling end.
8. Don’t Move (2013) Directed by Anthony Melton
Six friends summon a demon that can sense movement. Only five can survive. Don’t Move is one of the best that short horror has to offer. Its creature and gore effects are studio quality and the story keeps the tension up all the way through.
9. Bedfellows (2008) Directed by Drew Daywalt
There are few things more frightening than waking up to a stranger in your bed. While this short offers little in terms of story, its terrifying scenario will certainly make you check the covers twice before bed.
10. The Ten Steps (2004) Directed by Brendan Muldowney
After a power outage, Katie must make her way to the fuse box in the cellar. It’s only ten steps, and it wouldn’t be so hard if it wasn’t for the urban legend about a demon dwelling down there. The short is most effective for what it doesn’t show, proving your imagination is the scariest place of all.