Now's the season for horror movie marathons, and maybe it's because I was raised on Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, but I've always preferred my horror in short, scary doses. Call me crazy, but I think scares have more punch if they're quick—I usually get bored waiting for the big reveal of the monster. Plus, these are all online, so you can watch them right now, whether you're at home in the dark or just on lunch break at work. Make sure your bladder is empty, because some of these are scary AF. We'll start with one that's a little less scary and a little more beautiful...
1. Danse Macabre
This gorgeous short film, which I saw a few years back at Toronto International Film Festival, is a gorgeous, morbid look at what happens to the body after death. Following a suicide, the body is prepped for burial, set to Maria Callas' swelling soprano. The film is cold and sterile and utterly stunning.
2. 2 AM- The Smiling Man
Based on a Creepypasta story, this short film is TERRIFYING. There's something about this short film that reminds me of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "The Gentlemen"—I think it's the smiling and the way the villain moves. Good luck walking alone at night after this one.
This terrifying short so inspired Guilermo Del Toro that he produced a feature length film based on this short. Del Toro says this short was one of the "scariest bits of cinema he's ever seen." He may not be wrong. Mama is terrifying.
4. The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Hollow
Co-Directed by Vincent Marcone and Rue Morgue magazine founder Rodrigo Gudino, with art direction by My Pet Skeleton, one of my favorite artists, this isn't your typical short film. It's a gorgeous, sinister little bit of cinema, with stunning visuals that more than make up for the lack of dialogue. This one is more creepy than jump-scare filled, but it's definitely a great watch.
5. Lights Out—Who's There
This one made the rounds on social media a few years back, after winning some awards, but I couldn't NOT include it, because the film is terrifying. Don't watch this one in the dark—ESPECIALLY if you have kids.
6. Behind Closed Doors
This wonderfully creepy animated short deals with a boy terrified of the monster in his closet- but in a situation involving domestic abuse, who is the real monster? This one has a darkly happy ending, and though the subject matter can be a little hard to take, it's a wonderful little short film.
7. Night Night Nancy
Night Night Nancy doesn't reinvent the wheel here. The short is your typical "there's someone lurking in the house" story. But the film takes the house invasion trope and does it very well. The film is nearly five minutes of consistent, escalating terror.
Another offering in the "something in the house that goes bump in the night category", but this one is a bit more fleshed out. The film has won multiple awards, and it's easy to see why. I jumped at least three times watching this film.
9. He Took His Skin Off For Me
This one is weird and gross, an kind of sweet—not so much on the super scare factor, but definitely has a serious yuck factor. While it's not traditional horror, this one will get under your skin.
10. Teddy Gets An Operation
This one is by zefrank, who does all the "True Facts About..." videos, which usually crack me up. This doesn't crack me up so much as it fucking makes my skin crawl. AUGH. WHO DOES THIS TO A TEDDY BEAR. Anyway, this is repulsive and yet weirdly soothing and doesn't really it with anything else on this list, but it's amazing regardless so I threw it on here because it needs to be seen.
Well, there you go. Ten short films to watch right now to freak you the fuck out. Night night, sleep tight tonight... hope you're not sleeping alone. And if you are... well, you might not be for long...