For me Halloween is not a time for gallivanting about, looking for parties and candy. No, for me Halloween is just another in the long line of excuses I use to sit on my behind watching horror movies. But what to watch? With a full day of Halloween styled movies at my disposal, sometimes it’s nice to have some filler in-between the big movies, to get some much-needed food and drink into the system before moving onto the next flick. Lucky for me YouTube has a ton of horror shorts ready for consumption. This is a short selection of some of the more interesting ones I found during my on-line travels.
Monster Machine (2013)
With an introduction by the Nerdist channel’s delightfully devilishly Terror Twins comes Andrew Bowser short which has flashbacks to some of the great horror comedies of the 1980s. The short already acknowledges the fact that its influences come from movies like Monster Squad (1987) and Weird Science (1985), with the two leads especially reminiscent of Gary and Wyatt from Weird Science, with shades of Shaun of the Dead (2004) thrown in for good measure. The basic story follows two slacker scientists who manage to create a machine that brings to life horror movie characters. It is pretty darn funny, with the added bonus of seeing numerous monsters getting blown away and some nice cameos from some classic horror movie monsters. This short has a lot of heart, a bit of gore and a whole heap of humor, which combined make it an incredible slice of entertainment.
Marvel Zombies Vs. Army Of Darkness (2013)
Anyone who has read the comic knows roughly how this story plays out. Ash Williams from the Evil Dead universe gets sent to the Marvel universe to sort out the Deadite problem and comes face to face with the zombie invasion instead. This short, created by Brian Rosenthal and David Griffin has only a small amount of time to tell such a story, but it does manage to create a universe that you will want to see again. This short follows Peter Parker coming face to face with among other things, a zombie Wolverine. Then Ash Williams gets in on the action to. The special effects are very well handled and effective, and you do get absorbed into the story, even when you know what will happen to some of the characters onscreen. The acting is very good and the introduction of Iron Man’s gauntlet into the proceedings warmed my fan boy heart no end.
It’s a shame that the team have not decided to go back to this universe, but the YouTube channel it originally came from WTFLOL has made the extremely interesting sounding Sarah Connor Vs Jason Voorhees which may be worth a look.
Tales From The Lobby – Friends For Eternity (2012)
Meet Kevin and Josh, two revolutionaries trying to keep the VHS ways alive. Each of their tales is set inside their small video store and much like surreal UK shows like The Mighty Boosh (2003) or The League of Gentlemen (1995) has strange occurrences happening on a regular basis, normally with a twist ending. Now if you are a VHS fan these movies will certainly appeal, but just casual fans of the genre will get a kick out of their many exploits. This episode has shades of Videodrome (1983), The Fly (1986) and even Alien (1979) in its short 7 minutes running time. Put out by Heathen Video Archive all the episodes are worth a watch, but this one happens to be one of my personal favorites. Each of the stories have a slightly dark and sinister element to them, but also a nice mixture of humor to. The use of practical effects are also welcomed by this viewer, helping to add that ’80s feel to a lot of these episodes.
Welcome To Hoxford (2011)
An IDW comic by Ben Templesmith is perfectly transported onto the small screen in Julien Mokrani’s short. Jason Flemyng is almost unrecognizable as Raymond Delgado, a stone cold killer who may be something much, much more. When he is transported to yet another facility for his misdemeanors, he may bite of more than he can chew. The cells soon become attacked by something, something not human. But who is locked in with whom? Fans of UK actors will notice a small appearance from Dexter Fletcher, with some great acting by all the cast in general this short certainly impresses. But what really grabs the audience is Julien stylistic approach to the subject matter. It could easily have gone into gore territory and, though it does have its moments in that department that is not what grabs your eye. It is the use of dulled color to highlight the blood (much like Sin City has done), and the gleams of light around Raymond’s glasses, hiding his eyes and making him seem that much more terrifying.
Sam Barnett is one of the few film makers still using Claymation as a medium for terror. Lee Hardcastle, a UK film maker also creates in this area. But while Lee’s work reveals in its goriness (and a lot of fun it is to) in a popcorn horror fashion, Operator chills to the bone. The story is simple. A worker goes to his job in a small room where he is given instructions to change plugs from one socket to another in a certain time frame. While the work is mundane, it is certainly not threatenting. Until something changes and a black goo seeps from one of the wall ports, turning into something very nasty, very quickly. Still required to do his job, he is trapped in this small room, fighting for his survival. To say much more spoils the powerful impact the viewing of this short has. With a shocking ending, you will be thinking of this one for a long time after viewing.
Fear Force Five (2013)
Fans of Sharknado (2013) and Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (2009) take note; this series of 3 shorts is for you. With a slapstick sense of humor and a director of the above mentioned Mega Shark movie on board as the director, these movies really go down well after a beverage or two. While a cast of characters in a small fishing community go about their business, a giant pirate zombie decides to wake up and cause havoc. But why has he awoken and is there any chance of stopping him? Well watch and find out! Part Power Rangers, part Godzilla, all cheese this has everything you need for a giggle with your terror. It is hard to take a monster seriously that has a shark in its eye, and thank goodness it continues to entertain because of this silliness, rather than it going against it.
Krueger (Another Tale From Elm Street) (2013)
Chris R. Notarile is a master of his craft, and his craft happens to be fan films. Since 2005 Chris (via his site Blinky 500), has created some of the most professional looking, well-acted and superbly scripted shorts on YouTube. When looking at his work it is hard to pick a favorite, as his superhero shorts and action movies are top notch. But when it comes to scares, Chris has focused on some of the big names in the genre. Jason, Leatherface, Michael Myers and even Pinhead have popped up in his work. But his standout shorts have to be his Elm Street series. Focusing on a younger Freddy Krueger, before his change into a dream killer demon. It follows Krueger’s exploits on the most dreaded street in the US. In this short the set-up is so simple, yet chillingly effective. Freddy meets a young girl on a swing and engages her in conversation. Roberto Lombardi as Freddy is absolutely terrifying and certainly looks the part. His appearance, body language and way with words makes this scene quite tense and hard to sit through, as the audience knows full well how it will end before the credits roll.
Within The Woods (1978)
To end any great Halloween night off with a bang, you need The Evil Dead (1981). Its appeal has never really diminished. And while it didn’t find commercial success upon its initial release in America, once it hit the UK on video its popularity exploded. The film was thought to actually be harmful to the UK public, and at one stage was banned, with a prison sentence imposed on video store owners who stocked the tape! Thankfully times have changed now and horror fans new and old can embrace the horrific tale of demons in the woods without a spell in the cells. Now the film is a benchmark horror movie, with sequels and a re-imagining out there for Deadite fans to absorb.
So why not look at where it all began? Well YouTube can help you out there, with Sam, Rob and Bruce short Within the Woods uploaded on there by numerous horror fans who wanted to share the short. The piece was made to get the interest of investors and was never meant for mass consumption. But thank goodness it came to us, because it is an interesting piece of horror history. The film quality of the piece is quite poor, but you can see the key ideas within it that became The Evil Dead. The great thing about this short is that Bruce Campbell as Ash is the possessed killer through the entire short, letting rip on his best friends. A version of this is meant to exist on one of The Evil Dead DVD releases, but if you don’t have that particular disc then you can always watch it here.
Hopefully these little shorts are something that you will enjoy. It is not just Halloween that brings the monster movies to YouTube, they pop up all year around. So why not let us know some of your own favorites in the comments section below.
Images: Nerdist, WTFLOL, Heathen Video Archive, Lee Hardcastle, Sam Barnett, Cinefix, Chris R. Notarile,
IDW, Jack Perez, Ben Templesmith, Julien Mokrani, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell.