10 Must-See Horror Short Films


A list of short horror films to watch on Halloween or any other night.

With lists of both all-time classic and modern horror movies out of the way, we couldn’t let October go by without a list of short films that will definitely thrill, scare, or even make you squeamish. So grab your pumpkin spice beverage, and let’s see some hair-raising shorts. Don’t forget to share, and leave your favorite short horror film in the comments below.  

The Big Shave (1967)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Since everyone is speaking about acclaimed director Martin Scorsese and his new movie Killers of the Flower Moon, it’s fitting to start this list with his body horror film, 1967’s The Big Shave. In this Vietnam War allegory, we see a man shaving in a spotless bathroom. What starts as a display of something as mundane as a man shaving turns into the most appalling few minutes ever. 

You can watch a beautiful high-definition restoration from the Criterion Collection on Max

Girl at a Party (2022)

Director: Jess O’ Kane

In an experiment for these short film lists, I looked at the latest horror films posted on the Short of the Week website. It wasn’t a disappointing decision. Jess O’ Kane’s about two teenagers hooking up at a party and have an unexpected turn of events. It’s a horror about sexual anxiety in a subtle and precise manner. 

This short is too sexy for YouTube to allow me to embed it in this post. Here’s the link.

Rhyme or Die (2021)

Director: Max r Lincoln 

Another recent selection from Short of the Week, Rhyme or Die, tells the story of 5 kidnapped strangers forced to rhyme to their raptor’s beat. This satire made the best of the limitations of the time, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the stylish “elevated horror” style. It’s Saw for Gen-Z and A24 fans.  

It Had Pale Skin (2016)

Director: Christopher Ashton

If this film doesn’t make you think twice before walking alone at night, it will cause you coulrophobia. 

The Smiling Man (2015)

Director: A.J. Briones

Maybe it’s because of my own child abuse trauma, but when anything starts with a kid watching black-and-white cartoons at night, it’s unsettling for me. This is what A.J. Briones’ popular short film deals with. Our childhood trauma. The smiling boogeyman in this movie is creepy, accomplishing more in less than 10 minutes, while many full-length studio films fall short.  

Suckablood (2012)

Directors: Jake Cuddihy and Ben Tillett

Another short film related to childhood fears. Suckablood is a gothic tale about a 9-year-old girl afraid to suck her thumb and abused by an ugly stepmother. Part of the Bloody Cuts series, this is a bedtime story that is as close to our spooky imagination as children and narrated by Ben Tillet in a way that will give us goosebumps and make us smile simultaneously.

Lights Out (2013)

Director: David F. Sandberg

Before doing Annabelle and Shazam movies, he was working under the pseudonym Ponysmasher and released in 2013 his short film Lights Out. Praised by critics, the less than three-minute feature about a silhouette scaring a woman at her house caught the eyes of Hollywood producers, and he got to direct a full-length version released in 2016. However, the 81-minute film didn’t accomplish as much as its predecessor. Proving once again that less is more when it’s a passion project. 

Mamá (2008)

Director: Andrés Muschietti

Muschietti’s short is another example of a short film adapted to a full-length afterward. Needless to say, there’s no background story to the mother’s ghost. Making the short scarier and more sinister than its successor. Maybe short horror films should stay untouched and not be turned into full-length features. 

At least Mamá got the blessing to be introduced by the master of spooky adult fairy tales himself, and that’s pretty good for something that started as three minutes short.

Alexia (2013)

Director: Andrés Borghi

Alexia tells the story about the ghost of an ex-girlfriend tormenting a young man on social media. Though it’s a hundred percent-found footage, it has enough computer screens for fans of movies like Unfriended or Host to enjoy. As a software engineer myself, I appreciated the effort in recreating a Facebook-like page. Turns out Andrés Borghi is also a game developer and multimedia artist. Talking about a multifaceted artist that deserves worldwide recognition

Zygote (2017)

Director: Neill Blomkamp

If you’re a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 or even his less stellar films like Elysium or Chappie, you’re in for a treat. This short is part of his series Oat Studios and arguably the best short film of the entire anthology. A frightful blend of Aliens and The Thing, this is an action-packed horror sci-fi that will definitely freak you out.  

YouTube won’t let me embed videos with grotesque monsters, but you can watch the entire series on Netflix.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *