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Fright Bites: 13 Short Horror Films for Halloween

By Robert Repass

These short horror films, all available on YouTube, are sure to get you into the Halloween spirit.

Late October—daylight retreats, shadows loom large, and twilight lingers. But while we bundle up against the cooler autumn air, many of us seek out chills of a different sort. If you like a good on-screen scare and are brave enough to venture beyond the well-worn paths of Hollywood horror films, the Web offers a host of short horror movies to feed your darker appetites.

To get you started, here’s a list of short films (each less than 30 minutes long) available on YouTube. This is by no means a definitive collection; instead, we’re presenting a variety of options to sate your macabre viewing desires—from the professionally produced to the homemade, from full stories to short scenes, from scary to silly, and from creepy to just plain weird.

Now lock your doors, turn off the lights, and choose a film—if you dare!

THE QUIET

A young deaf girl must walk home alone from school. And she soon realizes that she’s being followed.

This chilling stalker film makes great use of sound and visuals—and it has enough tension and ambiguity to keep you guessing long after the movie ends.

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Length: 21:13

THE WOUND

A woman is recuperating from abdominal surgery when, suddenly, her wound develops a mind and an appetite of its own. This is a weird, fun monster movie with an ending as crazy and gut wrenching as its premise.

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Length: 18:23

LUNA

Predator and prey—saying anything more would give too much away. It’s a great (and very scary) story.

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Length: 11:44

ENDLESS

This experimental film vividly portrays a classic vampire showdown, shot in slow motion and without a bit of dialogue.

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Length: 7:46

SUCKABLOOD

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without a gothic fairy tale. 

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Length: 6:46

LIGHTS OUT

Horror films rely on a set of common devices to scare the popcorn out of an audience, but few films use these devices in effective or unique ways. This short film is a riff on one such device, and the film nails it. One recommendation: Keep a flashlight handy.

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Length: 2:41

DEAD FRIENDS

A bedroom tea party, a lemonade stand, and a little girl with her zombie playmate—what could be sweeter?

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Length: 11:16

THE FRENCH DOORS

DIYers beware! A home remodel may cost you more than you imagine.

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Length: 12:32

HALLOWEEN HUGS

Trick and treat. Several friends release their 15th annual Halloween short—replete with self-referential humor and some knocking-the-stuffin’-out-of-pure-evil fun. 

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Length: 6:44

CUT

A ghoul battles a barber and the tools of his trade—a shear delight!

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Length: 3:03

THE SMILING MAN

When does something weird and goofy become weird and scary? The Smiling Man knows. This movie shows how easy it is to cross that line.

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Length: 4:08

THE KILLING JOKE

Question: What would a collection of short horror films be without a clown? Answer: A lot less scary!

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Length: 15:47

THE BLACK HOLE

For all you sci-fi fans who love Halloween, here’s a cautionary tale about why you should not play with black holes!

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Length: 2:49

There are more frights to be found on YouTube, so be brave and explore—and perhaps you’ll even be inspired to add your own short to this beloved genre. 

(Check out these tips on editing video with Adobe Premiere Pro CC.)