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Short Cuts: The Short Horror Review Roundup for December

Sunday, December 15, 2019 | Short Films

Hello!  It’s December and once again I bring the gift of short horror.  As with last year around this time, a big thanks to Blood in the Snow for giving me access to most of the films for this month’s batch.  We’ve got a couple of mock trailers, including one for a bonkers grindhouse flick and another for a throwback giallo film.  We’ve also got a beautifully cinematic interpretation of a crude joke, a commercial shoot for an underground video store gone wrong, and a pretty nasty beast who lures wanderers into its lair.

As always, if you’re a short horror filmmaker, I want to hear from you!  If you’d like me to take a look at one of your films for inclusion in a future installment, hit me up on Twitter or email me at

Bride of the Demon!
Length: 1 minute Director: Daniel Hoffstrom Starring: Brianna Patanode, John Bruce, Edward Thomas
I’ve discovered as of late that I’m a really big fan of faux trailers.  It’s fun to see the would-be plot points for a film that doesn’t actually exist all distilled into a couple of minutes worth of a sizzle reel montage. In this case, we’re treated to a tease for a sleazy exploitation film that I find myself wishing existed in real life.  It’s low-budget and rough around the edges, but of course that’s just what you’d get in the grindhouse theaters you’d have seen it in a few decades ago. 
Where you can find it: Streaming on YouTube

Le otto dita della morte (2018)
Length: 4 minutes Director: Frédéric Chalté 
While I can appreciate the ’70s aesthetic of Italy’s most well-known horror export, I find feature length giallos tend to drag a bit for my tastes.  This short, which again takes the form of a faux trailer, cracks the code for keeping those with limited attention spans like me interested in a giallo film:  keep it under five minutes long.  Director Frédéric Chalté takes all of the things I appreciate about giallo films (funky music, weird angles, colorful palettes) and condenses them down into a fun, bite-sized treat. Plus, small touches like the repeated, dramatic announcement of the film’s title shows that Chalté is willing to poke a bit of playful fun at the subgenre while also showing a true appreciation for it. 
Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds

Length: 4 minutes Director: Trevor Anderson Starring: Um…you’ll see
Look, I can’t giveaway the actors in this movie because it would spill into spoiler territory.  But the film’s poster and title should enough of a clue, so don’t say that director Trevor Anderson didn’t warn you about what was coming.  What I really love about this short is Anderson’s willingness to commit time, talent, and resources for the sake of a bit.  The cinematography is amazing.  The special effects are delightful.  Even the soundtrack and sound design are top notch.  To consider what all of this came together to depict is truly amazing to behold.  Well done, Mr. Anderson.
Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds.  Check out more info at Anderson’s website.

The Video Store Commercial
Length: 4 minutes Director: Cody Kennedy and Tim Rutherford Starring: Kevin Martin, Josh Lenner, Jesse Nash, Tim Rutherford
The obnoxious video store owner is nothing new, but Cody Kennedy and Tim Rutherford give us a fun twist on the trope by looking at how he’d handle unwittingly unleashing a demon.  While shooting a commercial for his store, one of the crew members accidentally steps on a cursed VHS tape and releases a creature made up of twisted strands of film.  Of course, silly and gory hi jinks ensue, but the punchline is in how the video store owner ultimately resolves the issue in true entrepreneurial fashion. 
Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds

Death’s Toll
Length: 4 minutes Director: Spencer Hetherington
This short isn’t really trying to do anything new in terms of plot or character work.  It’s a pretty straightforward tale with an unnamed man supernaturally drawn to a church that’s home to a malevolent entity.  But where the film really shines is in the creature design, as the mysterious thing waiting in the church is a horrifying combination of beast and witch doctor.  Great care clearly went into the costume, and the results are very much worth the effort.  Combine that with some surprisingly effective low-budget effects and you get a pretty jarring little film.
Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds.

Bryan Christopher