THE STORM

The Storm
Written & Directed by Andre LeBlanc
2013, USA

It is not uncommon for a horror short film to play like the opening scene of a feature film.

This is the case with great horror shorts like Pedro Cristiani’s Deus Irae, Dante Vescio & Rodrigo Gasparini’s M is for Mailbox and Can Evrenol’s Baskin among others.

However, it is very unusual for a horror short to play like the first scene of the last third of a feature film like The Storm does.

Made by highly accomplished visual effects artist LeBlanc, this film is an ambitious take on the “Arctic horror” subgenre occupied by such feature films as all three versions of The Thing, Yim Pil-Sung’s Antarctic Journal (2005) and Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter (2006).

The filmmaker is currently in post-production on another science fiction-oriented horror short called They Watch.

PERISHED

Perished
Written & Directed by Aaron McCann & Stefan Androv Radanovich
2011, Australia

This accomplished piece of apocalyptic cinema is obviously not for any readers suffering from zombie burnout.

For those readers not afflicted with that particular cinematic condition, you are in for an intense and very well made look at one man’s struggle with the end of the world as he knows it.

Perished has shades of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and that is intended as a very strong compliment.

I’M DEAD

I’m Dead
Written & Directed by Francesco Picone
2012, Italy

Also know as Io Sono Morta, I’m Dead is a superb example of the “sleeping giant awakens” story you see in other acclaimed horror short films such as Mariano Baino’s Caruncula and Josh MacDonald’s Game but Picone does it better here.

In 2015, Picone completed a zombie feature film called Age of the Dead based on his short Anger of the Dead and also made the horror short Martyn in 2013 but I’m Dead remains his most accomplished short form work to date.

8

8
Written and Directed by Raul Cerezo
2011, Spain

In the world of dark magic, rituals must be performed according to strict rules. If those rules are not followed to the letter, the events of 8 might be the result.

A film that would have been very at home as an episode of the Boris Karloff-hosted Thriller or Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, this short would put a smile on the faces of the late, great horror writers Robert Bloch, Fredric Brown and Richard Matheson.

ELKO

Elko
Written & Directed by Alexander Yan
2011, USA

Veteran short filmmaker Yan takes a deeply unsettling look at a woman seeking her own death online.

Shorn of all genre trappings, Yan’s Elko is a more high-tech version of the type of human horror you see in the works of Douglas Buck, Brandon LaGanke and Matthew Garrett.

Try shaking this one off without supreme effort.

BEATING HEARTS

Beating Hearts
Written & Directed by Matthew Garrett

2010, USA

Garrett creates a disturbing take on the “killer kids” subgenre with Beating Hearts, a short film you are not likely to forget any time soon.

This film can also be seen as an outstanding entry in the world of the domestic horror film occupied by other great short films such as Douglas Buck’s Prologue and Brandon LaGanke’s Play House.

Garrett previously made the excellent short film Ellie which he later incorporated into his superb anthology feature film Morris County which is available from Unearthed Films.

The filmmaker is also the curator of the Vivisections Horror Short Films program at the Mausoleum of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

ONE LAST DIVE

One Last Dive
Written & Directed by Jason Eisener
2013, Canada

Best known as the maker of the feature film Hobo with a Shotgun based on his highly entertaining fake trailer of the same name, Eisener also directed the well-known horror-comedy short Treevenge and a kids-oriented horror-comedy short called Want to Believe.

The director also contributed the “Y is for Youngbuck” segment to The ABCs of Death (2012) and the “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” segment to V/H/S 2 (2013).

Brief and extremely creepy, One Last Dive is Eisener’s best work to date.

M IS FOR MESSIAH

M is for Messiah
Directed by Nicholas Humphries

Screenplay by Bob Woolsey
2013, Canada

Fans of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man and Ben Wheatley’s Kill List will be especially attracted to veteran shorts director Humphries’ brief, enigmatic and captivating look at the end of the world made for the ABCs of Death 2 contest.

Humphries also directed the award-winning horror short The Little Mermaid, which despite being very popular in the horror shorts world, fails to have the same impact as M is for Messiah.

The director went on to make the feature films Death Do Us Part (2014) and Charlotte’s Song (2015).

EL MATADOR

El Matador
Directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero
Written by Shane McKenzie
2013, Canada

This ABCs of Death 2 contest entry (previously known as M is for Matador) is perhaps best described as a brief glimpse into a confined world of total madness.

Guerrero previously made the lesser horror short Dead Crossing and went on to make the horror short El Gigante and the segment “Dias De Los Muertos (aka Day of the Dead)” for the 2014 horror anthology Mexico Barbaro.