INCUBATOR

Incubator
Written & Directed by Jimmy Weber

2011, USA

Director/screenwriter Weber delivers a huge improvement over his previous horror short The Gatekeeper (2010) in this take on the well-known “kidney donor” urban legend.

Incubator can be seen as the type of short film that plays like the first scene of a feature film as in the case of Deus Irae or a self-contained piece that would make a great double feature paired with David Alcalde’s El Ciclo.

Weber went on to make the horror feature Eat in 2014.

BURN

Burn
Written & Directed by Jerry Pyle

2011, USA

Director/screenwriter Pyle makes a very strong debut that channels the brutal essence of the best short story work of Jack Ketchum.

Pyle wisely cast the criminally underrated and underutilized actor Tim Abell in the film.

Mostly known for the late 1990s TV series Soldier of Fortune, Inc. and a lengthy resume of direct-to-DVD films, it’s a true mystery why the talented Abell did not show up in a major recurring role on Sons of Anarchy, Justified or any number of other more high-profile projects.

Pyle also directed the psychopath horror short Service and the darkly comic short Trust.

NINJAS

Ninjas
Directed by Dennison Ramalho
Written by Dennison Ramalho & Marco de Castro & Marcelo Velloso
2010, Brazil

Brazilian director of the critically acclaimed short film Love From Mother Only (2003) and co-screenwriter of the Coffin Joe film Embodiment of Evil (2008), Ramalho delivers a brutal and disturbing tale of guilt and corruption.  Not for the squeamish, Ninjas is easily Ramalho’s most accomplished work to date.

Ramalho contributed a segment to The ABCs of Death 2 called “J is for Jesus”-a savage indictment of persecution in the name of religion.

The Hell Withina Ramalho-helmed horror feature originally announced in late 2010-is currently in pre-production.

DEUS IRAE

Deus Irae
Written & Directed by Pedro Cristiani
2010, Argentina

Deus Irae is the type of short film that comes off as the opening scene of a feature film.  This classification happens to fit very well as director/screenwriter Cristiani intends to make a feature-length version of this ambitious, award-winning short.

Let’s hope he can make that happen because Deus Irae deserves to be a feature film.

While the concept for this particular supernatural short film cries out for a larger budget, Cristiani makes it work with the resources at hand despite leaving the audience a bit short-changed by the lack of a real ending.

Cristiani made another horror short film El Hombre De La Bosa (aka Man in a Bag) in 2010 that, despite being well-made, isn’t as memorable as his short debut Deus Irae.

OFF SEASON

Off Season
Written & Directed by Jonathan van Tulleken
2009, USA

Director/screenwriter van Tulleken delivers a highly atmospheric, suspenseful short film highlighted by the superb cinematography of Ming Kai Leung.

Van Tulleken has primarily focused on comedy since this great horror short but has had two feature films announced, including a feature version of Off Season.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Happy Birthday To You
Written &  Directed by David Alcalde

2006, Spain

Screenwriter/director Alcalde followed up his ambitious apocalyptic black-and-white short film Dr. Curry (1997) with this superb short about a meeting of individuals with very dark secrets.

Despite his obvious talent and a very successful career directing commercials in Spain, a feature film has eluded Alcalde, who in the past has been connected to the horror films 27 Times (aka The Seeing) and In the Playground-a remake of the 1976 Spanish killer kids classic Who Can Kill a Child?.

Both of these projects fell apart-Who Can Kill a Child? was remade in 2012 as Come Out and Play by another director-but it’s been announced that Alcalde is set to helm an unnecessary remake of the 2006 French home invasion film Ils (aka Them).

ELSE

Else
Directed by Thibault Emin

Written by Thibault Emin & David Lucas
2007, France

Co-screenwriter/director Emin gives us a unique apocalyptic love story that combines body horror and sexuality reminiscent of such Clive Barker literary works as his classic short story Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament.

Little has been heard from Emin since Else won the Best Student Short Film Award at the 2009 Screamfest LA Film Festival but there’s no denying the talent and vision on display here.

DARA

Dara
Written & Directed by Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto
2007, Indonesia

This directing/screenwriting duo known as “The Mo Brothers” delivers a demented piece of bloody goodness in their filmmaking debut.

The duo later made a feature film version of Dara called Macabre (2009) and the pair directed a disappointing serial murder horror/suspense thriller feature film called Killers in 2014.

Tjahjanto wrote and directed the incredibly twisted and highly memorable segment “L is for Libido for The ABCs of Death (2012) that is one of that anthology film’s true highlights despite a distracting and unnecessary turn toward black comedy.

Tjahtanto returned to the short form very memorably in 2013 with a fabulous segment called “Safe Haven” that he wrote and directed for V/H/S 2.

GENESIS

Genesis
Written & Directed by Nacho Cerda

1998, Spain

Director/screenwriter Cerda followed his gruesome, uncompromising and controversial short film Aftermath (1994) with another striking piece of work highlighted by the performance of Aftermath lead actor Pep Tosar and the visual style of the great Spanish cinematographer Xavi Gimenez.

Genesis, a story of shattering loss influenced by the Pygmalion story in Greek mythology, was nominated for a Spanish Goya award in 1999.

Cerda went on to co-write and direct the disappointing horror feature The Abandoned in 2006 and is currently in development on a film adaptation of the World War II-set horror graphic novel I Am Legion.

Genesis is available on DVD from Unearthed Films, packaged with Aftermath.

EL CICLO

El Ciclo
Written & Directed by Victor Garcia
2003, Spain

Accomplished special effects technician turned director/screenwriter Garcia makes a very strong debut with this award-winning, mind-bending short film.

Chilean director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza’s 2012 ABCs of Death segment “C is for Cycle” and Dutch director Maarten Groen’s 2014 horror short film Rotor both tackle a narrative similar to Garcia’s but if you want to see the concept done right, look no further than El Ciclo.

The film industry attention Garcia received for this short film led to largely thankless jobs directing Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007), Mirrors 2 (2010), the Syfy Channel movie Frost Giant (2010) and Hellraiser: Revelations (2011).  His most recent feature is the 2013 supernatural horror film The Damned.

Garcia made another excellent short film T is for Tiles for the ABCs of Death competition in 2011.