Mystery Horror Theater with Leif and W., Ep. I
Do you have your popcorn? 3D glasses? Catheter and piss bottle? Good, because it’s time to screen some short horror films with best spooky buds Leif Bearikson and W.
The advent of YouTube has ruined a lot of things. Artful music videos have given way to terrible lyric videos. Teenagers and racists and weeaboos are given a platform to spread their awful ideas. Rational discourse and friendly discussions have been swept aside. The education system as we know it is likely on the verge of collapse. It’s not all bad, though. Streaming video services online have made it easier for enterprising filmmakers with tiny hands and budgets to create some truly unique and sinister shorts. Both Leif and I are big fans of horror movies, as we know a lot of you are, so we decided to start a new series to highlight some noteworthy shorts for you. This week, I’ve selected three shorts ranging from grindcore song length to death metal song length. Press play, grab whatever inanimate object you use to comfort yourself, and hunker down for some thrills and chills.
Jack is one of many short horror videos made by the prolific Drew Daywalt of Daywalt Horror. The film was made as an entry for the Santa Barbara MINUTE Film Festival and, excluding front and end matter, clocks in at less than a minute. I actually first saw the film in gif form over at r/fearme (a veritable den of occult villainy), and despite its minimal run time, it left an impact on me. What it lacks in length, development, etc., it more than makes up for in unsettling atmosphere and coulrophobic dread. Check it out below, and be sure to view more of the Daywalt films on Drew’s YouTube channel.
Run is the first of two shorts presented here that clocks in at about 7 minutes. While the other two films focus more on the supernatural side of terror, Run is pure psychological thriller. Atmosphere and suspense are the key to this film’s success, and the foreboding mystery conjured by writer/director Mat Johns is quite effective at what it does. Leif actually sent me this short last year after he pre-screened it for the Housecore Horror & Music Festival, and Stockhausen, Masterlord, and I all had the same very visceral response to the subject matter.
I stumbled upon Thresher over at r/Lovecraft where it was billed as a horror cut certain to please fans of Clive Barker and H. P. Lovecraft. Thresher was originally created by Mike Diva as an entry to YouTube House of Horrors: A Legendary Halloween, a contest hosted jointly by Legendary Pictures and YouTube as a way to find aspiring and innovative young horror creators. Guillermo del Toro himself presided over the affair, and the fact that Thresher finished in the top 5 is a testament to its potency. Mr. Diva certainly knows how to craft a captivating tale, combining practical effects with a wee bit of CGI to create a taut, tense film full of eldritch brooding and suspenseful twists. The fact that Thresher will definitely make you jump doesn’t hurt, either.
That’s it for this edition. Next time Leif will be screening some of his favorites, so be sure to bring plenty of Red Vines and plastic underpants.