Incredibles 2 comes out in a couple weeks offering yet another family-friendly theatrical release for parents to rejoice over. But what if Hollywood animation studios gave the horror community a little love too with some creepy, stylish films?
Thankfully, there are indie filmmakers stepping outside the box to show us animation’s potential for the horror genre. Here is a devilish list of both upcoming and currently available short animated horror films that would give any kid nightmares.
La Noria (TBA 2018)
La Noria is a story about a little boy, who, after experiencing a terrible loss, comes face-to-face with some horrific, otherworldly creatures. The film’s stunningly creepy trailer will make you wish more animated studio films dared to go dark.
Carlos Baena’s passion project features jaw-dropping, atmospheric visuals and a heartfelt personal story for something truly special. Baena is leading a collaboration of international industry professionals, who have worked on films like Let the Right One In, The Orphanage, Pan’s Labyrinth, Finding Nemo, Rio, and many more. We’ll be keeping an eye out for an official release date, which is set for later this year!
Other Lily (2015)
Other Lily is a scary tale about a girl who suffers from sleep paralysis. Lily soon realizes the apparition that torments her at night may be more than just a figment of her imagination. The short film directed and animated by David Romero demonstrates you don’t need a big budget or crew to make one creepy animated short. The sketchy, hand-drawn animation really lends itself to the film’s charm and creep-factor.
We also covered the short film Paralys in a previous article, which showed audiences the nightmarish visions sleep paralysis sufferers may endure. Be sure to check that one out as well!
Season’s Greetings (1996)
Speaking of 2D animation, here is a throwback to the cartoons many of us grew up on as kids. Sam invaded writer/director Michael Dougherty’s mind long before his quintessential Halloween film Trick ‘r Treat. The imp made a much earlier appearance in Dougherty’s senior thesis animated film Season’s Greetings at New York University.
In the short film, Sam is out trick or treating under the guise of a normal kid in a costume, when he runs into a shadowy stranger. Hopefully Dougherty doesn’t make us wait too much longer for Trick ‘r Treat 2.
A shipwrecked sailor wakes up on the beach, and seeks shelter from the violent storm at a nearby vacant house. As the weary man takes refuge by a warm fire with the rain pouring down outside, he soon suspects he may not be alone.
I really can’t say enough about how much I absolutely love Geist by writer/directors Ben Harper, Sean Mullen, and Alex Sherwood. This poignant haunted house film is an emotional roller coaster that will give you chills in more ways than one.
A tormented man attempts to track down a mysterious killer to avenge his wife’s murder. But he’s led to a shocking discovery after closing in on his suspect.
Witness by Alexandre Berger, Christ Ibovy, and Hugo Rizzon is the type of psychological thriller you’d normally see in a live-action David Fincher film. However, the uncommon juxtaposition of animation telling a seedy revenge tale elevates the material in a more artful, dreamlike way.
Midnight Story (2016)
Riff and Alternate Studio bring us this spooky animated horror short where a young girl learns there are more frightening things than monsters in story books. Midnight Story isn’t light on subtext either, providing a deeper commentary about broken homes. The film is an intense haunted house ride that mixes impressive 2D drawings and 3D animation.
It’s definitely some of the creepier visuals you’ll find in an animated horror short. One startling moments is reminiscent of the short film Mama, which was adapted into the 2013 feature length film by IT director Andy Muschietti.
The Backwater Gospel (2011)
When the undertaker comes to town to claim a life, a belligerent holy man rallies the paranoid locals to rid themselves of a tramp. This stylish horror western directed by Bo Mathorne is brutal, bloody, and cool as all hell.
The short plays out like a Stephen King novel told in under 10 minutes. The Backwater Gospel’s graphic novel-esque visuals take the story to another level in a way live-action just can’t replicate.
Do you have any favorite horror shorts? Post them in the comments below, and tell us what you thought of these awesome films!