The Mountains of Instead

Championing fiction as an escape from pandemics, politics and bad TV.

Scary Shorts (not the type you, er, wear).

Halloween is nearly upon us and while we usually focus on books here in The Mountains of Instead, Cannonball Jones is here with a terrifying array of short films. Proceed at your own peril and keep a weather eye on your electric meter - because after this little lot you're going to want to sleep with the lights ON.

Over the years I've been lucky enough to attend Dead By Dawn, Edinburgh's premier horror movie festival, several times. Aside from the delights of seeing such luminaries as Robert Englund and Hershell Gordon Lewis, spending quality drinking time with Tony 'Candyman' Todd and being introduced to all manner of underground movies which would never see a full release there were also the short films. Every year we waited with baited breath to see what new five-minute delights the world's most twisted directors could unleash.

In honour of Hallowe'en, here's  a selection of some of the best from over the years. Unfortunately I couldn't find the one movie I really wanted to share, its name and details lost to the years. If it comes back to me I'll have our gracious hostess post it immediately.

Red Lines
A good old-fashioned scare story for you first, straight out of Tales Of The Unexpected or The Twilight Zone. Naughty Emily has been given detention for running in the hallway. Given that her detainer is none other than Doug 'Hellraiser' Bradley, what are the chances of her ever seeing another breaktime?

The Fifth
Was that too scary for you? Just think yourself lucky I didn't choose director Frazer Lee's other classic short, On Edge. You'd never visit a dentist again... To lighten the mood here's a charming American tale about four American poker buddies who are desperate for a fifth to complete their table. However, something about regular player Ken (the hapless lawyer from Scrubs) doesn't sit too well with the newcomer. First he shows up late and then...

The Ten Steps
This Irish short won my heart the first time it played and it still stands up to repeated viewing. A poor lass has been left to look after her little brother in a spooky old Irish mansion while her parents dine with her father's boss. Things take a turn for the worse when the power goes out – mysteriously one appliance at a time – necessitating a trip to the fuse box in the basement. There are only ten steps to get down there, all she has to do is focus and be brave...

The End Is Night
Okay, time to ease up again. Some laughter to ease the nerves. We're back in Ireland for this film and seeing as I'm obsessed with post-apocalyptic literature these days this short seemed fitting. I've seen many scenarios for the end of the world but none so charming as this.

The French Doors
As soon as I started getting into House OfLeaves my thoughts turned to French Doors, a truly original little movie from New Zealand. A young man has just moved into his new house and is in the process of installing some french doors to brighten his room. When he wakes up the next morning, something just isn't right. Where exactly do those doors lead?

I hope these provided some chills and chuckles in equal measure. If you check the archive at the Dead By Dawn website you'll get leads to all manner of other wonders, most of which can be found on YouTube. Spider, Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl, On Edge... more than enough for  any rainy October day or a nighttime Hallowe'en marathon. If you have any favourites of your own then please share them with us!


Willa said…
A little early but happy halloween and thanks for sharing these. Great blog!
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