The Farfield is an occasional series where I write about something other than gaming.

I once posted a list of Found Footage horror films because Found Footage is my guilty pleasure. And now I guess it’s close enough to Halloween to do a followup: here’s a list of horror shorts you can watch online. I’m not a fan of jump scares so I’ll let you know which of these entries feature one. Spoilers: not many.

1/ Curve (2016) – 10 minutes

Tim Egan’s Curve is a masterpiece, like watching an actual nightmare play out. No dialog. No monsters. No ghosts. Just a slope.

2/ The Backrooms (2022) – 10 minutes

Okay, you got me, I sneaked a Found Footage entry into this list too. There are tons and tons of horror videos based in “The Backrooms but this is the only one I’ve seen that really clicks. It captures the sense of being trapped in some fucked-up alternate dimension – and there’s something in there with you. There are lots of other Backrooms videos on the same channel but you don’t need to watch them.

Technically a jump scare at the end but it’s worth it.

3/ Lights Out (2013) – 3 minutes

Come on, I can’t exclude Lights Out whose online success propelled it into a full feature film. The opening minute is the best bit and after that it becomes more familiar horror on a budget: flickering lights, thumping feet. But it’s done well and very, very short.

A jump scare at the end – because that’s the only way something like this tends to end – but not as cheap as others.

4/ Skeletons (2020)

I’m afraid the video above is only the trailer.

Skeletons is not a horror short about dread or scares at all. It is delightfully macabre and blackly comic. I’d rather not spoil too much but I’ll summarise that it’s about a woman in a failed marriage who falls in love with a corpse.

However… it was originally on Vimeo but the video appears to be locked. I only just discovered this yesterday after jotting down Skeletons for this post months ago. I sent a tweet to writer/director Richard Hunter last night after discovering the film is now private on Vimeo, hoping there might be some other way to watch it. I’ll let you know if there’s any response.

5/ Other Side of the Box (2020) – 15 minutes

Perhaps this short is a little overlong and doesn’t quite know what to do with its central premise. It also uses the “don’t blink” trope which has infected modern horror. But there are some genuine creepy vibes in this and I salute the creative team for not settling for a jump scare ending which seemed to be coming.

6/ Peephole (2018) – 4 minutes

I quite liked the unusual idea on offer here however they don’t know where to go with it and so ends on a tiresome jump scare.

7/ Local 58 (2017-2021) – 1-6 minutes each

Kris Straub’s Local 58 is a series of very short videos each of which relate to late night broadcasts on public access television. They’re excellent at putting across a retro TV style while conveying something undeniably wrong.

I’ve included the first video here but you should check out the channel. There are only nine in the entire series. Apparently there is an ARG associated with it but that doesn’t interest me as much.

8/ Zygote (2017) – 22 minutes

Neill Blomkamp’s OATS Studios produces film prototypes; the good ones are supposed to get developed for cinema. I’m surprised Zygote didn’t. It’s a powerfully effective The Thing/Alien hybrid and the creature is terrifying. Lavish production values.

The actual video is age-restricted so you’ll need to go to YouTube directly to watch Zygote. I think it might be on Netflix too.

9/ Slaughterbots (2017) – 8 minutes

This short film about the dangers of autonomous weapons remains disturbing as it feels very much in the realm of science fact. Probably the most horror of the horrors on this list.

10/ La Cabina (1972) – 35 minutes

And finally an old classic with a longer runtime. I saw this Spanish film when I was single-digit years old under the wing of my father on BBC2. It made a lasting impression and inspired one of my few viral tweets.

It’s a classic horror in the sense of something normal and everyday turning against you, rules being broken in a sinister but subtle way. It spends the first half acknowledging the comic absurdity of what has happened but then slowly drives (literally) towards its powerful climax. Brilliant.

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3 thoughts on “The Farfield: Short and Unsweet

  1. Ohhh, this is great! Always time for some shorts!

    We’ve seen and enjoyed Curve, The Backrooms, Lights Out and Zygote. Lights Out, unlike Mama and Rare Exports, is one of the only shorts I’m aware of that managed to (just!) pull off a full length feature. The Zygote creature is quite the horror spectacle though huh? I don’t think any of the other Oats Studio shorts landed quite like that one for us.

    Peephole straight away taps into a weird fear I have of Eyes Close to Mystery Holes, so I’m not looking forward to that.

    Thanks for the reminder on La Cabina — been meaning to watch that since you mentioned it in the past.

    Will try and share any others I think might be worth your time! 🙂

  2. Oats Studios – yes I quite like the one with Sigourney Weaver for its incredibly dark, helpless tone. But that didn’t feel like it would make a movie at all, or even a series. Zygote is definitely standout.

    I watched quite a of shorts in addition to this but so so so much internet horror is jump scare. Very tedious. And please stop making “don’t blink” videos.

  3. We ran out of time last night to watch any long films so caught up with a few of these shorts and I see what you mean with Peephole! Promising idea but loses its way.

    Other Side of the Box was great. The obscured face was really creepy and the angle on the stairs was nerve-racking. It’s a shame it doesn’t really know where to go but we enjoyed the ride!

    That boxed void made me think of The Black Hole (3mins):

    And this one sticks in my mind for the excellent build up (4m30s).

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