This Halloween night, we bet that a lot of you will be watching at least one scary movie in order to get into the proper spirit (no pun intended.) If you’re in the mood for a little spine-chilling fear before the main course, though, you should check out some of the horror fare that the internet has to offer; it’s proof positive that a bigger budget does not always equal bigger scares (we’re looking at you, Wes Craven.)
9. Still Life
Still Life has the one of the most unique premises around: a man drives into a town full of mannequins that (apparently) move when he’s not looking at them and freeze when he does, like an incredibly dark and demented version of Toy Story. When our “hero” uses his powers to break into a house and confront the owners, he’s able to crush them with ease only to find out that things are not always as they seem.
8. Slender Man
This one is technically cheating, since it’s a collection of videos rather than a single short, but while each of the Slender Man chronicles is scary enough on their own they become something else entirely when chained together. Ostensibly a documentary about a failed student movie called Marble Hornets, this series invokes the lengthy and involved Slender Man mythos originally created over at SomethingAwful; it invokes a Blair Witch-style atmosphere, but with actual scares.
Plenty of horror films have experimented with multiple personality disorder – Session 9 and Raising Cain spring to mind – but none have managed to do it quite as well as this single five-minute film. It’s astonishing how much detail they were able to pack into such short time; we’re introduced to aspects of aggression, innocence, guilt, and paranoia in the space of seconds. The final persona, however, is the one that makes this short truly creepy.
It was hard to choose just one of creator Fewdio’s many chilling videos, but in the end we had to go with the horrifyingly plausible Mockingbird. Its greatest strength is its reliance on our own imagination to produce fear: nothing is shown, everything is implied, and we figure out the terrible truth at the same time the protagonists do. Plus, the use of the nursery rhyme was both inspired and creepy.
Don’t be fooled by the gentle, soft animation style; this short is just as dark as any of the others on this list. In fact, it’s actually made a good deal scarier by the fact that everything looks so un-threatening and adorable; the atmosphere of suspense totally clashes with the world you see, which means that you get blindsided by the reveal. We’re not going to spell it out for you, but the bottom line is that dolls are creepy as heck.
4. Where Bad Kids Go
Sure, this video is basically just a dramatic reading of a creepy-pasta short story. But thanks to the calm, serene voice of the narrator along with perhaps the best sound editing of any film on this list, it attains a special place in horror nirvana. It doesn’t hurt that the actual story about an odd children’s show is terrifying, especially because there’s always a niggling doubt in your mind as to whether it actually happened.
3. There’s No Such Thing
A really good twist ending makes you reevaluate everything that came before it while also completely subverting your expectations, and that’s where There’s No Such Thing really excels. You might have thought that, as per usual horror logic, at the end there really would be a boogeyman under the bed which would jump out and frighten everyone. What actually happens is far, far more shocking.
Then again, sometimes subtlety and twists are shoved to the side in favor of constant, scream-inducing scares. We can tell right from the start that the facts that “Mama’s back” is not a good thing at all; a few seconds later, we see Mama herself and understand why. The fact that the protagonists of this story are little children just cranks up the fear factor another notch, and Mama’s shroud of moving hair is frankly terrifying.
1. Username: 666
The short at our number one spot manages to subvert the entire idea of short Youtube horror films by making a genuinely frightening short horror film about a suspended Youtube account that might not be so suspended after all. The oddly loud and echoey mouse clicks combined with the gory, almost-obscene visuals and the idea that something – or someone – has taken over your computer make this sure to have a lasting impact on your nightmares.
Any other creepy videos we left out? Also, how many times did you refresh the youtube.com/666 page before chickening out?