The short film is one of the most underrated forms of filmmaking out there. Without the constraints of a classic three-act narrative weighing it down, a short film can do some really interesting things with the cinematic form, and horror shorts are the best genre to apply this kind of freedom. Unlike features, good short films can be hard to find, but luckily there are plenty of horror shorts you can stream for free that are really good. You might also enjoy the best horror channels on YouTube.
The short horror films you can watch online included on this run-down hit all of the sweet spots of horror, from older pieces by masters of the genre to animated tales to straight-up bonkers pieces that keep you guessing from the moment they begin.
Before the Internet, when a short film ended its festival run, it essentially died, but now that people can upload their films to online platforms, shorts can be enjoyed whenever you’re in the mood for something spooky. There are a lot of scary short films on YouTube: shorts about ghosts, home invaders, serial killers, and even Cronenbergian monsters made up of your favorite '90s snack time drink.
Turn down your lights, turn up your speakers, and settle in to spend some time with these scary horror short films on YouTube. Then vote on YouTube’s best short horror films, and if there a short that you think should have been included, leave it in the comments.
The feature-length version of this film may be somewhat problematic (and kind of depressing), but the original short boils everything down to the basic scares that come with being afraid of the dark.
2AM: The Smiling Man
This short (based on one of the only creepypastas that isactually creepy) could have been a paint-by-numbers short film, but the odd movements of Paul Foltz (who plays the Smiling Man) and the score by Matt Hanks sell everything about this piece. If you weren't already worried about walking alone at night - and rubbery dudes with weird faces - then you're probably completely spooked out right now.
Tuck Me In
Tuck Me In is straight-up creep town. It's based on a two-sentence short story by Juan J. Ruiz, and it's going to make you rethink having children for the next decade - or until you invest in that spooky doppelgängers alarm system that you've had your eye on.
Good luck falling asleep after watching this short that turns the sound of wind chimes into one of the most frightening things ever. This piece succeeds in creating a creepy mood that many feature-length horror films never match. It's a very bare bones approach that still manages a couple of surreal visuals that make this short piece look like a million bucks.