It’s 2016. The old year is dead and gone, and new horrors lurk in the coming months. Let my pal Leif Bearikson and I be your guides to the terror that awaits you. This is Mystery Horror Theater.
In this brief horror short, directors Mitchell and Taylor Kerby tap into our innate fear of being vulnerable by asking when we are at our most exposed. The answer, of course, is when we’re sitting on the toilet. Occupied is five minutes of building tension as the protagonist finds his life threatened when he should be most at ease. This short gets major points for not overextending itself with fancy effects or long monologues; lighting and panic reign and prove useful tools for making you wonder what’s lurking in the dark just beyond the protective barrier of your bathroom stall.
Starting your horror short with an exorcism scene is a bold declaration of intent, but Malhar Patel’s first horror film takes a surprising approach to the genre. Rather than focusing on the possession itself, the film explores the psychological toll battling demons takes on the righteous. The film’s dark, Nietzsche-esque emotional exploration is surprisingly vulnerable and all the more disturbing for the way it relates psychological demons to the usual haunting ones found in most films. This short is not what I expected.
Silent Hills P.T. in Real Life
The cancellation of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s Silent Hills was a massive blow to fans of horror games, and the subsequent removal of P.T., the playable teaser for the game, from online servers only added salt to the wound. Rather than wallowing in self-loathing, though, enterprising filmmakers, such as Oddest of the Odd, have sought to recapture the spirit of what might have been. In this short film based on the demo, OotO conjure a taut, anxious experience through the use of a cyclical, nerve-racking found-footage-style short not unlike excellent British psychological thriller The Triangle. Though there may be a jump scare or two, the real horror of this short is its attention to detail and atmosphere; little features such as a Lovecraft book and burnt cigarettes capture your eye and draw you deeper into the unwinding confusion as you are placed inside the head of a man trying to make sense of his shattered reality. A neat throwback to Eraserhead and some fan service to the long-suffering Silent Hill devout really seal the deal and cause that cancerous fear of the unknown to grow in your belly like a malignant tumor. Silent Hills may be dead, but the vengeful spirits it unleashed linger on.