Only Strangers Sleep in my Bed – Horror Short

A conman works his way into a lonely woman’s home by posing as her long lost son.

 

Only Strangers Sleep in my Bed is a creepy horror short that was a Senior Film Thesis at Wesleyan University, shot on 16mm.

 

Only Strangers Sleep in my Bed - Horror Short

 

Director: Shane Bannon
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Jordan Tragash, Karen Gagliardi
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt10985786/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Empty Man (2020)

We start in Bhutan, and the year is 1995. Four friends (Greg, Fiona, Ruthie and Paul) go hiking, and Paul starts hearing a strange whistling sound that no one else seem to notice. Trying to investigate where the mysterious sound is coming from, he suddenly falls into a crevice and Greg must try to get him back up again. After climbing down, Greg finds a catatonic Paul, and when trying to touch him he whispers “touch me and you’ll die“. Paul and Greg are not entirely alone down there, though…there is also a huge deformed skeleton embedded into the cave wall. No matter how mysterious this all looks, Greg’s priority is to get Paul out of there, and the group takes him to an empty house right before a snowstorm hits the place. Paul is still in a catatonic state, and the group soon find out that he’s being slowly possessed by an evil spirit.

 

In Missouri, 2018, James is a former detective who is struggling after the death of his wife and son in a car accident a year ago. When the daughter of one of his friends runs away from home, where the only clue she’s left is a bloody message saying “The Empty Man made me do it” written in the bathroom, he tracks down this girl’s friends and he eventually finds out that they tried a ritual a few nights ago: summoning the Empty Man. As the legend goes, on the first day you would hear the Empty Man, on the second you would see him, and on the third he would find you. When the teens start turning up dead, James delves further into the legend of the so-called Empty Man, and gets thrown down into a dark and crooked rabbit-hole.

 

The Empty Man is a horror mystery thriller directed by David Prior, and based on a comic book series created by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Vanesa R. Del Rey in 2014, published by Boom! Studios. While initially thinking it might be yet another supernatural teen slasher, it was obvious right from the start that this was something entirely different. The opening with the cave and the deformed ancient skeleton set a few expectations for something a bit more eerie and weird than a run-of-the-mill homicidal entity, and yup – those expectations were certainly met. With a lot of truly creepy scenes and a steadily building atmosphere of dread, The Empty Man manages to entwine you into a nightmarish story with cults and cosmic horror.

 

While the movie is overall very exciting and suspenseful, I have to admit that I’m not sure exactly what I think of the ending. At one point during the last part of the movie we kept joking that it’s been so entertaining and suspenseful so far, that it didn’t really matter even if it had some bullshit twist-ending where he got captured by aliens or eaten by Bigfoot or something…and while, of course, neither of those happened, the ending still felt a bit more of a “whuh..?” rather than an “a-ha!” experience, and I think that some parts needed a bit more explanation for the ending to feel more satisfying (note that I haven’t read the comic book series, and didn’t even know it existed until after watching this film). It still doesn’t detract from it being a pretty good movie, though, with creepy atmosphere and a lot of suspense. It’s sad to say that some people might steer clear from it due to its “supernatural entity killing off teens” premise, which might give some Bye Bye Man or Slenderman vibes…but as a whole that is not what the movie is about at all. This means that those who might watch it under the premise of seeing an easy supernatural teen-slasher, would also get something entirely different than they bargained for…

 

The Empty Man is a solid mystery thriller, and well worth a watch.

 

The Empty Man

 

Director: David Prior
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: James Badge Dale, Marin Ireland, Sasha Frolova, Samantha Logan, Evan Jonigkeit, Virginia Kull, Robert Aramayo, Ron Canada, Jessica Matten, Aaron Poole, Stephen Root, Jamie-Lee Money, Owen Teague, Joel Courtney, Phoebe Nicholls
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt5867314/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




BAKEMONO – Horror Short

It is February 3rd, known in Japan as Setsubun. Families celebrate by casting out evil spirits from their homes. But Ayumi is not convinced that they’re all evil. So she invites one in for a midnight snack.

 

Bakemono is a fun little horror short about the Bakemono from Japanese folklore.

 

BAKEMONO - Horror Short

 

Director: Jorge Lucas, Sumire Takamatsu
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Claudia Fabella, Shio Muramatsu, Dice Suzuki, Sherry Qiu
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11599788/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Old (2021)

Guy and Prisca are a married couple who have decided to travel to a luxurious tropical resort with their two young children, Maddox and Trent. It will be their last family vacation before they divorce, something they have decided to keep a secret for the children in order to let them have one great vacation together before splitting up. The resort’s manager tells them about a beautiful secluded beach that he admits to only revealing to some of his guests, and they travel there together with three additional parties: a rapper called Mid-Sized Sedan and his female companion, a surgeon named Charles with his wife Chrystal, their young daughter Kara and Charles’ mother Agnes, and Jarin and Patricia, a husband and wife. A driver (played my M. Night Shyamalan himself) takes them to the area where they can get to the beach, but he refuses to go anywhere near the place himself. Not suspicious at all…

 

After walking through a cave they get to the beautiful beach, and is indeed stunned by the place. Everything quickly turns into disaster, however, when one of the people ends up drowning, quickly followed by Agnes suddenly dying. They try to go back through the caves where they came from in order to get help, but no matter how often they try, they end up dizzy and disorientated inside the cave and eventually blacks out, returning back to the beach every time. One strange event after the other takes place, and when the children have turned into teenagers the group realize that the area is rapidly aging them. Additionally, they also discover that each of the parties at the beach have at least one family member with an underlying medical condition.

 

Old is an adaption of a graphic novel from 2010, by Pierre Oscar Lévy (writer) and Frederik Peeters (artist), called Sandcastle. Mr. Shyamalan got it as a Father’s Day gift, and explained that his inspiration for making a movie adaption of it was that he could work through a lot of anxieties he had around aging and the inevitable death, and his parents getting older. And who doesn’t think about aging and death, unavoidably shuddering at the thought of your loved ones and yourself getting older and perhaps suffering from age-related problems? We are constantly reminded of these things through media, and you can hardly browse through anything without there at least being one ad or article about how to “stay young”, how to keep from aging with this or that (bullshit) remedy, how to avoid certain age-related health issues by eating/doing/buying x, y and z, etc. No matter what fear people have in regards to getting older, most people have them to some degree, whether it be due to the risk of health problems, watching their loved ones grow old and die, or more trivial matters like losing their youthful appearance and attractiveness. And all of these themes are displayed through the various characters that find themselves trapped on the beach where their age is rapidly increasing. Some of these themes aren’t really thoroughly explored, however, and some of the characters behave a bit oddly with some clunky dialogue here and there. There are times when you can’t help but to chuckle a bit over certain things that happen, but with an odd and somewhat surreal tone it felt more intentional than unintentional.

 

The cinematography is great, but shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when looking at the cinematographer’s name: Mike Gioulakis, who also did the cinematography in It Follows and Us. The film was also shot on 35mm, whereas M. Night Shyamalan has previously only shot films digitally since The Last Airbender (2010).

 

The ending is something that I’m a bit tempted to write about, but I will need to steer clear of that in order to avoid spoilers. All I will say is that the old saying “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind…

 

Old

 

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors:Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott, Alexa Swinton, Gustaf Hammarsten, Kathleen Chalfant, Francesca Eastwood, Nolan River, Luca Faustino Rodriguez, Mikaya Fisher, Kailen Jude, M. Night Shyamalan
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt10954652/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




100,000 ACRES OF PINE – Horror Short

Ranger Megan Patel loses her brother Daniel, under mysterious circumstances. Struggling to understand how he died, she finds herself alone, venturing into the vast pine forest. However, as she follows the trail of her brother into the woods, the trees begin to change and shift around her. Soon Megan arrives in places without any recollection of how she got there. Almost as if something is pulling her deeper into the woods. Something dark and dangerous, that Megan might not be able to escape.

 

100,000 Acres of Pine (aka Hvor træerne blokerer for lyset) is a well crafted animated horror short.

 

100,000 ACRES OF PINE - Horror Short

 

Director: Jennifer Alice Wright
Country & year: Denmark, 2020
Actors: Sarah Airriess, Jericca Cleland, Kirk Johnson, Lawrence Marvit, Tobias Taastrøm
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt13065942/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

We’re in the jungles of Vietnam where two American POWs are being held captive by some natives. A group of troops, lead by Norman Hooper (John Saxon) is about to rescue them. While they succeed after a tirade of bulletstorm, flamethrowing and throat-slicing, the two captives seems to have been turned into cannibals by some virus. And those who gets bitten leaves people with serious cravings for human flesh like a hardcore heroin addict. Or just zombie cannibals, if you will. The next who’s to be infected is Norman, when he gives out a helping hand to get them out of the hole they’re trapped in.

 

This was a flashback nightmare, by the way, and Norman wakes up sweaty besides his wife in their home in Atlanta, Georgia, and now struggles daily to not get his cravings and triggers by looking at raw meat, and fears ending up a cannibal himself. He especially struggles not to take a bite out of the teenage girl next door, who has a crush on him.

 

Things doesn’t get better when Norman receives a phonecall by Charles Bukovski (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) who wants to hook up for a drink. He’s one of the guys who’s gotten turned into cannibalism, and Norman smells Bad News and says “another time”. Charles seems to have lost his mind completely, as he’s just hunting for his next fix and wanders around like a deranged serial killer. He goes into a movie theater, where he can’t resist it no more when a coupe starts to make out in front of him. He bites the chick’s neck like Dracula, and the Zombie Apocalypse has just started.

 

I hadn’t heard of this film until it suddenly popped up on Netflix (Norway) of all places, fully uncut and ready for the whole family to watch on a Friday night. I remember there was a time when films like this was totally banned in most countries, and you had to import a VHS copy from US to watch in the basement with friends while the parents were far out of sight. Yeah, things have changed. This film was also on the Video nasty list because of two seconds where a sewer rat is getting torched by a flamethrower.

 

And no, as you’ve probably already figured, this is not your typical cannibal flick with confused half-naked natives running around sunny jungle surroundings, big turtles getting ripped apart, penis severing/castration, et cetera… We’re in a gritty urban setting where the police, and some angry bikers, gets involved to hunt down the cannibals through the streets and sewers. It’s more action-packed with some really great tension filled moments, and of course a bit of the mandatory Italian sleaze. Not the most complicated plot, really, but overall an entertaining Grindhouse flick with an interesting take on the cannibal genre and a crazy, unhinged character. But I’ll never  get used to hear saxophone music during killing scenes, though…

 

Also known as Invasion of the Flesh Hunters and Cannibals in the Streets.

 

Cannibal Apocalypse

 

Director: Antonio Margheriti
Original title: Apocalypse domani
Country & year: Italy, Spain, 1980
Actors: John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Ramiro Oliveros, John Geroson, May Heatherly, Ronnie Sanders, Vic Perkins, Jere Beery, Joan Riordan, Laura Dean
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0080379/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



NIGHT TERROR – Horror Short

A woman desperate for a child is on her way to meet her husband at an important Adoption Agency meeting when she is met with a sinister force that keeps her trapped inside her house.

 

Night Terror is a suspenseful horror short with an interesting and chilling concept.

 

NIGHT TERROR - Horror Short

 

Director: Mat Lo
Country & year: Canada, 2017
Actors: Merren McMahon, Julian Haig, Chelsea Brennan
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt7529562/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Call (2020)

Seo-yeon is a 28 year old woman who has traveled to visit her sick mother in the rural area where she grew up. Finding that she has lost her cellphone, she goes to her rundown childhood home where she finds an old cordless phone. Soon, she starts receiving calls from this phone, where a woman claims she is being tortured by her own mother. Thinking of it as someone who have just dialed the wrong number, Seo-yeon decides to investigate the matter when more calls from this mysterious woman comes through the old phone. She finds out that the woman making the calls, Young-sook, lived in the same house in 1999…which is also the year Young-sook claims to live in when making the calls. Seo-yeon lives in 2019, which means there’s a 20 year timegap between her and the caller. The two women make contact through the phone calls, and starts exchanging information about the time they live in and their own lives. Seo-yeon explains that when she was a child, her father died in a fire. Young-sook is then able to prevent Seo-yeon’s father from dying in that accident, and Seo-yeon’s life immediately changes: both of her parents are now suddenly there and healthy, and their house is no longer in the rundown state it used to be in. Happy about the turn of events, Seo-yeon starts searching for Young-sook in order to find out what kind of life she is living these days, in the present…only to find an old newspaper article about how Young-sook was killed by her mother during an exorcism. Seo-yeon tries to warn Young-sook about what is going to happen, and by doing so, unleashes an unexpected chain of events.

 

The Call is a South-Korean Netflix horror-thriller, directed by Chung-Hyun Lee, which is an exciting ride from start to finish. I hadn’t read much about it before watching it, so I didn’t know anything about how the movie’s plot would unfold (and that’s the best way to experience movies like this, in my opinion). At first it gives the appearance of being a rather sweet story about two girls meeting each other despite the difference of time being between them, but it all transpires into something much darker. The two main characters, Seo-yeon and Young-yook, are delivering strong performances, and I really liked the turn of events unfolding throughout the story.With a runtime of almost 2 hours, there wasn’t really a moment without suspense or some kind of excitement, but it isn’t until the first two thirds of the movie that the plot starts to delve into its more sinister part.

 

There is a mid-credits “twist” that apparently felt a bit off-putting to some people, but overall it just points out the numerous twists and turns that could be caused by so-called time traveling (a concept that could easily be considered a bit paradoxical by itself). I didn’t think this ending ruined anything per se, but it definitely gave assumptions of the possibility of a sequel.

 

All in all, The Call is an exciting and gripping Korean thriller, which was released on Netflix globally on November 27, 2020.

 

WARNING: watch the trailer at your own risk, it pretty much spoils the entire movie. Which seems to be a common mistake in many trailers these days…

 

The Call

 

Director: Chung-Hyun Lee
Original title: Kol
Country & year: South Korea, 2020
Actors: Park Shin-Hye, Jeon Jong-seo, Sung-ryung Kim, Lee El, Park Ho-San, Moon Chang-gil, Oh Jeong-Se, Kyeong-sook Jo, Grace Lynn Kung, Ryu Kyung-Soo, Dong-hwi Lee, Jonny Siew, Yo-sep Song, Chae-Young Um
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt10530176/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



DEAD MALL – Horror Short Film

After a night of partying, The Girl finds herself on an empty street in Downtown Miami with a strange man who offers to walk her home. He tells her he knows a short cut through the old mall. He coaxes The Girl inside, and then locks her in. “Sorry”, he says. “It has to eat…”

 

Dead Mall is a nice, surreal reimagining of the minotaur myth.

 

DEAD MALL - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Olivia West Lloyd
Country & year: USA, 2020
Actors: Maya Martinez, Dylan Redford, Jillian Mayer, Claudia Rodriguez, Liz Ferrer, Kea Duarte, Angelica Arbelaez
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt12984234/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Delirium (2018)

Tom (Topher Grace) has been recently released from a mental institute. He’s inherited a large mansion after his father committed suicide just a few days before, and here he needs to serve 30 days under “house arrest”. While the large mansion isn’t exactly the worst place to be quarantined, and you could say he hasn’t exactly got any reason to complain (with a big indoors pool and all!), things do, of course, turn out to be not too great. He’s plagued by visions and hallucinations of his father’s dead body, and he hears noises around the house that makes him believe someone’s inside there with him. Will he be able to fight the ghosts from his past, or will the mansion and his memories make him lose his sanity for good?

 

Delirium is a psychological thriller directed by Dennis Iliadis (Last House on the Left 2009), which is a typical “does this really happen or is the protagonist just crazy” kind of film. While many of these movies can end up being too predictable or too twisty for its own good, Delirium offers enough space for proper doubt of the events as well as realizations about what’s really going on. Very often during the movie, you’ll be kept wondering if Tom is really experiencing the things he sees and hear, or if it’s all his illness coming into play.

 

Since Tom is locked inside the mansion for the entirety of the movie, it’s important that the house and interior itself adds to the feeling of approaching madness, which it manages pretty fine. The mansion, with all the rooms, hallways, pool, etc. is big enough for him to explore, but also big enough for other things to…reside. This makes it more exciting when he actually hears or sees something, as he is also well aware that he can’t really trust his own eyes. And since we, the viewers, only see what he does, we’re in the same position of doubt. There’s bound to be some confusion, but the movie is called Delirium, so that shouldn’t really come as a big surprise…

 

While by no means the most exciting of thrillers and without any real scares, Delirium is still a decent psychological thriller, where the visuals of the lavish mansion with its secret passages and long hallways, helps building the creepy atmosphere.

 

Delirium

 

Director: Dennis Iliadis
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Genesis Rodriguez, Patricia Clarkson, Topher Grace, Callan Mulvey, Robin Thomas, Harry Groener, Daisy McCrackin, Cody Sullivan, Jorge-Luis Pallo, Josh Harp, Braden Fitzgerald
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt2069797/

 

Vanja Ghoul