Thirteen Days of Christmas Horror Shorts

Christmas is long and painful, but these mini movies are short and sweet! Here are my favorite holiday shorts under 15 minutes, from the weird and wacky to the disturbing and grotesque. Grab the eggnog and rum cookies and enjoy these stocking stuffers. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Also check out my Top Ten Christmas Horror Movies list!

13. I’ll Be Alone for Christmas (2015)
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Length: 7:09
The first of the lonely Christmas girl films on the list, this is simply about a girl stalked by a mysterious stranger. There isn’t much for the story, as it mostly centres around a text conversation. The acting is passable, but there’s a fun little scare.

12. Ghoul Log (2018)
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Length: 2:59
Clay people with gross teeth eat a feast with their mouths open. After they stuff their faces with yule log, the giant-handed puppets are trapped in trees. Horror ASMR. Part of Creepy Christmas Film Festival.
Watch here

11. Something Under The Tree (2014)
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Length: 4:26
A little boy watches Santa from the stairs. He rushes to open the present Santa leaves him, and finds a gift that will help him to rid of the elf under the tree. I wish there were a few minutes of character build and mood setting, as you’re just dropped into the start of the scene, but I enjoyed the tension and the sour turn of events.
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10. A Very Zombie Holiday (2010)
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Length: 3:11
A black and white instructional video for vintage ladies to survive Christmas… and zombies. It’s well-made and cute, but it’s in need of a bit of pop and pizzazz.
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9. Crafty (2018)
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Length: 3:34
This strange and original claymation is about a creature and his praying mantis friend who eat animals in a frenzy and then make the bones into a Christmas tree. The bone tree is displayed on top of the stump they live in, and a human child discovers it. Weird and gory, but definitely creative. Part of Creepy Christmas Film Festival.
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8. Elf on the Shelf (2017)
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Length: 2:00
The Elf on the Shelf toy comes to life and kills the babysitter and her boyfriend in the spirit of Christmas. The choice of the babysitter over family members seems like an odd and lazy choice. What parents go out on Christmas Eve, anyway? The Elf is creepy, yet charming.
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7. Eve of the Nutcracker (2016)
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Length: 5:59
There are a few good “gal drinking on the couch alone on Christmas” shorts, but I picked this one as the best because of the on-theme ending. Our girl receives a nutcracker which then seems to end up in a different spot every time she looks. She throws it away, but the giver of the gift isn’t too happy that the gift isn’t well received and… retaliates. The make-up could use a little love since we don’t know anything about the killer, but otherwise, it’s awesome.
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6. Twas the Night of the Tree Beast (2012)
Length: 6:04
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Josh decorates his video store, but is interrupted by holiday-hater, Kevin. Josh makes a Christmas wish and his tree comes to life when it’s plugged in. Unfortunately, the tree is hungry for money… and flesh. Very Canadian.
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5. Yuletide (2017)
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Length: 10:00
This is actually a short about Krampus! It starts off by introducing the family members/actors and then shows the cranky family silently eating dinner. Kelly smashes her antique present from her grandfather and ruins Christmas. A Krampus monster is discovered peeking out from the attic, and everything goes downhill from there. The cinematography is the best part.
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4. Slay Bells (2015)
Length: 11:23
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The main character (a girl who’s turn it is to host Christmas) is expressive and over-the-top, providing us with a hilarious and dramatic holiday short that’s fun for the whole family! This year, it’s the younger sister’s turn to host Christmas, and when the family ruins everything with their judgements, she has a meltdown, but in the end, gets the gift she’s been looking for.
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3. Do You See What I See (2016)
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Length: 14:01
A masked murderer with glasses crashes a Christmas party. When it’s discovered what is seen by putting on the glasses, a strange and quirky truth is revealed. Lots of character build (almost too much) and a fun storyline make this one a safe bet.
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2. Christmas Clay Massacre (The Beauty of Horror) (2018)
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Length: 2:05
In a commercial for a colouring book (yes, really), Santa gains Krampus-like qualities and decapitates reindeer with a chainsaw.
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1. Humbug (2016)
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Length: 6:59
Probably the most memorable on the list, this horror tale shows the contrast between the goth Christmas-hater and Mrs. Christmas herself. The problem is solved when the humbug is expertly removed from our anti-holiday gal, so she can live her life the way it was meant to be- merry!
Watch here

The House that Jack Built (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 155

Rating: NR (but definitely R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, gore porn, shaky cam, devil

If you’re not familiar with Von Trier, his films are quite imaginative and intense. This one is even artsier than his usual, and a thousand percent more nauseating. The movie can kind of be split into three parts. Serial killer hilarity and gore, frantic arty scenes, and weird fantasy hell. There are apparently two parts that are “shock factor” causing some to walk out. The duck scene I closed my eyes for, so I can’t really comment on that. But the shooting children wasn’t very shocking. Are these people blind to Aleppo??

Serial Killer Hilarity
Yes it might be a little intense for some, but I really loved the realness of the awkwardness. Both Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman were fantastic. I loved the obsessive cleaning thoughts and how easy it was for our murderer to get away with being sloppy. The irony of something so vile bringing a laugh through the haphazard approach is disturbing in and of itself.

Frantic Art Scenes
There I was, in a sold-out theatre, with my eyes closed trying to breathe deep and slow while clutching my turquoise Powerade. The whipping the camera back and forth and spinning around in circles in addition to the colourful grass that’s being trampled was almost as rough an experience for me as watching the Blair Witch Project. I appreciate the camera movement from characters and from character to scene, but lordy, I really could have done without the motion sickness.

Weird Fantasy Hell
We’ve been watching this movie now for two hours and suddenly… Wait. Are we still watching the same movie? Serial Killer Matt is now on a firy bridge in hell? This part of the film did not fit at all, but it was an entertaining ending and a bit of a relief. There was no bad CGI or over-the-topness, so I was okay with the random fantasy.

I’m not really sure what to say. Points for uniqueness and creativity, but isn’t that what’s expected in a Von Trier? The unexpected? I’m not too happy about the mysterious duck scene, but I didn’t mind the gore and the acting was very well-done. Perhaps not the director’s finest works, but a must-see for weirdos.

Attack of the Killer Donuts (2016)

Score: 2.5/10

Length: 98

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, food, murderer, horror comedy, almost horror, good bad

So I had braved the ice-wind to get some donuts from Tim’s. It’s not like they’re the best donuts or anything, but they’re right around the corner and Modern Jelly was closed for delivery. Although this review was started way back in winter, I still remember my numb hands frozen into a claw trying to carry this wide, flat box around the corner to my apartment. The donuts in the movie aren’t overly horror-influenced, even though they’re supposed to have tiny little flesh-ripping teeth. Besides the parts where the pastries are CGI, spinning and floating in the air, the donuts mostly spend their time looking like they’re being flung by humans, at humans. (Which us the obvious truth.) This is another cheap and corny horror flick that has a mildly fun idea that’s wasted on a lazy, humorless hour and a half of film. The cuteness is pretty watered down, and I’d be satisfied from just watching the trailer and nothing more. On the plus side, I got to pig out on donuts, and there ain’t nothing bad about that.

 

Mania (1986)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories:

Also known as: Mania: The Intruder, Mania: Episodes in Terror

This is a Canadian anthology horror film that appears to be little-known. I decided to give it an overall rating, as there’s not going to be much fluctuation in the individual short’s scores. They were all pretty original and entertaining, though it felt like I was reading a murder mystery short story novel written in the late eighties. I mean, this movie is from the eighties, yes, but it didn’t really feel like a horror and there was a slight cheese to it. Someone in the comment section of the film mentioned the peculiar Canadian accents. So I listened really hard for them but I just couldn’t hear it. Maybe you can? There is a very Canadian forced apology, but that’s aboot it. Get your maple beers and your Coffee Crisps ready to enjoy with some thoughtful, yet mediocre short films! (Yes, it’s on YouTube.)

See No Evil

After a hooker leaves his house, a man sees her stabbed on the street. The murderer stalks him and frames him, wrapping him up in a sticky situation.

The Intruder

A neighbourhood is victim to a string of robberies, so a couple looks to get a watchdog. Guy is clearly afraid of dogs, but nonetheless, they get the biggest one there and it drives him nuts. In the end, the lesson is… you need dogs.

Have a Nice Day

A mysterious man kidnaps a woman’s daughter and manipulates the mother over the phone. And then suddenly, he shows up on her couch. She’s been fooled!

The Good Samaritan

After leaving a pub, a Scottish man picks a fight with some young punks on the street and is pulled away by his friend. When they get off the train, the friend saves a woman in the subway who’s being attacked. The woman and the friend run for a really long time and end up at his house. The tables turn, and the ending is pretty guessable.

Hereditary (2018)

Score: 8 the first time, 8.5 the second /10

Length: 127

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, recommended, SPOILERS, supernatural, murderer, devil, psychology

Here comes a spoiler in stars that you may or may not want to read. I, personally, would have appreciated it before watching the film. *No matter what direction you think the movie may be going in, it is supernatural and demonic.* I spent half the movie paying attention to the wrong clues because I was hell-bent on it being about multiple personalities. I love Toni Collette, she has a really emotional ugly cry and always gives it her all. I loved her show about D.I.D. titled, United States of Tara. The pieces mostly fit together and everything was making sense, until the ending smacked me across the face like a wet glove. My friends have also mentioned that they weren’t prepared for the ending, even though they had most likely watched the previews and went in open-minded. This is just one of those films that you have to watch, read up on, and watch again. The ending definitely wasn’t a predictable let-down like in The Witch, but it seems to leave the viewers intrigued, though left in the dark. It’s about a family with two strange kids going through the motions of grief. Moreover, it’s the story of a woman suffering complicated relationships and horrible circumstances. Each character is well-fleshed out, and even though most aren’t entirely likeable, they’re captivating and unique at the very least. The family members are just relatable enough to watch, but each are tormented in their own individual and strange ways. Psychology intermingles with tension and witchcraft, and the viewers who find the beginning too slow, I’m sorry, don’t appreciate strong acting and character build. I wasn’t bored for a second, even though there weren’t many jump scares or bloody scenes until the second half. Overall, I thought everything in this film was strong from the costumes to the location to the pure creativity. The ending could have been glued together better to make it easier to stomach and understand without having to research it online. I recommended seeing the movie with a chocolate bar in your hand.

The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 85

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, slasher, woods, recommended, murderer

I didn’t notice that the title included “Prey at Night” which is obvious, meaningless, and just plain dumb. The director for this sequel is different, but he follows the original enough so that you can’t tell if you don’t focus on it. This one has a tense but loving family (though the mom and dad have a lot of similarities to the couple in the original) who stay at a trailer park and are stalked and killed off by the three masked strangers. Since there are more people to kill (an aunt and uncle, others in the campsite), there are fewer mind games and slow tension scenes which is the only thing making this film stand apart from the first. Strong acting from Bailee Madison who I’m excited to see evolve from the over-dramatic characters she played in R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour. A few scattered jump scares and mini-twists make this second-go entertaining, but it’s lacking the intense tension that makes the original a memorable favorite.

From A House on Willow Street (2016)

Score: 3/10

Length: 90

Rating: NR (R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, woods, demon, zombie, monster, murderer, ghost

This movie is a mess. The idea isn’t too bad: the daughter of a wealthy man is taken hostage, but the kidnappers soon find out that their plans have changed when she turns out to be possessed by a demon. Somehow, this film is short yet feels long, and is overly complex, yet dull. There’s lots of gore, the makeup isn’t bad, and the characters all have a story. But ugh, it’s just all over the place and with the ridiculous CGI… over it. The acting was a little painful, but the movie starts off decent focussing on the kidnappers instead of the victim. There are a few scares that don’t make sense yet and although it’s fairly guessable, the movie feels like it’s going somewhere. As it continues towards the crash and burn that is the ending, watching it gets harder and harder to bear. The Indian priest’s character and lines were just awful and awfully acted. I found I cared less and less about everyone as the film went on and then those goddam spiky tongues. Unfortunately unforgettable. I’d say it’s a mix between Th13teen Ghosts and Don’t Breathe, but those are both good movies and this one is not.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2016)

Score: 5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, demon, girly, hotel

As obvious by the film’s poster, there are two stories here. One about two girls left behind during break at their boarding school, and the other about a young, escaped mental patient who is taken in by a man and his wife. There are hints throughout this movie that lead to the twist, and it’s a good one. However, there are too many problems in this film to make it work. *Spoiler section* The first issue I have is why they couldn’t make the girls look alike. They put zero effort into this besides the fact that they are both blonde. The girls look, dress, and act totally different from each other for no reason. Even if you are thinking of yourself as an alter ego, your hair might be different, your clothes might be what you’d ideally wear if you were more confident, sure, but I’d assume at least your face shape would be the same, no? The second biggest annoyance is that the “rescue dad” has no idea what the girl who killed his daughter looks like. I find that a tad hard to believe. And what’s with the beheading? There could have been a really easy reason given as to why beheading was the preferred kill method. I would have taken anything that fleshes out the story of the demon a little more. Because, let’s be real, no one really cares about the dark-haired girl that much, and considering she dies so quickly anyway, it would have made more sense to focus on the demon.

*Spoilers over* Besides these three things, the story was strong, the acting was solid, and there was lots of tension and atmosphere. It’s so disappointing that this could have easily been a great film, akin to The Witch.

The Witching (2016)

Score: 3/10

Length: 80

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, anthology, ghost, supernatural, demon, witch, murderer, woods

I know I say a lot of movies feel like a Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark episode, but this is actually a group of people around a campfire telling scary stories. It’s a shame the campfire group with their podcasts and video recordings are so stupid, because the shorts in this surprise (I thought this was going to be a movie about witches) anthology aren’t as bad as the wraparound. There are six stories in this film. Here’s a short recap of the mediocre tales:

  • Grief – A grieving mother is haunted by her dead son who leaves his toy truck around the house. Turns out it’s not her son.
  • Sleepwalker – A woman wakes up to find her face smeared with black sand and discovers she is being visited by the demon version of the Sandman.
  • The Hourglass Figure – A housewife finds her mother-in-laws secret: an hourglass that stops time for an hour a day. Unfortunately, if the one-a-day rule is broken, there are dire consequences.
  • Next Caller – A radio show host has a guest who tries to prove herself by having God and Satan call into the show.
  • Graveyard Shift – A security guard tries to help a woman who is overdosing, but she runs away and disappears. Turns out she’s a ghost.
  • Sweet Hollow – A woman pulls over for a man who tells her that her tire is loose and tries to fix it. They are apparently going to the same party, so he’s allowed to ride in the car with her, but when she receives a call from her sister, she finds out the man is lying.

As you can probably tell, the shorts are not well thought-out, and not only are they lazy, they’re forgettable. The best out of the group for me was probably the hourglass story, since it’s the most interesting idea. It’s a watchable movie overall, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it.

XX (2017)

Score: 4/10*

Length: 80

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monster, murderer, toys, anthology, holiday

This anthology is all female directors and lead actors (but not writers), so the disappointment with the film hit harder than usual. One of the stories is even written by the musician, St. Vincent who is a gifted visionary.  The film has four stories that aren’t related to each other at all, and none of them are original, memorable, creative, or provide any indication that this movie is focused on women. The only thing I can picture myself remembering when thinking of this film later is the strange, doll-head stop motion in between the segments. Also, I get why the film is called “XX“, but considering there’s a band already with the same name, they really could have tried a little harder. This whole film feels like a real lack of effort on everyone’s part.

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The Box

In one line: Cannibals at Christmas.

Good: I liked the mystery around what was in the box and this was probably the best story out of the four. It had clear direction to it.

Bad: The script was pretty cheesy, and there were parts that didn’t exactly make a lot of sense to me.

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The Birthday Party

In one line: Dead dad ruins birthday party.

Good: The struggles of a mom trying to make everything okay for her child’s birthday is relatable. The costumes are also hilarious, and I appreciated the quirky vibe.

Bad: It’s really just an episode of a woman dragging around a man’s dead body and that can get pretty dull.

7

Don’t Fall

In one line: Monsters in the desert.

Good: The monster was fairly well done. Good makeup as opposed to CGI.

Bad: It was a pretty overdone story idea with nothing special added to it.

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Her Only Living Son

In one line: Teenager turns into violent werewolf-monster of sorts.

Good: Again, the mom’s struggles were relatable.

Bad: There wasn’t really an ending, and the son making the mom crawl towards him on her knees was pretty cringe-worthy.

 

* I’m giving this an overall score, as none of the shorts were anything special, and none were better or worse than any other, which is pretty rare. All in all, the meh movie is getting a meh overall score.