The 10 Best Horror Shorts of 2020

With the announcement of our 2021 Thingy Awards, we don’t just celebrate the long-form features. We also recognize the best of the horror shorts of last year. Horror shorts are the backbone of horror film festivals everywhere, and the starting point of many great careers in the genre. Ari Aster, anyone? The beauty of the horror short is that it is a condensed idea, contained in a package less than half an hour long, and it drives the idea home.

There were so many festivals that we were able to virtually attend this year, and each of them featured dozens of great short films. We took a broad swath of samples from this year, from the brooding and dreadful to the gleefully silly (and still horrifying).

Unfortunately, not all of the top 10 films we nominated are available streaming as of now, but we will post them as they become available. But for now, here are the nominees that ARE available free for your viewing pleasure (and discomfort).

Stucco – USA
Directed by Janina Gavankar and Russo Schelling
Starring Janina Gavankar

Your Last Day on Earth – Spain
Directed by Marc Martinez Jordan
Starring Enric Auquer, Kolokolchykova, and Sonia Masuda Mora

Waffle – USA
Directed by Carlyn Hudson
Starring Kerry Barker, Raphael Chestang, and Katie Marovich
Killing Small Animals – Sweden
Directed by Marcus Svanberg
Starring Louise Peterhoff
The Howling Wind – USA
Directed by Lorian Giash and Justin Knoepfel
Starring: Anthony Arkin, Nicky Boulos, and Mark Silverman

Snake Dick – USA
Directed by David Mahmoudieh
Starring: Poppy Drayton, Micah Fitzgerald, Ross Francis, and Sierra Pond

Attachment (Przywiązanie) – Poland
Directed by Kasia Babicz
Starring: Remigiusz Jankowski and Aleksandra Nowicka
(Trailer only, at this time)
Exit – Russia
Directed by Ivan Basov
Starring: Maxim Demchenko, Anatoly Gushin, Vitt Ray
(Trailer Only at this time.)
With the deadline looming ahead, a small team of construction workers isn’t too happy to find an anomaly in the house they’re renovating. Especially one that breaks the laws of physics. But maybe there’s something to be gained from this? Like a finder’s fee… Or nightmare fuel.

Who doesn’t like an inexplicable gateway to another dimension? This tightly scripted and punchy short showed at the Portland Horror Film Festival, The NOLA Horror Film Fest, and the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival where it won the audience choice award. Remarkably, this is a Student Film, so we can expect great things from Mr. Basov in the future.

Directed by Rebekah McKendry
Starring Rebekah McKendry and Justin Benson
(No Video Available Streaming Yet)

On the final night of a heated divorce, a husband and wife acquire a strange new disease.

A brutal and painful exploration of divorce, taken quite literally. One of the goriest shorts from the year that was 2020. This film was shown at the Chattanooga Film Festival and was part of the Nightmare Fuel submission from the Brooklyn Film Festival to Nightstream. Rebekah McKendry (Fangoria/Shock Waves) and Justin Benson (Director – Synchronic, The Endless) will be familiar to horror fans.

The Doe – France
Directed by Jennifer Lumbroso
Starring: Hélène Kuhn, Raphaël Thiéry, Elisabeth Andres, Bastien Pujol, Marius Renier, Florent Chesné
(No Video Available Streaming Yet)

Helene is spending what seems to be a romantic weekend in the French countryside until she has an argument with her lover and gets furious. She decides to flee away and finds herself in rural landscapes, clueless. Nature takes back its rights. The hunt is open. Helene becomes “the doe .”

A story of madness layered on a bit of folkloric horror. Largely without dialogue, it has a bit of a feel of a rural Repulsion, full of delusions and paranoia. This film was showcased at the Portland Horror Film Festival and SXSW.

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