Short Horror: Scariest short stories within full length films


Horror films are simply great, not matter the length or decade. Join 1428 Elm as we take a look as some of the best shorts within feature films.

They say good things come in small packages, but we don’t hold that sentence to be as true in film. Fast entertainment is celebrated in our culture, but ironically, it doesn’t always translate the same to movies.

Short horror stories have been in our culture dating all the back to the 1896 short, french film Le Manoir Du Diable. Since then, we’ve seen the genre grow in different forms. Hit TV shows like The Twilight Zone, and Tales from the Crypt told short horror stories that concluded in the span of a half hour.

Some of our most beloved scary films actually originated from short horror stories too. Most famously, Sam Raimi’s classic The Evil Dead may not have been made, had it not been for it’s short story predecessor, Within the Woods.

We’re a culture more and more built on sound bytes and uploaded stories that disappear after we tell them. So why not spend more time lauding those films that are short, and sweet. In that vein, let’s look back of some of the scariest short horror stories within a film. Theses stories might not stand alone, but their appeal still does.

Amelia —Trilogy of Terror 

Trilogy of Terror — Courtesy of ABC Circle Films

Self proclaimed horror connoisseurs pride themselves on their knowledge and ability to remain unphased. And although I put myself in this category, some childhood scenes remain forever etched in memory.

One of those, the final story within ’70s horror movie Trilogy of Terror, is wholly terrifying. The film consists of three short horror stories starring Karen Black. In “Amelia”, a young woman (Amelia) buys a voodoo doll who proceeds to come alive.

Recently, someone posted a 14-minute video of the long lost to my memory Amelia, and sufficed to say, it all came rushing back. Though the actual scare factor might not completely hold up, the psychological one does. This 20-minute tale still has the ability to leave an indelible mark.

The Raft — Creepshow 2

Creepshow 2 — Courtesy of New World Pictures

More from 1428 Elm

If you love horror movies, you may also take great pleasure in unearthing or discovering them, like a paleontologist finding a new bone or an astronomer naming a new star. If you dig into the ‘87 Creepshow 2, buried within its short horror stories you’ll find the gem that is “The Raft.”

Four friends go swimming at a lake. After reaching the raft, they realize they’re trapped by a moving oil slick that begins terrorizing them. After two are eaten by the slick, both in kind of gruesome ways, the two remaining make it ’till morning. Unfortunately when teen hormones ( and what seems to be some non consensual petting) takes precedence over the fight to survive, well, you can imagine what happens.

This might not be the best, or most famous of short horror stories out there. Nevertheless, it has more creativity and uniqueness than a lot out today.

The Principal — Trick or Treat

Trick ‘r Treat — Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Within the Halloween themed horror movie Trick ‘r Treat lies the cult classic that is “The Principal.”

Dylan Baker is the principal of fictional town Warren Valley. Though he’s giving out candy to dressed up students, his ulterior actions are quite darker. These include killing his student, attempting to dispose of him and trying to shut up his meddling young son. There’s no happy ending here, but there is a dark, fun one.  Coincidentally, the feature length film was inspired by the writer/director Michael Dougherty’s short film, Seasons Greetings.

The Opening Sequence In The Twilight Zone: The Movie

Twilight Zone: The Movie — Courtesy of Amblin Entertainment

Technically, this isn’t one of the short horror stories within the full length Twilight Zone movie. It’s only the opening scene, starring Albert Brooks and the hitchhiker he picked up, Dan Ackroyd. The short, suspenseful, cautionary tale opens the movie and then quickly commences. Yet, it’s still memorable today, even its classic end quote, a question (from Ackroyd), “Wanna see something really scary?” Yes, Dan, we do. 

Next: Horror on Netflix: April 2018 additions (and subtractions)

Fan of scary short stories? Any favorites we missed from feature films? Let the other horror heads know what you think in the comment section below.