Making a good horror movie is like putting together a puzzle that, if you get every piece just right, paints a vivid picture of the viewer's painful disembowelment. Get just one piece out of whack, however -- say your final shot is of Jason Voorhees shambling away from an outhouse with a long trail of toilet paper stuck to his left boot -- and the whole thing falls apart. We scoured YouTube and found some short horror films that did everything damn nigh perfectly ... right up until they completely imploded at the last possible second.
5Behind The Door
The scene opens with a visibly disturbed teenage boy frantically locking the door of his house. From snippets on a handheld radio, we learn that whatever's outside is after him, and has likely already gotten his little brother. Luckily (for the boy), the unnamed monster must be invited before it can come inside. Luckily (for the monster), it has the ability to change its voice. So, assuming the voice of the young man's already ingested little bro, it tries to trick its way inside.
It's a simple premise pulled off superbly. Harrison Dowling's performance as the kid who doesn't want to face the monster outside, but also doesn't want to give up hope that it might be his little brother, manages to ratchet up the tension to 'holding in a fart on a first date' levels.
"I knew I shouldn't have gotten double beans with that taco platter."
But It All Falls Apart When ...
Here's how the monster behind the door ultimately gets in:
"No takesies backsies!"
That's right: The villain used kindergarten wordplay to fool his prey. Judging by the embarrassed look on the monster's face when we finally see it, it knew it wasn't exactly its proudest moment, either.
"This is sadder than the time I took down that special ed bus."
4The Faeries Of Blackheath Woods
A little girl in the early 20th century discovers a tiny skeleton during a family picnic, and decides to wander off into the forest to investigate. She soon discovers that faeries are real, and that they aren't nearly as cute as Peter Pan would have you believe.
On the technical side, this short is beautifully filmed, and features CGI that could put some summer blockbusters to shame. You start to think this is all going to be a lovely Disney romp, then writer/director Ciaran Foy gives you a swift kick right in wonderment lobe:
"Eek! A movie prop!"
And again here:
"Nose blood?! But I've barely done any coke today ..."
And finally here:
That'll teach her for having a child's sense of wonder!
Then, after a gut-wrenching chase, the faeries finally catch up to the girl. As the swarm envelops her to -- eat her? Scratch her to death? We're not exactly certain, but whatever it is isn't going to involve either pixie dust or happy thoughts -- the camera pans away for an ominous shot of a tattered wooden sign reading "Blackheath Woods."
Fade to black.
But It All Falls Apart When ...
Wait, did we say "fade to black"? That was wishful thinking on our part. Instead, we get this:
Faeries: Now with fourth wall-breaking action!
Imagine if Alien ended like this: Right as Ripley drifts off into stasis, an Xenomorph jumps into frame, clangs its creepy little second-mouth on the camera lens, then starts whimpering. Audiences would've laughed it right out of film history. Admittedly, we would've been spared Prometheus -- but at what cost?