Wes Craven's Favorite Scary Short Films

Studio 360

From the desk of Wes Craven, to Studio 360:

Just finished watching the shorts, with a few breaks for chores and human interaction around the house. What fun!

Congratulations. Having done something like this for Project Greenlight, I think the quality level is much higher, and the imaginations are wild. I haven't decided on my favorite yet, and dinner is about to be called, but I'll give you a preview (in no particular order):

A Boy and His Robot.---by Tim in Cleveland, Ohio
Chilling, economical, and well done.

Sitocide --- by Carlos from Birmingham, Alabama
I called this one Naked Lunch. William Burroughs once explained his use of that title: he was in a restaurant eating a steak and looked down at his fork and saw the reality of what was stuck on its end --- the palpable naked flesh of another creature. This short seemed to echo that notion, but done in a fun/evil way. I especially liked the sound effects at the very end.

Lil Monsters --- by Beibe from Blairstown, New Jersey
Good acting on the part of the mom. I believed her. The boy's acting was a bit weak, and though the concept was fun, the shooting of it undermined its effectiveness. The face of the boy being put to bed is never fully seen when he delivers his line under the covers, which undermines our knowing instantly that it's the same boy under the bed (at least I think that's the idea). And the boy under the bed's line is not clear enough to serve as the punch line. I watched this once with my wife and step daughter, and neither one understood what was said. If all of this had been clearer, the concept was strong enough to have made this much more of a contender.

The Dark---by Greg in Baltimore, Maryland
Great production design and cinematography. The jump was a bit weak, but only a little. For me the fact that it featured a sort of vampire-ish monster, while the beings inside the cabin seemed to be from another genre, weakened it a bit. But again, great look and tone.

Dead Pull --- by Gabe from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Another strong one for production design and sound design as well. I wasn't sure exactly what was happening, but I think that was intended to be the effect. The image of the "floating" body, erect, with protruding Adam's Apple, was eerie. I wasn't sure what the "pinched fingers" were at the end, and that reminded me too much of the hackneyed trick of pinching foreground fingers on an unwitting person's distant head. That robbed the originality of what had come before.

Egg --- by Matthew in Austin, Texas
Columbine ominous. The physical effects were pretty darn good in places, but in other places fell short (empty clothes with yellow goo, for instance).

...Jack---by Jake in Chicago, Illinois
It combined a tight narrative with excellent technical elements of action, camera movement, lighting and acting. Even the special EFX shot of the eye was well done and strong. My suspicion was that whoever made this was either professional, or should be.

There is no God---by Bernie in Seattle, Washington
Haunting, in the rocking part. Needed a clearer reading of the ultimate line "There is no God," and a little more clarity in whatever was done to the face. That said, I'm not sure the face needed to be altered that much at all. Maybe just a re-recording of the voice to have the line understood for sure.

Those We Love---by Alex in Los Angeles, California
A tight concept, good acting, even on the part of the boy, good cinematography, and an economical and clear set-up (with the backyard cross with the collar to let us know it was the family dog that's been put down). What distracted me was the repeat of the father's line about "those we love" needing to be put down. It wasn't needed, and sold the audience short. This one haunted me, though.

Young Genius --- by Jason from Spokane, Washington
Clean, haunting and ominous. SPFX were a bit iffy, but it had real impact and was haunting. Or haunted, by Putin.