Eight weird, wonderful spooky things you can watch RIGHT NOW
October is coming up pretty fast, and chances are, you haven't watched nearly enough creepy cartoons, horror movies or Halloween specials. Fortunately, I happen to know a whole lot of things that not only meet one or all of those descriptions, but a whole lot of them that the average person has never heard of before.
Just for a dash of quick, extra content between more involved Halloween posts, the following videos constitute several hours of entertainment, and represent a pretty broad variety of mediums and genres. We've got animated shorts, feature-length films, an entire cartoon series and even some video game play-throughs, all lovingly picked out from ten years worth of my youtube favorites.
Created by Japanese artist Takahide Hori or "Yamiken," Junk Head is a majestically gorgeous, thirty minute stop motion short giving us the first compelling chapter in a story already continuing production. Set in a drab, subterranean future world of eyeless mutants, Junk Head looks like it's supposed to be dark, dystopian and nightmarishly surreal, its characters and environments calling to mind Tool videos from the 1990's.
Instead, you'll be treated to a cohesive plot, fleshed out characters, and even cute, cartoonish humor. Despite its aesthetics, this is not a work of horror and doesn't try to shock or disturb. It's simply a cool, imaginative science fiction story populated by sweet, innocent characters who just also happen to look like they stepped out of Silent Hill.
I AM NIGHTMARE
A feature length film by independent animator M Dot Strange, I am Nightmare can be best described as a horror-adventure-mystery, following a group of kids whose town is plagued by both literal monsters and monstrous human beings, all involved in the same dark conspiracy. The animation isn't on a Dreamworks or Pixar budget, but Strange's models and textures exude a lot of charm you just don't get from photorealism, and it's all backed by solid writing, directing and acting. It's a fun, unique and lovable film.
Note that some scenes are not work-safe, especially when we get to some of the variant monsters later on. You're probably scrambling to see them now, aren't you.
Released in 1995 for home computers, Braindead 13 was an animated, semi-interactive horror adventure in the same vein as the classic Dragon's Lair, gorgeously animated and loaded with imagination. It also boasts quite possibly the largest, most excessive number of possibly death scenes ever crammed into a single narrative, which you'll get to enjoy in one massive compilation at the end of this successful run. The variety of freaky creatures is positively through the roof, too. There are skeletons, ghosts, sexy vampires, carnivorous plants, flesh-eating slimes, cackling infectious mushrooms, giant insects, mysterious tentacles, an evil brain in a tank and dozens more, animated with energy and flair to put some Disney films to shame.
THE COMPLETE "SALAD FINGERS"
David Firth's Salad Fingers was an internet sensation back in the early 2000's, even landing his face on unauthorized Hot Topic t-shirts, but seemed to fade into relative obscurity fairly quickly. Many on the internet are already too young to remember his glory days at all, and those that do are often totally unaware that his abstract antics actually continued across ten shorts as recently as 2013.
Here, you can watch them all in one go, and if you didn't fall in love with the little guy back in 2004, I dare you not to find him at least as adorable as he is terrifying by the end of his full 52-minute saga. Fan theories that he's some sort of post-apocalyptic zombie or mutant never did him proper justice. Salad Fingers is simply Salad Fingers, and he is a treasure of our time.
THE GREGORY HORROR SHOW
I've talked about this series and its characters at least once before, and it continues to be a big inspiration to a lot of my art and writing. Animated from an unusual first-person perspective, this Japanese series takes place in Gregory House, an otherworldly motel populated by anthropomorphic objects, animals and less describable entities born from the lost souls of once-human visitors, their weird and goofy new forms reflecting their sins and obsessions in life. As you may have already deduced, it's a whole lot darker than it looks.
This is only first short in the first series, "The Nightmare Begins," which consists of 25 shorts a little over two minutes each, and all from the perspective of one of those lost, sinful human souls. Another 25 shorts constitute "The Second Guest," unraveling the past of a new mortal victim. A third, "The Last Train," is a 26-episode arc focusing on Gregory himself, and a 12-episode bonus series, "The Bloody Karte," focuses on the reptilian nurse Catherine.
Ill Bleed is one of the most ludicrous, hare-brained horror video games ever conceived, and while the play through is long, I swear almost every minute is worth it. You will absolutely not believe how completely hare-brained, how utterly bananas this game gets, taking place in a murderous horror-themed amusement park where life-like, robotic monsters and props attempt to literally scare visitors to death.
...Which somehow, at one point, comes to entail an awkward, sexualized Toy Story parody.
A 22-minute short by another independent stop motion artist, Lee Hardcastle's "Ghost Burger" is actually a sequel to his four minute "T is for Toilet," though I feel like it actually works a little better on its own, with the events of the original short revealed in scattered flashbacks anyway. Long story short, a young boy can see ghosts, and his friend finds out that ghosts can be physically injured if you know where they are. One thing leads to another, and soon they're selling hamburgers made of supernatural flesh. Naturally!
Like many of Hardcastle's shorts, this is a gorefest with some crude humor, but it's a joy to watch whether or not those things are usually your cup of tea, especially to see just how terrifying Lee can make a lump of modeling clay. Those ghost designs are sublime.
THE HOCUS POCUS VILLAIN SPELLTACULAR
The single most Halloween thing you'll ever see - if you didn't already see it on tumblr - is by far this single, musical stage show currently running at Disney World for 2015. None other than the Sanderson Sisters from the beloved Hocus Pocus not only make their first public appearance in over twenty years, but they sing along to two of Disney's coolest, spookiest and most attractive villains before crossing paths with a whole slew of others. You will watch the Sandersons interact with both Dr. Facilier and Oogie Boogie. I never thought I'd utter this phrase a second time, but this is almost too much Halloween.