Watch the 10 Best Horror Short Films and Web Series Submitted for Halloween Day at Shadow and Act

April 20th 2017

"The Ghost and The Negro" Still from "The Ghost and The Negro"

When it comes to pure horror filmmaking, "black stories" are still woefully under-represented unfortunately, even though it's a genre whose supernatural or uncanny aspects, and typical narrative structure, lends itself extremely well to conveying broad political and social commentary, and thus can be utilized as artistic tools to shed light on specific issues that affect black people worldwide.

And not just horror; science fiction, fantasy and other fantastical genres still very much lack the contributions of black filmmakers. Given how prolific black authors are in the all-encompassing speculative fiction space, there's certainly a wealth of existing material to adapt, should a black filmmaker be in search of original (horror, fantasy, sci-fi, etc) stories to tell.

But this isn't meant to be an investigative post into the matter.

Last week, I announced a call for entries that would, in part, address the above conundrum (seemingly-so), and I invited black filmmakers (from all over the world) with existing horror films or web series (with black casts), to submit their work to be showcased on this blog on Halloween day, which is today!

The films/web series could be very old or very new. They would also obviously have to be online, public and shareable.

Filmmakers had until last night, Sunday, October 30, at 11:59pm EST to submit.

I didn't receive as many as I hoped (16 in total). Also, a few were recommended or suggested, and didn't come from the filmmakers themselves (surprise!); some of these you've likely already seen because they have been shared on this blog in the past. Most of what I did receive is published within this post. I say most, because I played Mr. Curator, watched them all, and selected what I believe are the best 10 of the lot. So check them out, and share your thoughts in the comments section afterward. Thank you to everyone who participated:

1 -- "The Tickle Monster" (short film)

Director: Remi Weekes

A quiet night in takes an eerie turn for Elliot (Percell Ascott) when Nat (Rhianne Barreto) casually reveals her room is haunted by an unusual bogeyman.

Starring: Percelle Ascot and Rhianne Barreto

2 -- "The Ghost and The Negro" (web series, 3 episodes)

Director: Sylvester Folks

Framed for murder, a book store keeper must team up with a self-proclaimed ghost hunter to clear his name.

Cast: Demise Harp, Daniela Cobb, Jamila Turner, Faith Bruner

Watch episodes 1, 2 and 3 below.

3 -- "Wake" (short film)

Director: Bree Newsome

A repressed woman does away with her domineering father, freeing herself to pursue her heart's desire. Using a local folk magic called "root-work", she conjures a demon to aid her in creating the man of her dreams-- but soon finds herself in a waking nightmare. The well-made Wake stars Sahr Ali, Christina Faison and Benton Greene.

4 -- "The Light" (short film)

Director: J. Bunting Johnson.

An emotionally fragile immigrant (Yao Johnson) pulls up at a set of traffic lights at a junction late one night. For reasons unbeknownst the lights refuse to change and the man, within his heightened state, feels he cannot just "cross the line" so decides to wait it out instead. Soon after an urban man (Terence Anderson) pulls up, and in no particular rush himself, strikes up a conversation with the immigrant. What ensues, blurs the line between reality and the metaphysical, and changes the course of one of their lives, forever.

Cast: Terence Anderson , Yao Johnson, Danielle Isaise.

5 -- "Danger Word" (short film)

Directors: Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes.

Adapted from their novel "Devil's Wake," the short stars Frankie Faison and Saoirse Scott and centers on a 13-year-old girl and her grandfather who have survived the zombie plague in a wooded cabin, when her birthday celebration goes badly awry.

6 -- "The Vapors"

Directed by Lopez Williams

According to the filmmaker, the film starts off as one of those “who's there?" home invasion movies that you’ve seen many times before, but he gives the film a twist “making it slightly off and artificial." He adds that he wanted to make a film that “could be creepy and enjoyable on one level, but, on another level, could be argued that we are watching [the lead character's] disassociated fantasy narrative," adding that he also wanted it to be "beautiful, mysterious, and darkly comedic... A film that could have multiple levels of interpretation and didn't have to resolute in the end."

Cast: Jordan Carey and Benton Green.

7 -- "The Abandon" (pilot episode)

Director: Keith Josef Adkins

"My idea was to shape a sci-fi/horror series that’s part 'Alien' and part 'The Descent,' where a group of black men discover they may be the last people of earth after an alien invasion. 'The Abandon' is my effort to see a group of smart black men handle an alien invasion. It’s that simple."

Cast: Sterling Brown, Billy Eugene Jones, Jordan Mahome, Morocco Omari, Jaime Lincoln Smith.

8 -- "Blink" (short film)

Director: Tolulope Ajayi

"Everything is going to be alright..."

Cast: Adeyemi Okanlawon, Funlola Aofiyebi Raimi, Florence Uwaleke, Seun Faleke

9 -- "The Inheritance" (short film)

The past and present clash with tragic results when an interracial couple inherits a Louisiana plantation home.

Cast: Daniel James, Mysti Rene, Vernae Ewing, Omar Washington, Paula Prichard, Blaine McMahan, Tyler Harrell

10 -- "Sweet Tooth" (short film)

Director: Stephaun Perry

A woman comes house to see everything isn't what it seems in this short horror skit.

Cast: Chalaé Lindsey & Stephaun Perry

by Tambay Obenson on April 20th 2017

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