Support Us!
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!



Tuesday, October 5, 2021

20th Digital Studio’s “Bite Size Halloween” Shorts Returns to Hulu with Brand-New Season!

Season Two of 20th Digital Studio’s Bite Size Halloween, a short film series that ranges from horror comedy to psychological thrillers and everything in between, is now available to stream on Hulu!

The 2021 edition of Bite Size Halloween features 18 emerging filmmakers from across the globe, bringing with them a diversity in style, backgrounds, and identities. Through both horror and comedy, these 18 shorts take on issues such as race, gender, motherhood, beauty, sexuality, the environment, and even workplace safety. The long-term goal of 20th Digital Studio’s short film programs is to continue to guide and finance the growth of these artists’ careers.

Created by up-and-coming filmmakers, these films will screen across digital and broadcast platforms Freeform, FX, and Hulu’s Huluween platform hub and YouTube channel.

Here’s a handy guide to help you navigate these bite size treats, with the filmmakers sharing the influences that inspired their take on terror.


“A young fashion designer must make the best of it when her anxiety and self-doubt physically manifest into something horrific.”

Directed and written by Anna Zlokovic. Featuring (Academy Award nominee) Eric Roberts and Rachel Sennott.

Zlokovic says of the short, “The biggest inspiration for Appendage was just the experience of living with anxiety and intrusive thoughts. How to both physicalize that disturbing sensation and bring humor to it became the goal, and asking the question of: ‘How does one deal and is there an upside?’ The short feels like a good lead-in for films like The Fly (1986), Raw (2016), The Thing (1982) or even Beetlejuice (1988)– all of which were big references.”


“A grieving couple explores a mysterious method of keeping their baby’s spirit alive.”

Directed by Tommy Bertelsen, who co-wrote the script with Troian Bellisario. Featuring Bellisario and Josh Schell.

Bertelsen speaks of parental fears, “Initially POPPET was inspired by [co-writer & actor] Troian [Bellisario]’s parental anxieties and my many months spent documenting the great marionette-maker Erik Sanko. But, like much of our work together, it’s also deeply influenced by our shared preoccupation with both loss and control. Maybe watch it before something like When Animals Dream (2014) or Let the Right One In (2008).”


“A father-son fishing trip is unexpectedly flipped.”

Directed by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, who co-wrote the script with Tamar Bird. Featuring Denzel Onaba, Kheon Clarke, Donisha Prendergast, and Nashipae Jansen.

Fyffe-Marshall and Bird turned to folklore: “The Black community’s relationship with water is a complicated one. This is something that we have always wanted to explore through film. Seeing Black folks on the water in film is rare, and most often linked to slavery. Historically, Black folks in the diaspora were banned from swimming and water activities, this disadvantage is something that has been passed down through generations and still has effects in present day. We wanted to explore something past the negative, we thought of the folklore that was passed from the continent to the diaspora such as the Orishas, Mama Wata, and the tales of those enslaved Afrikans that honorably chose the water instead of enslavement. OMI could be a great lead-in to The Shallows (2016).”


“A neurologist recounts the story of a woman’s uncontrollable urge to itch herself.”

Written and directed by Shal Ngo. Featuring Camille Chen, Jeffrey Markle, Lawnyae Marie, and Acquah Dansoh.

Ngo’s influences should entice fans of psychological and body horror: “In recent years, I’ve fallen deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of determinism and questioning my free will. Is the world a simulation? Are we in control of our own destinies? This short was inspired by these ideas, along with articles I’ve read about obsessive itching, phantom limb syndrome, and drug addiction.  

Control would be a great lead-in for any sci-fi, psychological or body horror film, or any film that makes you question its reality as well as your own. I’ve always loved horror and genre films that veer away from camp and take themselves quite seriously (while still having something interesting to say). Control would pair nicely with films like Ex Machina, Fassbinder’s World on a Wire, Cronenburg’s Dead Ringers, Polanski’s The Tenant.”


“A bisexual man meets an attractive couple to explore the possibilities of life as a ‘unicorn.’– a drama free, emotionally non-threatening third.”

Directed by Matt Porter, who co-wrote the script with Charles Gould. Featuring Gould, Patrick Woodall, Brianna Baker, and Matt Lane.

Gould exorcised his nightmares: “The biggest influence on this short was my nightmares. I thought about all the worst-case scenarios of what could happen in the dating world as a bi person, and then Matt and I figured out a way to make it as scary and as funny as we could. Also, TRUE BLOOD! I was rewatching the show as we wrote this, so it greatly influenced the short’s aesthetic. Also, the TV show version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer for its quippy humor.  A good pairing for Unicorn would be Jennifer’s Body, starring Megan Fox. It’s got some scary, some funny, and some nightmare dating scenarios.”


“In the 1930’s, a Japanese-American father & daughter must play a deadly game of shadow tag to escape from a demon child, Kageboshi.”

Directed by Ken Ochiai, who co-wrote the script with Adam Valeiras. Featuring Go Jibiki, Anju Chiku, and Jun Machida.

Valeiras and Ochiai tapped into J-horror: “Kageboshi is inspired by Yōkai (literally translated as strange apparition) that is a group of supernatural entities in Japanese folklore. We came up with an original Yokai, Kageboshi, a shadow demon who followed Japanese immigrants when they moved to the United States in the 1930’s, representing the shadow of a homeland which cannot be left behind. It would be a nice lead-in for films like Ringu and Cure.”


“While working deep in a West Virginia coal mine, Diana is exposed to a mysterious gas that seeps into her everyday life.”

Written and directed by Ursula Ellis. Featuring Virginia Newcomb and Ben Long.

Ellis taps into body horror: “On a personal and thematic level, Occupational Hazard reflects my anxieties around environmental and public health issues in Appalachia perpetuated by generations of coal extraction. Artistically, I was inspired by both social realist films (like Winter’s Bone and Two Days, One Night) and David Cronenberg-style body horror.

I could see it being a lead-in for some pretty different kinds of movies – maybe Annihilation or First Reformed? They were both references while making the project, as were eco-horror films The Last Winter and The Beach House.”


“A woman brings her newborn daughter to visit her family in Mexico and participates in an ancient forest ritual.”

Directed by Faride Schroeder, who co-wrote the script with Karen Acosta and Mario Muñoz. Featuring (Academy Award nominee) Yalitza Aparicio, Dolores Heredia, Rosa Maria Hernandez, Erandeni Duran, Violeta Santiago, Ulises Martinez, Yohali Perez, Amaranta Caravantes, Fryda Vazquez, and Patricia Loranca.

Co-writer and producer Muñoz shares: “Our main influence was magical realism, which is a strong storytelling and literature tradition in Mexico and Latin America + myths and folk tales from Karen [Acosta]’s family (who was co-writer with me) and shamanic experiences that Faride [Schroder] (the director) and I have experienced. We tried not to revisit too many films but let our unconscious come out. We turned instead to Manuel & Lola Alvarez Bravo’s and Graciela Itubide’s photography or Leonora Carrington’s and Remedios Varo’s paintings as inspiring imagery. It would be a nice lead-in for films like: Rosemary’s Baby, The Witch, La Llorona (2021) or Midsommar.”


“A freediver in training pushes too hard in pursuit of a personal record.”

Directed by Victoria Rivera, who co-wrote the script with Camila Zavala. Featuring Melissa Ponder and Gilbert Abrego.

Director Rivera said, “Water has always been a recurring theme and inspiration in our work. It’s a place of vulnerability, unknowns, and constant change. The perfect setting for a spooky short!”

Co-writer Zavala shared the short’s cinematic influences: “We wanted to tell a story of personal obsession; to be better, to push harder, and to be the best. That’s why we think it’s the perfect lead-in to a film like Whiplash or Black Swan, where the protagonist becomes their own worst nightmare in pursuit of greatness.”


“A woman scared of aging becomes far scarier when she tries to prevent it with an LED light mask.”

Written and directed by Jess Coulter. Featuring Kristin Slaysman, Echo Campbell, Nicholas Oteri, Talon Felton, and Thomas Fowler. Cinematography by Academy Award nominee Bob Yeoman.

Coulter discusses the sense of humor behind the short: “The idea for Skincare came (yes) in my bathroom while (yes) using my LED facemask. But the idea was instantly more layered than ‘Jason Voorhees but give it a vagina and make it fashion.’ For many of us there is an inherent fear that comes with aging. We are programmed to see our exterior beauty as a withering commodity worth slowing down at any cost. One more desirable year. And this fear often causes us to take it too far. I see women every day who have altered their appearance to a place of no return. I truly don’t judge them for that. I have a genuine curiosity. It’s a conversation worth having and Skincare is my way of starting that conversation. (Also I kind of wanted to give Jason Voorhees a vagina.) What films might it be a nice lead-in for? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Yeah, that one.”


“A young woman has an electrifying out-of-body experience.”

Written and directed by Nichola Wong. Featuring Tian Chaudhry and Jamie Christophersen.

Wong shares of their short, “Struck is inspired by lightning, its power and mystery, and what happens to those that are struck by it. With climate change, every year, more and more people are being struck by lightning. It’s a traumatic life-changing experience; some people describe it as though they’ve been inhibited by an alien and that got me thinking: What if they were? What if, in their moment of being struck, they connected to something other-worldly out there in the universe? Struck would a great lead-in for War of the Worlds, Under the Skin, or Take Shelter.”


“Two teens in a rural town of the future experiment with a mysterious pill.”

Directed by Nik Fackler, who co-wrote the script with Derek Presnall. Featuring Caroline Friend, Phillip Crawford, and Casey Dunne.

Fackler on this short’s genre blend: “I’ve been trying for years to make a film that takes place in a rural/sci-fi setting. Growing up in Nebraska, and driving through the dilapidated, nearly empty towns, has always stuck with me. I wondered what would happen to these towns in the future? While the cities expand, what would become of the forgotten Midwest? A couple good films to lead into ours would be Gummo and Blade Runner.”


“With a little magic, the new nanny helps a non-binary child deal with bullies and find self-acceptance.”

Written and directed by Bridget Moloney. Featuring Taylor Ortega, Henry Witcher, Jacob Michael Hass, Lela Hoffmeister, and Grace Jenkins.

Moloney offers perfect pairings for this Halloween tale: “The New Nanny is inspired by my kids’ nanny Lauren. She’s a witch. Just kidding. Actually, that’s a really personal question I’ve never asked her. But I do know she is someone who might be identified as ‘goth.’ It’s awesome for my kids to spend time with someone who expresses herself daily in a specific and unusual-to-them way. It empowers my kids to wear whatever they want and express themselves more fully through their clothes. It got me thinking about what the more extreme version of that would be–what kind of power do you have when you own your identity? And how can you extend that power to those who need help? 

The New Nanny is SFWFH and kidlets so after you watch this, roll into Monster House, the classic 1998 Halloweentown (starring Debbie Reynolds), Escape from Witch Mountain, or maybe A Nightmare Before Christmas.”


“Just before the mall closes, two women fight over a special necklace.”

Written and directed by Beck Kitsis. Featuring Grace Rex, Sidney White, and Stella Baker.

Kitsis drew inspiration from a horror master: “Early in the pandemic, anxiety was at a fever pitch. Even in situations unrelated to the virus, we were constantly on edge. An accidental brush against a stranger on the street could lead to a shouting match. A minor disagreement on the subway could turn into a physical altercation. Coupled with the very real scarcity of essential items (masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.), it felt like, at any point, someone might snap. Red is the Color of Beauty is inspired by this fear of rising tension among everyday people in mundane interactions. I wanted to explore that friction through the lens of consumerism, which is riddled with its own particular evils — selling us on unattainable ideals of perfection and beauty by playing on our insecurities. In terms of style, I was inspired by the use of color and expressive lighting in Suspiria (1977) and All That Heaven Allows (1955), as well as the score of Le Samourai (1967).”


“A lesbian couple’s all-natural birth in the woods turns into a nightmare.”

Directed by Juan Avella, who co-wrote the script with Amy Whittenberger. Featuring Andrea Londo and Caitlin Gerard.

Whittenberger states, “The director, Juan Avella, and I both recently became first time parents, so it’s no coincidence that we gravitated towards a story that centered around the savage avalanche of horror that is childbirth.  My birth trauma in particular – which involved the refusal of pain medication, obstetric violence, physical restraint, and emotional abuse over the course of five days – was integral to the genesis of the Freebirth short. Juan’s experience as a Latino Venezuelan Latino immigrant also lent itself to the development of our protagonist.  

“We took inspiration from grounded female-driven films like Midsommar and It Follows, as well as escape-oriented films like Get Out and Eden Lake. Our producer, Guillermo Ortiz-Pichardo, also suggested Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Beguiled as style references. Thematically, Freebirth is a good lead up to The Witch, with its rationality vs superstition debate, and movies that feature motherhood motifs, like Swallow and Rosemary’s Baby.


“Is she a girl, or is she a bear? And if she is a bear, should this guy be standing so close to her? On one ominous Halloween night, the answers may unfold.”

Directed by Chris Modoono, who co-wrote the script with Gil Zabarsky. Featuring Zabarsky, Kathleen Littlefield, and Chris Naoki Lee.

Zabarsky and Modoono are in sync with their short: “Bear Girl is what can happen when you try to educate someone about who they ‘really’ are, when, in truth, you know nothing about them. It’s also a cautionary tale about giving bears chocolate. It would be a great lead-in for Tenured, the feature we made with lots of the same folks a few years ago, which you should check out!”


“In anticipation of a first date, a nervous woman tries the special wellness shake touted by her favorite beauty influencer.”

Written and directed by Tracy Kleeman. Featuring Katelyn Pippy, Isaiah Frizzelle, and Li Eubanks.

Kleeman embraced neon and body horror: “This film is very much influenced by the iconic camp, beauty, body horror flick Death Becomes Her. I loved the idea of playing with a similar concept using practical effects, specifically in relation to a viscerally painful werewolf-esque transformation re-conceptualized to represent the extensive lengths women go to to maintain their beauty under the pressures of society and the male gaze. The context for this concept was inspired by the idea of a modern representation of the Ursula/Ariel Little Mermaid dynamic, where a young woman is willing to sell away her identity to an advantageous witch in order to achieve the love she desires. The social media space is rampant with influencers and life coaches touting any number of ways to change your personality, appearance and/or behavior to attract and keep a man interested. I wanted to shine a light on this modern cultural dynamic, while playing with the punchy tonal styling of filmmakers like Edgar Wright and the neon dream, cinematic visuals of Nicolas Winding Refn.”


“Using a little magic to revive a houseplant has unexpected consequences.”

Written and directed by Ann Marie Pace. Featuring Mandahla Rose and Kimberly Nieva.

Pace aimed for the playful side of Halloween: “One of the influences of this story was how terrible I am at keeping plants alive. I was just about to move in with my girlfriend, who owns these beautiful lush plants that I was terrified of killing. [Laughs.] But the deeper message of the piece was about how sometimes, even those who have felt judged and marginalized in the past, can subconsciously judge others. In this case, the judgement was coming from Kit on the appearance of a creepy looking plant. The plant comes back to life to teach Kit a lesson, and by the end her eyes are very much opened!

I love Halloween films that have a mix of dark comedy, fun, and creepiness! Some of my personal favorites this short could be a nice lead-in for would be Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.”

Be sure to check out all 18 Bite Size Halloween shorts on Huluween! Subscribe to Hulu now!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Support Us!
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

The Top 10 Streaming Scary Movies of Today (According to Netflix)

Given that Netflix really is the master of their own data, how many times a viewer streams The Ridiculous 6, or what films don't get watched all the way straight through, or how many times someone watches an episode of Bill Nye Saves the World, it was easy for them to come up with the list based on just one percentage: 70 percent.

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

Top 5 Original Horror Movies of 2020 (Even During a Pandemic)

3 Frightening Clowns Not from the Underworld or Magical Hell

3 Viral Videos Proving Spiders Are Still Scary as Hell

Stephen King Adores These 22 Horror Films

3 Super Stories on 'Halloween' and Horror That'll Make You Want to Wear the Mask