7 Popular Horror Movies That Used to Be Short Films

Every once in a while, a short film is picked up by a major production studio and made into a full-length feature. Popularity plays a key factor when it comes to turning these films to movies. If a short film manages to get attention from audiences, then you can count on production studios to start banking on its success. Another factor here is potential. Ever seen a film that you didn’t want to end? Well, if a producer gets his hands on a story line that is so compelling, then he will most likely try to expand that short film into an hour-long ride of thrills and chills.

ExploreTalent has put together a list of famous horror movies that got its early start through short films. Find out if your favorite movie made it to the list below.

1. Lights Out (2016)

Short film: Lights Out (2013)


Lights Out may not be hitting theaters until mid-July, but it already has managed to gain worldwide attention. Much of this popularity is thanks to the now-viral short film it is based on. With a major studio backing the project up and not to mention the involvement of popular horror director James Wan (The Conjuring, Annabelle),  it was able to gain critical praise after its premiere in the Los Angeles Film Festival. Review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gave an approval rating of 100%, while IMdb rated the film a 9/10.

2. Evil Dead (1981)

Short film: Within the Woods (1978)


Director Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell were childhood friends that both developed an interest in filmmaking. They managed to produce a handful of short horror films under tight budgets, and the most notable one had to be the 30-minute short film entitled Within the Woods. Campbell played one of the main characters and went on to star in the full-length feature we all know as The Evil Dead. It managed to develop a reputation of being the greatest cult/horror classic of all time. The Evil Dead‘s legacy continues until today, with a successful television series and a remake under its belt.

3.  Mama (2013)

Short film: Mama (2008)

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Hollywood director Guillermo del Toro brought to life the chilling Argentine short film of the same name by Andres Muschietti. It managed to retain the same story, which tells about two young girls that come into contact with a paranormal figure named Mama.

The challenge of turning a three-minute video into a movie proved to be a challenge, but Del Toro managed to pull it off rather beautifully. He was able to include his signature fantasy elements, coupled with a considerable amount of horror.

4. Ju-On: The Grudge (2004)

Short film: Katasumi and 4444444444 (1998)


Long before that stylized American version was released, Ju-On was released as two short segments in the Japanese TV anthology film Gakkô no kaidan G. Its early origins were quick to gain popularity, prompting director Takashi Shimizu to create the horror franchise we all know today. Staying true to its original story line, Ju-On successfully reintroduced to cinema the terrifying ghost Kayako and the pale, black-eyed boy Toshio.

5. The Babadook (2014)

Short film: Monster (2005)


Australian actor and director Jennifer Kent rose to fame from her short film Monster which eventually became the critically acclaimed 2014 horror movie The Babadook. Monster tells an eerie story of a mother who is baffled by her son’s fear and unnerving obsession of a monster that lies in his closet. It took a long ten years to finally develop the feature, but it proved to be worth the wait by becoming the most successful horror film of 2014.

6. Saw (2004)

Short film: Saw (2003)


Saw is now a popular horror/gore movie franchise that consists of seven successful installments. It all started with a an equally successful short film created by both James Wan and Leigh Whannell, which they used to pitch for a full-length feature. Whannell starred in both the short and full movie version, which earned more than a million dollars in the box office. The two actually incorporated the scene in the first Saw film but replaced Whannell’s character with a woman. The original short film can be viewed in the Saw: Uncut DVD.

7. Trick R’ Treat (2007)

Short film: Trick R’ Treat Seasons Greetings (1996)

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The Canadian horror anthology Trick R’ Treat is one of the best cult movies in film history. One of the main elements that made the movie so unforgettable was the introduction of Sam, a boy dressed in orange footy pajamas and a burlap sack over his head. Sam was a creation of the movie’s director, Michael Dougherty, back when he was studying animation. Sam was featured in an animated short film released in 1996 and served as a precursor to the films that were released more than ten years later.