If you haven’t seen all of them already, now is your chance to watch 30 unique horror shorts from Hulu’s Bite Size Halloween. Experiencing this descent into fun size horror in all its many forms from so many diverse filmmakers is a rare treat, so don’t be intimidated by the amount of content. Each morsel is only about two minutes in length, and to make your selections a little easier, we’ve put together a quick Q&A with three filmmakers below that represent some of our favorites from the vault.
Jessie Kahnweiler is up first with her short, Retreat, starring Davida Williams and George Basil (Crashing) centering around a weekend health vacay that quickly turns freaky. Then, director Gavin Williams talks about his inspiration for The Mime, one that may excite all of the Terrifier fans out there that love Art the Clown. Lastly, for today, a DNA test goes horribly wrong for a lonely office clerk in Matthew Epstein’s MeNA.
Synopsis: Bite Size Halloween ranges from horror comedy to psychological thrillers and everything in between. 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.
Jessie Kahnweiler Quick Q&A for Retreat
Dread Central: Retreat seems even more relevant now with documentaries like HBO’s The Vow. Have you ever been to one of these retreats before and gotten uncomfortable?
Jessie Kahnweiler: Yes! The first meditation retreat I ever went on was so sketchy. I didn’t do much research on the place beforehand but I thought fuck it, it’ll be an adventure. When I arrived I was the ONLY guest there for the entire weekend. It was beyond creepy but I had paid in advance so I rode it out.
DC: Why does it seem like so many of them are on the West Coast which makes them a little creepier, especially with the history of cults and serial killers along the coastline?
JK: I think the West Coast has a vibe of ‘seekers.’ A lot of us come west to make it big in Hollywood and/or find the meaning of life. So I think cults thrive out here because people are really open to trying new things. If I was a cult leader I’d definitely set up shop in LA.
DC: Also, why does George Basil seem so slimy but I still want to get a hug from him? He’s the perfect manipulative guru!
JK: Haha right?! I was so excited to have George in this role because he’s usually cast as the ‘funny hot stoner dude’ but I wanted to bring out that mysterious side of him. Cult leaders have to be charming and George has that in spades so it was really fun to see how far we could push the darkness.
Gavin Williams Quick Q&A for The Mime
Dread Central: Really enjoyed The Mime and it reminded me of one of our own films Terrifier with a killer clown mime named Art the Clown. Is your company Feature Creep Films planning to stay in the short film world and center around the horror genre?
Gavin Williams: Thanks! So pleased you enjoyed our tiny little chiller. Mimes and clowns are creepy cousins, basically. We founded Feature Creep Films in 2017 as a vehicle for our collaborative projects when Mark and I started to co-direct together. As such, it definitely focuses on the genres we love: horror, science fiction, fantasy, even thrillers and action…or potentially weird mash-ups of any of those! We’ve got another, very different, short, a sci-fi horror called Chromophobia, which shot before The Mime. That will première on the Alter YouTube Channel later in the year. We’re always open to making new shorts in this space, but we’re also eager to make the great leap to feature films.
DC: Why is horror the best avenue for short film directors? High concept genre projects seem to be the perfect fit.
GW: Horror is a terrific venue for short film makers to make a vivid first impression! We were delighted when 20th Digital Studio commissioned us for Bite Size Halloween. It was an especially exciting challenge given we had to hatch an idea which could fit into two minutes, but still tell a complete spooky story. This is why, as you say, a high concept was the best choice. It’s almost like a scary comedy sketch. That essential brevity meant we needed instant creepiness – which was where the idea to use a malevolent mime came in. Working on the film has been an amazing run, and even more so now that the films are collected to watch on Hulu. Plus, The Mime is one of the shorts due to air on both FX and FXX next week. Brilliant exposure and a wonderful opportunity – all down to a short film!
Matthew Epstein Quick Q&A for MeNA
Dread Central: Seeing this, I immediately thought of the Golden State Killer getting busted by the 23andMe DNA test. It really feels like this idea could be expanded to be one of the first DNA test horror films for the modern age. I know you have a lot of current writing duties but would this idea be something you’d want to turn into a sci-fi horror feature?
Matthew Epstein: Yes! I have a pretty fleshed out feature idea about how one’s life could be turned upside down by one of these tests. The idea is super grounded in our everyday life, which makes it even scarier. I’d say it’s more of a techno-thriller, similar in tone to the 2020 iteration of The Invisible Man. It’s definitely one of my favorite ideas I have kicking around. Every day I see another Instagram ad for some new test, health screenings for food sensitivities, even those tests to find out what breed your dog is, so I know it’s something that’s very in the consciousness right now.
Watch the entire Bite Size Halloween collection on Hulu and Happy Halloween!