Horror movies often spawn numerous fan-made creations, from clothing to fan fiction to art and games. But the most impressive, to me, are the people who love the films so much that they try to create some of their own. They’re inspired enough to watch and say “I could do that.” That, to me, is incredibly cool.
Of course they’re not always perfect. They typically have very limited resources, not always unprofessional resources, but certainly much less than the official series entries. Most fan films are low budget shorts, and the best of them play to their limitations and wind up feeling much more expensive than they actually are.
Some people even make feature films. Those are much harder to pull off, of course, but they have been done. These almost always show their limited resources more than a short, but can still maintain an air of professional quality and get by on tons of ambition and big ideas. All of these can be found on YouTube and I encourage all readers, even if you’re only just remotely curious, to check them out.
Krueger: A Tale from Elm Street
This is a web series, technically, consisting of a few short films. Each one is centered around the Springwood Slasher, Fred Krueger, in a time before he became the supernatural boogeyman we know so well. This is, in many ways, the prequel fans always wished they would get, a more disturbing serial killer movie that showcases what an awful human being Krueger was, long before he ever got burned. You can watch the first episode here.
The Confession of Fred Krueger
Another film based on the early days of Freddy, Confession is a contained short centering specifically on Krueger’s arrest. He tells his life story, fudging it in a few places, sort of playing the cop to see what gets a reaction out of him. It’s well acted, directed by artist Nathan Thomas Milliner, who does the amazing art for most Scream Factory Blu-ray releases. Confession can be watched here.
Spawn: The Recall
The Spawn movie was nothing great, a goofy, empty action spectacle with little representing the unrelentingly dark and horrific tone of the comic book it was based on. This short film, however, completely captures that. It looks professional. There’s a ton of CGI. Spawn himself is CGI. But it looks good. There are numerous feature films that have gotten away with much worse. Any Spawn reboot should definitely use this short as a visual template. See Spawn: The Recall here.
Halloween: Resurgence doesn’t offer much new or inventive in the way of story. It’s just a simple Halloween tale about a bunch of teens sneaking into the famous Smith’s Grove Mental Health Facility. Yet it’s so professionally done, with a great looking Myers and tons of stylistic callbacks to Carpenter. Plus, it has a neat, modern Ghost Hunters kind of vibe without resorting to found footage. Watch it here.
Friday the 13th: The Obsession
This unique web series sees a young woman taking over for Jason Voorhees, a fan of the series who’s obsession with Jason leads her to eventually take up his mantle. Offering up all of the sex and death associated with the Friday flicks, Obsession was a well-crafted web series that basically comprised a feature length production when all was said and done. Watch the first episode here.
Myers: Rise of the Boogeyman
A prequel like Krueger, made by the same people, but it gets points for taking a really unexpected approach. It’s not a chronicle of Michael’s time in the institution, waiting for his eventual Halloween rampage. Instead, it’s about Michael Myers the child, and it’s set on that fateful Halloween night that kicked off the whole franchise. This is a young boy who is trying to enjoy trick or treating, but is haunted by some dark presence hanging over him, which eventually takes the form of the specter of his future self. See the short film here.
Hellraiser: No More Souls
Maybe the most important fan film on the list at the moment, No More Souls is interesting because the director of this short is also now directing the next official installment of the Hellraiser franchise. Gary Tunnicliffe, who served as the makeup artist for the bulk of the series, both directs and stars as Pinhead in this short depiction of the Hell Priest’s death, before Clive Barker himself would do the same in The Scarlet Gospels. This short is also included as an Easter Egg on the Hellraiser: Deader DVD. Watch it here.
Legends: A Friday the 13th Tale
Not necessarily fooling anyone that it’s an amateur production, Legends still shows huge filmmaking potential. It never tires out its 40 minute running time and gives us our only Friday the 13th movie with a completely racially diverse cast. The people behind this one would go on to make, Legends II: A Halloween Tale, also worth checking out. Check it out here.
This fan film was so impressive that it caught the attention of Clive Barker himself, who was impressed with the potential it showed from an amateur production. It’s title is also a very literal one, as this is a crossover between the Hellraiser and Prophecy franchises and does so in a surprisingly innovative and interesting way. It’s a neat showcase of top-tier amateur work. Watch it here.
Batman: Dead End
Here’s a fan film so impressive that it spawned an entire documentary about the making of. It’s a combination of Batman, Alien and Predator and there’s really no story at all, but it looks really damn good. These are professional costumes being professionally lit. The whole thing is exceptionally well done, not even for what it is, but for a visually impressive action short in general. You can see it here.