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Bite Size Halloween

20th Digital Studio’s BITE SIZE HALLOWEEN Brings 21 Spooky Shorts from Diverse, Emerging Filmmakers for Hulu’s annual ‘Huluween’ celebration.

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In celebration of the best month of the year, 20th Digital Studio’s Bite Size Halloween series of spooky shorts is back for a third season! Twenty-one new shorts from exciting emerging filmmakers premiered on October 1st on Hulu, blending genres like horror, comedy, sci-fi, thriller, and more.

Shot in seven different countries, this season takes on topical issues such as racism, gender, parenthood, sexuality, and identity. 

David Worthen Brooks, 20th Digital Studio head, commented:

As we launch the first feature films developed with our incredibly talented BITE SIZE HALLOWEEN filmmaker alums, we are thrilled to introduce the next wave of dynamic filmmaking talent and their ingenious short films. We take great pride in showcasing these vital, diverse voices and their very personal twists on horror, thriller, and sci-fi.

The goal of 20th Digital Studio’s short film programs is to continue to guide and finance the growth of these artists’ careers and to transition some of the shorts into longer features. The first two films developed in this way premiere this month for Huluween. Grimcutty from John William Ross landed on Oct. 10th, and Matriarch from Ben Steiner will arrive on Oct. 21st. 

As you know, we here at Morbidly Beautiful are big champions of short horror and urge you to add some impressive short horror programming to your watch list — for the spooky season and beyond. The talent included in Hulu’s Bite Size Halloween series is remarkable, and we love the studio’s focus on diversity and inclusion.

If you’re interested in discovering some outstanding, emerging talent in the genre and enjoying bite-sized servings of horror goodness, you’ll definitely want to check out Season 3 of Bite Size Halloween on Hulu

Below is a brief overview of what to expect this season from our editor, Stephanie Malone, and guest contributor, Cole Jennings.

1. Nian (Writer/Director Michelle Krusiec)

COLE JENNINGS: “Nian,” the first episode of Hulu’s Bite Size Halloween, is a socially relevant short that tells the story of a young Chinese girl being bullied at school for her ethnicity. She uses the power of the Nian, a demon spirit in the form of a mask, to protect herself from her tormentors. The setup is much better than the payoff. When the demon finally shows itself, it doesn’t do much more than make weird faces, cry, and then wrap the bully in her long tongue. It kind of feels like the setup to an episode of Tales from the Crypt, but one without a ghoulish payoff.

STEPHANIE MALONE: What “Nian” lacks in scares, it makes up for in wicked humor, some snappy dialogue, and a resonant message about acceptance and the beauty of diversity. I love the visuals and how this six-minute short incorporates genuine Chinese mythology, focusing on the child-eating Nian. It’s a female-driven short with a focus on diversity. You’ll delight in seeing the racist bully get her inevitable come-uppings. And the grandma, played by Dawn Akemi Saito, is perfection.

2. Ticks (Writer/Director Sam Max)

CJ: Intriguing, disturbing, and bloody, “Ticks” pays off as it draws the viewer in, not knowing where the story is headed. A woman beaten by her partner wanders off into the woods in a daze and encounters a stranger who seems to want to help. The title alone should let you know what the stranger wants. But between the strangers’ waif-like appearance and the eventual display of some awesome fangs, she gives more the feeling of a vengeful forest spirit than a vampire.

SM: The eerie and beautifully shot “Ticks” is a captivating, nine-minute short that tackles the heavy topic of domestic abuse while still focusing on creeping tension and an appropriately horror-filled ending. This is another short (like “Nian”) that features a small, entirely female cast — as well as lesbian relationships. It’s dark, sexy, and compelling, with great sound design and makeup effects.

3. Snatched (Writer/Director Michael Schwartz)

CJ: Can parents be too accepting of their gay son? The answer in “Snatched” is posed with comedic results when a boy comes out to his parents. He is met with tears from his mother and indifference from his father until a meteor shower changes everything. I’m not going to lie; this was a lot of fun. From the dad backing his son up the stairs while swinging a Yas Queen pride fan at him (ala The Shining) to the fear of baseball, this was comedy horror done right.

SM: “Snatched” accomplishes a lot in its ten-minute runtime. The use of lighting in the opening scene is exceptional. The story is equally heartfelt and hilarious, mocking gay stereotypes and well-meaning but often misguided, performative ally-ship with intelligent and witty satire. The wildly clever reference to The Shining made me both cheer and laugh out loud. The ending is an absolute chef’s kiss. This is one short that is not to be missed.

4. Nzu (Writer/Director Conscian Morgan, Co-Writer Will Clempner)