By Evan Lambert
Stumped about what to pick for your Hallokween viewing? Well, first of all, baby, what is you doing? There are some great options here and here. However, if you’re sick of mainlining Hocus Pocus, then we have a quick fix for you. Right now, on go90, you can watch some creepy AF queer-themed horror stories — and they’re only 15 minutes each. Oh, and they’re free.
Two Sentence Horror Stories — based on the recent Reddit-wide writing challenge — offers expanded versions of Reddit’s best two-sentence horror offerings. As each film begins, you see an initial sentence flash across the screen … but it isn’t until the end of the film that you see the story’s disturbing and haunting final sentence.
The formula works to great effect in Ma, which follows a young Chinese girl, Mei, who fends off an intrusive and overbearing mother while simultaneously exploring her own queerness. Mei’s looming, shadowy mother, or “Ma,” is almost supernatural in the way she appears, eerily, to hiss in Mei’s ear — and this darkly magic tone bleeds over into Mei’s eventual discovery of her own superpowers.
Thankfully, Ma mostly skips over Mei’s struggle with her powers, which would otherwise come off as a heavy-handed coming-of-age metaphor. However, Ma has the potential to fill out an entire feature-length movie with the conflict between Mei’s budding lesbian relationship and her domineering Ma. While Ma necessarily has to abbreviate the honeymoon period of Mei’s relationship, it deftly creates a fully developed, deeply disturbing portrait of Mei’s codependent relationship with her mother. Anyone who’s ever had a strict or oppressive parent will recognize themselves in Mei, who eventually finds herself rebelling against Ma’s neediness, self-pity, narcissism, and casual cruelty. There are also enough grotesque cutaways and shocking images to keep diehard horror fans satisfied.
Another standout is Singularity, which follows a trans woman as she injects herself with revolutionary technology in order to hook her brain up to the Internet. As directed by series creator Vera Miao, who also directed “Ma,” Singularity ramps up its psychological thriller tropes while concurrently rolling out a startling amount of creepy horror movie children. There’s also some self-mutilation for good measure. Overall, it’s just nice to see an actual trans leading woman play a trans character.
You can watch Ma and Singularity — as well as three other equally creepy horror shorts — here.