Spooky, scary, strange short films at SPASM Festival

SPASM Festival at Plaza Theatre. Photo by Simon Laroche

Viewers enjoy a bizarre cinematic experience at Plaza Theatre.

SPASM Festival is back for its 22nd edition, and it is freakier than ever! This one-of-a-kind annual event offers viewers a unique cinematic experience right in time for Halloween. On the program this year, from Oct. 18 to 31, are equally bizarre short films of all genres. These short films have been divided into themes, and the themes have been attributed to each evening of the festival. So far this year, SPASM has presented the “Sex” evening, the “WTF” evening, and the “Cabaret Trash” evening. All short films are haunting in their unique way, and are (most importantly) destined to an informed audience of 18 and above.

Still from short film “Wendigo” broadcasted during SPASM Festival.

The short films come in all shapes and forms: some of them are live action, some are animation. They last between one and 15 minutes, averaging about five minutes long. A few recurrent themes are nudity, sexual content, gore, and violence. The level of peculiarity varies greatly from one short film to another: they range from head-scratchers to mind-bending. Most movies are in French, others are in English or don’t include speech at all. Nevertheless, almost all films are easy to understand regardless of language. Some movies are very scary, others are not at all scary—some are even moving. There is a little bit of everything for everyone, except for the faint-hearted! 

Besides the content it broadcasts, another unusual aspect of SPASM Festival is that it offers viewers the option to watch the short films from the comfort of their home. Though there are live projections of the movies at the Plaza Theatre, SPASM’s website also offers the option to rent the short films online. Viewers can either buy a pass for the live projections, which gives them access to every evening of the festival in person, or they can buy an online pass, which unlocks every short film on the website. Otherwise, one-time tickets are also available for live projections and online movies. With those one-time tickets, viewers can pick and choose which thematic evenings interest them the most. All short films are available on SPASM’s website until Nov. 1. 

Projection night at Plaza Theatre. Photo by Julie Hey Lee.

SPASM also hosted a few spooky activities this year: a Halloween party on Oct. 28, Mega Horror Ciné-Quizz on Oct. 26, and its closing night on Oct. 31 will be a horror themed evening. For those who like to spend Halloween watching scary movies, it might be worth checking out SPASM’s lineup on Oct. 31!


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