Horror Festival
of Wales

14 – 17 November 2024

Short Film Competition

Each year Abertoir invites filmmakers from across the globe to submit short films for the Abertoir Short Film Competition. As always, the response has been phenomenal and it’s not possible to show all of the amazing entries. Here we present our shortlist.

There are two prizes on offer. The first being the Audience Award for Best Short Film, and the second is the Méliès d’argent awarded to the best eligable European film.

Logo for Melies International Festivals Federation, featuring a half moon face with a telescope coming out of its eye.

As part of Abertor’s role in the Méliès International Festivals Federation, our short film competition will award a Short Film Méliès d’argent. This is an internationally recognised prize specific to the Federation and is a testimony to the talented filmmakers in Europe. The winner of our Short Film Méliès d’argent will go forward to the final lineup at Sitges for the prestigious Méliès d’or Award for the Best European Fantastic Short Film. All our European fictional short films are eligible.

Films are showing over two sessions:

Part 1 (Wed 15th Nov 10.30am)
Films from Alicia to Maria Hose Maria

Part 2 (Thurs 16th Nov 10.30am)
Films from Nap to Villain

The shortlist

A poster for the film Alicia. It shows a teddy bear sitting against a wall with dark hands reaching towards it.


Dir. Tony Morales
Spain, 2023, 6mins

Carolina will have to deal with the childhood fears of her daughter Alicia, who has just gone blind and believes that an old woman lives in her room.

A poster for the film Caraoscura, which features black and white image of a scarecrow made of wooden sticks, flames rising beneath it.


Dir. Germán Sancho / Raúl Cerezo
Spain, 2022
, 10mins

Legend has it that during a cold January night, Darkface wanders the streets of a remote village. Little Carla wakes up frightened in the middle of the night. Her older brother, Lucas, tries to reassure her and convince her that Darkface does not exist.

A poster for the film Detox, in which a woman is sitting on a rock by a body of water, the sky blue beyond her, though she looks over her shoulder. The image is framed by the shape of a mobile phone.


Dir. Alex Hanno
USA, 2023, 9mins

While away on a technology detox in the northern reaches of Maine, an impressionable social media addict becomes the target of an unexpected visitor.

A poster for the film Don't Talk To Strangers, in which a small frame from the film appears at the top right, showing a girl looking up at a pair of hands holding a camera.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

Dir. Imanol Ortiz López
Spain, 2023, 5mins

My mum always told me not to talk to strangers, but Agustín is not a stranger, because whenever we go to his store he offers me treats.

A close up of an older man wearing a checked shirt, bathed in red light.


Dir. Geraint Morgan
UK, 2022, 14mins

When Peter, an anxious arcade owner, is prescribed an app rather than sleeping pills, he reluctantly tries it out. However, far from bringing rest, Erebus’s soporific voice takes Peter into a waking nightmare from which he may never escape.

A poster for the films Honeymoon at Cold Hollow which is 'hand drawn' in style and shows a man and a woman, in shades of black and light blue, embracing, and beneath them a trail of red leading to the door of a cabin.

Honeymoon At Cold Hollow

Dir. Nat Rovit
USA, 2022, 14mins

In the winter of 1974, newlyweds are snowed in to a remote cabin in the wilderness and learn that they never really knew each other at all.

Grey poster with the title Knit One Stab Two and a picture of two people wearing masks, knitting, looking at an old-style TV.

Knit One Stab Two

Dir. Alison Peirse
UK, 2022, 10mins

This essay film examines the representation of knitters and knitting, in over sixty horror films made by women, from the 1920s – 2020s.

A poster for the film Lands of Steel, showing a robot, standing upright, siloutted in a doorframe.

Lands of Steel

Dir. Cyril Vrancken
Belgium, 2023, 14mins

A CGI-animated short film about genocide through the eyes of a mindless robot, set in an apocalyptic world.

A poster for the film Lord of the Free Range, showing various characters from the film including a woman protectively holding a young boy, a middle-aged man looking sternly, and a religious leader with arms raised up, a live chicken in front of him.

Lord of the Free Range

Dir. Simon Dymond
UK, 2023, 14mins

When a proud, meat-eating father learns his wife and child have turned vegan, he pushes them away, into the arms of a mysterious vegan cult who worship a chicken. Can he overcome his own stubborn nature and win them back, or is the changing tide too much to take?

A poster for the film Maria Jose Maria, showing a black and white image of a woman standing on a bed, wearing a long white night gown, her arms held out to the sides while she looks down at a white rabbit at her feet.

Maria Jose Maria

Dir. Chico Noras
Portugal, 2022, 15mins

On the same night that a dismembered and decapitated body is found in the city streets, Maria José wakes up startled by the absence of her mother. The authorities try to find the author of this heinous crime, but soon they will face unexpected circumstances.

A poster for the film Nap, which features an image of a red road-sign triangle, but within it is an icon of someone lying in a bed.


Dir. Javier Chavanel 
Spain, 2023, 15mins

Four people are about to undergo a dangerous experiment. The rules are simple: you will have to sleep if you want to live.

A woman's face looking terrified in close-up, with the title Ride Baby Ride in red above it.

Ride Baby Ride

Dir. Sofie Somoroff
USA, 2023, 7mins

This 1978 camaro was her dream car. Now it’s her nightmare.

A poster for the film Spoor, which shows an image as though taken from inside someone's mouth, framed by teeth, and looking up a metallic tube at an eye looking directly at the camera.


Dir. Sunita Soliar / Statten Roeg
UK, 2023, 15mins

A freakish, throbbing growth torments Ash. She is stuck caring for her vitriolic, dementia-ridden mother. With every indignity, Ash’s lump grows, until it erupts, spewing a mysterious substance. Will Ash figure out what it is and how to stop it?

A poster for the film Still Up There, which features a still from the animation, of a side-view of an astronaut in a red suit, his face visible through a broken helmet.

Still Up There

Dir. Joe Loftus
Ireland, 2022, 4mins

A mortally wounded Astronaut awakens in the upper atmosphere after a catastrophic event. He struggles to remember how he got there and latches himself on to the only familiar thing to him, his own severed arm.

A mostly black-and-red poster for the film Stop Dead, showing a car with glowing tail-lights on a tree-lined road, and a mysterious figure looming large above it.

Stop Dead

Dir. Emily Greenwood
UK, 2023, 8mins

When a workaholic city detective and her laid-back partner try to stop a dishevelled girl staggering down the middle of a country road, they discover she’s being stalked by some unseen entity with a horrifying ultimatum: you stop moving, you die.

A hand-drawn poster for the film The Hounds of Annwn, with a stylised image of two trees, branches and roots mirroring each other, and between them a figure with a sword, and upside down beneath the figure, three white dogs.

The Hounds of Annwn

Dir. Beth B Hughes / Bryony Evans
UK, 2023, 8mins

A wounded warrior returns to their village but is hunted by a pack of dogs. After a desperate pursuit, they confront their past to find peace in their future.

A poster for the film The Old Young Crow featuring a black and white drawing of a boy with bike at the foot of a tree which has a crow on one of its branches.

The Old Young Crow

Dir. Liam LoPinto
Japan / Iran, 2022, 12mins

An Iranian boy befriends an old Japanese woman at a graveyard in Tokyo.

A poster for the film To The Marrow, showing a young girl in front of a door looking scared, illuminated by torchlight.

To The Marrow

Dir. Van Poynton
Ireland, 2023, 8mins

He’s in the house. He knows they are too. So they have to get out. Now. A mother wakes her daughter to tell her, urgently: he’s in the house. They have to get out, and fast. But no sooner has she spoken than they hear him on the stairs. So they hide. And to hide, they must split up. And to survive, one may have to abandon the other…

A post for the film Toad Boay, showing from behind a young person wearing a backpack looking at blue school lockers, one of which is covered in white graffiti.

Toad Boy

Dir. Phillip J McLaughlin 
USA, 2023, 13mins

Todd is different and the other kids at school have noticed. After an upsetting incident with several bullies the Principal discovers a disturbing book in Todd’s locker and fears a retaliation. He calls on Todd’s sister Charlene to facilitate an intervention, but quickly learns the help Todd needs may require a sacrifice he’s unwilling to make.

A poster for the film Valley of Souls, showing a a Black woman wearing a head scarf and looking to the right, her eyes seemingly glowing.

Valley of Souls

Dir. Edileuza Penha de Souza / Santiago Dellape
Brazil, 2023, 15mins

A black family tries to defend their land against invaders but gets caught between a mischievous witch and a tortured spirit eager for revenge.

A poster for the film Villain, featuring images of a determined looking young person and a burning hut with glowing eyes peer over it.


Dir. Sparky Tehnsuko
UK, 2023, 10mins

After a dragon destroys young Georgia’s home, she journeys to its lair to enact violent revenge but instead finds an innocent child in the cave. When the dragon then returns, Georgia must reckon with the price of vengeance.