Day 27: Female-Helmed Horror Movies For October

Short Films Directed by Rebekah McKendry


Rebekah McKendry is a true horror fanatic. I became a fan from her co-hosting duties on Shockwaves, the Blumhouse podcast about all things horror. She’s passionate about all kinds of scary movies but especially seems to champion the merits of “lower brow” horror like shark movies and other “aquatihorror.” She likes what she likes and she’s vocal about it. And as much as I avoid any shark movie not named “Jaws,” I respect her for shining a light on the flicks that move her, even and perhaps especially when others find them silly. (My grandparents did some shark fishing in their spare time and mounted the jaws in my grandpa’s home office so there’s the origin story for that complex. I don’t even want to go on a cruise ship. No deep water for this lady, thanks.) She’s worked for Fangoria and (as Editor-in-Chief). But she’s also a mom, has made a ton of short films, holds a PhD. in Media Studies and is a professor at the USC film school. Just typing that list wore me out so go Rebekah. While I’m awaiting her first feature to come out, I figured I’d check out some of her shorts. All three of these shorts were written by Rebekah’s husband, David Ian McKendry, her constant collaborator. Her first feature, “All the Creatures Were Stirring,” a Christmas-set anthology film, will be in theaters December 4. This time, she shares writing and directing credit with David. She’s also just wrapped production on her second feature, “Granny’s Home.” Not that I follow her on Instagram or anything.

The Barista


7 min, 43 seconds.

I watched it on


A man shows up at a coffee shop, having done some research, and has come up with an insane-sounding conclusion: the barista working there is actually the devil.


“The Barista” is a light, fun horror/comedy short with a good amount of drive from its leading character and a surprisingly bite to it. McKendry amplifies the darkness with contrast from some fun music and even a super cute puppy. The music perfectly matched the ominous romp vibe. First short in and I’m already officially so there for “All the Creatures Were Stirring.” (Kudos to that title!)


Witches Brew


2 minutes

I watched it on YouTube.


Super short, super funny and brutal. Great way to use one location. A mom and dad host a tiny Halloween party for their kids’ friends. The mom tells a story about a witch’s power. Then the kids play a game of touching eyeballs made of grapes and hair made of spaghetti, but it’s all much more sinister than that.  It has make-do lighting, but that kind of goes with the breeziness of the piece, so I didn’t mind that too much.  I adore ending with screams and then a cheerful kids’ song. The McKendrys have a terrific mix of humor and hard driving horror in their work.


The Dump


11 minutes

I watched it on YouTube.


Two serial killers accidentally pick the same body dump site and bond over their unique hobby.

Turns out, this was McKendry’s first listed credit as director and it is an impressive debut. It has a strong voice. Again, the McKendrys’ sense of humor shines through and really sells this difficult central conceit and again, we get a great vicious beat at the end. Just when you think you’re watching a black comedy, it shows its horror teeth. In another filmmaker’s hands, this would be mugging itself silly but it walks that tonal tightrope well.