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'Tiny Horrors': Films to frighten on Halloween

Jochen Kürten ct
October 31, 2018

Every year at Halloween, young people all over the world get together to celebrate — and watch horror movies! We gathered 10 of our favorite horror classics — and learn about a few other "tiny horrors."

Kinofilm - "Es"
Image: picture-alliance/Warner Bros/Brooke Palmer

Peter Vogl is not interested in the classics of the horror genre. There are no entries for Psycho and Halloween in Das große Buch des kleinen Horrors (The Big Book of Little Horrors).

His book, which hits stores on Halloween (October 31), instead looks at movies like Attack of the Killer Donuts, Demonic Toys or the Puppet Master film franchise.

Each are part of a genre of "tiny horror" films that have included early schlock works by celebrated directors like James Cameron (Piranha 2: The Spawning), or more renowned horror classics that feature maniacal small children, killer toys and evil diminutive beasties such as Pet Sematary, based on the Stephen King thriller, Gremlins and Child's Play.  

Read moreHalloween quiz

Evil comes in all sizes

This particular horror film bible explores the hordes of celluloid ghoulies, gnomes, critters, babies, elves, gingerbread men, and all sorts of indefinable little monsters that threaten our lives, but at the same time invites audiences to laugh and gasp at the shocking ridiculousness of it all.

But while the direct-to-video horror comedy Demonic Toys is ultimately innocent schlock fun; the evil little fairies in Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark are genuinely scary. A combination of the two should be included in any Halloween horror film night.  

Reviving a lost genre 

If you aren't familiar with "tiny terror" films, then you probably aren't a member of the select crowd who are obsessed with this fringe horror genre.

Most of the low budget films were made at the peak of the video rental store in the 1980s and 90s, and were released straight to video. Vogl wades into the deepest depths of trash, C film and bad amateur productions while also looking at cult exemplars of the tiny horror genre such as Puppet Master, which has had 10 remakes since debuting in 1989, including the 2018 reboot, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

"The films are quite often funny, too often boring, always peculiar and sometimes a bit abnormal, perverse, banal, inspiring," Vogl writes in the book. "Nearly no one – even fans of genre films – would watch such horrors voluntarily and regularly."

This Halloween might be the perfect chance to revisit some of these literal film horrors. 

Peter Vogl's "Das große Buch des kleinen Horrors: Eine Film-Enzyklopädie" is available from Mühlbeyer Filmbuchverlag from October 31,2018.