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Often overlooked, the craft of animation does something that static photos cannot. It combines music, script, forms of movement, and illustrative design to create work that is heavy with ambiance and dripping with plot. The following short animations are incredibly autumnal, sweetly spooky, and dizzy with death. Beware ye who travel here, for these videos will make you wish the leaves were orange all year long.

The Jump || Directed by Charles Huettner

We’ll start you off with one that we think of all too often in terms of mortality and loss. This video is wrought with beautiful colors and a hell of a beat. The concept of jumping inside of a ghost to experience their death is at once fascinating and intimidating.

Beware: Spooky Forest || Directed by Alasdair Brotherston and Jack Mooney

This one is uber-short and spine-tingling. This animation uncovers more questions than it answers. Who is hidden beneath that sheet? Who (or what) are they running from? Did they scrape their knees?

Werebeast || James Lancett

The most G-rated on this list, there is a serious Micheal Jackson’s Thriller vibe to this silly little story. Besides eclectic character design it also features magic, monsters, and some sick dance moves.

The Tome of the Unknown || Joel McHale

With imagery based on Victorian mourning artwork, handpainted backgrounds of orange and browns, and costumes in droves, this prequel to Over The Garden Wall is as autumnal as it gets. A personal animated favorite, this is a series worth checking out if you love animated musicals and vaguely unnerving atmospheres.

The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9 || Jake Armstrong

This lurid little video is undoubtedly an ode to old Hollywood’s beloved science fiction films (think: It Came From Outer Space or The Thing From Another World!). With a “scary” monster and a fatality rate a mountain high, this unexpected romp is nostalgia on steroids.

Lucy and the Limbs || Directed by Adlyn Capulong

“lucy, who lived in the pines, was once bored out of her mind.
but what she would discover, was a thing like no other;
an unexpected friend she would find.”

Without giving much away, shocking doesn’t begin to uncover the eerie story of a little girl and her friends (who just so happen to be literal phantom limbs).

BATZ || Directed by Max Maleo & Aurelien Prédal

“For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.” – Aristotle
“Seriously, ya’ll, check out these bats.” – Dear Darkling

Hell’s Bells || Animated by Ub Iwerks

Does this look familiar? How could we not end our list of frightful frames with one of Disney’s Silly Symphonies’ finest? Though the Skeleton Dance is definitely more well-known, Hell’s Bells has got it all: spiders, wolves, and dancing bones abound.

Liah Paterson

Liah Paterson

Liah Paterson is a Queens-based freelance illustrator. She spends her days polishing up her knowledge of occult objects, destroying canvases, and trying to coax her cats into liking her. Her apartment is filled with piles of books, sculptures, and paintings of disembodied hands, and a partner who plays scary video games for her so she can watch them like movies. Find her on Instagram (@atenderwitch) or on her website (liahpaterson.com).

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