The most terrifying contest on TV kicks off with the first four scary films put in front of an audience of horror fans, whose every scream is recorded. Which will come out on top?
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This programme contains some strong language and some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting
MATTHEW GIFFEN: From the chill down your neck, to the stain in your pants, fear can do many things.
It can chill, thrill and entertain...
Oh, my God!
..which is precisely why we're here.
We've asked amateur film-makers to send us their creepiest,
goriest and freakiest short horror films for your viewing pleasure.
Movies such as Saw and Evil Dead
both started out as shorts
before becoming multimillion-dollar franchises,
so we're hoping to find the next horror master,
worthy of a bloodcurdling blockbuster.
This is The Fear, where who scares wins.
Oh, my God.
Welcome to the screaming room.
You know, as a kid lots of things scared you - dark corridors,
the dentist, clowns.
As an adult, it's parental disappointment, loans and clowns.
It's still clowns.
But what scares an audience of horror fans?
Here, they'll be watching a host of terrifying short films.
They'll vote for their scariest in this special cinema,
rigged with cameras to catch their every jump, scream and cry.
But who are these unwitting individuals?
Among the audience, we have Essex nurses and BFFs Aaron and Michelle.
-I don't like zombie films, though.
-No, no, no. I like demons.
-AS A DEMON:
-Yeah, I like demons.
-AS A DEMON:
-I like demons.
Joining them, veteran film geeks Ashley and Brad...
I'm ready for some bloody zombies.
..first-time daters Poppy and Joe...
-Oh, I'm so excited.
-Do you reckon any of the films are going to get you, though?
..and not afraid of anything are the lads from Hackney,
Antoine, Nick and Daniel.
-Oh, fucking hell, man!
Like a complete and utter scaredy-cat.
Also in the audience, the twins from The Shining...
You just keep telling yourself that.
It's 18- and 20-year-old sisters Amelia and Grace.
I really like Disney. I love Frozen.
Oh, you're in for a treat(!)
So all this courageous crew have to do is score the films
and on scariness alone.
All the shorts are four minutes or less,
made by amateur film-makers, so, without further ado,
it's time for our first offering,
which comes from 22-year-old call centre worker Liam Banks.
When he's not dialling up total strangers
right in the middle of their dinners,
he's persuading them to buy into creep fests like this one -
it's Mr Creak.
-Shock me, shock me, shock me.
-You need an exorcism.
"Don't move a muscle
"Don't even speak
"He watches closely
"He's Mr Creak."
"A crash, a jump
"A house that scares
"He's coming closer
"He's on the stairs."
"He's watching now
"He's in the room
"If you dare to look
"You'll see him soon."
That was the biggest scream I've ever heard in my life.
That wasn't me. That wasn't me.
Well, that was truly horrifying.
Has she not heard of WD-40? You need to get those doors looked at, love.
But, I wonder, how did our audience deal with it?
Each submission must be marked on a scale of one to ten -
the more they were scared, the higher the score.
At the end of the competition, the three scariest films will be viewed
by Blair Witch co-director Eduardo Sanchez.
He'll pick the ultimate winner
and take that lucky director a step closer to Hollywood
with £20,000 worth of support for their next fright fest.
So, with that in mind, what did our audience think of Mr Creak?
You screamed quite majorly.
Oh, my goodness.
-Aggh! Good job. It had you scared.
Mr Creak, really, there was a lot of echoes of The Babadook,
not necessarily replication, but it felt like a decent homage to it.
Why are there always dollies in these horror films?
I'm thinking, "Are dollies really that scary now?"
I would never get my kid a dolly, never.
No-one in a horror film ever does what they're supposed to do,
so everyone deserves to die.
Oh, no, don't, don't, don't.
Don't do it.
You know what I'm going to do? Oh!
One big jump, but were our audience petrified pushovers or are things
looking up for Mr Creak? All will be revealed at the end of the show.
I thought you said the best person to get horny by is Bob Monkhouse.
-Why are we talking about that?
-We are quite clearly watching horror films.
-I just didn't hear all of it.
Your mind is obviously elsewhere right now.
I just didn't hear "haunted".
Did she say Bob Monkhouse? That is a scary thought. Ugh!
And hoping to go one scarier is film number two,
which comes from 27-year-old German bartender Frederik Wolf.
When he's not rustling up rancid cocktails,
he's enjoying getting drunk on his own mix of fear
and despair as he plays the starring role in this nightmare, 3am.
Oh. # Da-da-da-da! Da-da-da-da! #
Oh, my God. Calm down.
Oh, my God!
HE BREATHES HEAVILY
HE SIGHS WITH RELIEF
HE EXHALES SHARPLY
-Oh, my God!
-That was wicked. That was good.
-I felt like my heart just jumped out of me.
-That was incredible.
I liked that a lot.
The old jump-scare technique at its finest there.
That will give the cinema cleaning department something to look forward to.
It was so unexpected.
Aggh! That is good!
It was the jump - to the point that I didn't even scream
cos I was so scared. It was just a gasp.
It hit every beat that it wanted to hit and I don't think there was any flat...
In fact, it crescendoed into what was an effective jump-scare.
Like, my foot come up, my whole leg, my popcorn went all over me.
When you jumped, you kind of styled it out.
You did this little worm, like a little wave, innit?
I had one song on my mind, I was thinking of a dance
that I could do to it.
Nice try, Antoine. You were doing the same dance as everyone else.
It's called the jump.
-Might as well jump! #
-The creature made you jump.
-No, it didn't.
# Jump! #
Fuck right off!
God, you tart, you had to make it worse.
Even our discerning horror buff Ash got a fright out of that one.
And is Joe starting to drop his guard with his date Poppy?
This film scared me. It was... Yeah, I really enjoyed being scared.
-Ugly women terrify me and she was like...
-..like a corpse of a female.
Why is it always women?
-It's always women, innit?
-Yeah, it is.
-Why is it not a man?
Well, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Still, when you wake up clammy
and stiff in the middle of the night,
there are better ways of dealing with it, but will our audience
have found it scarier than Mr Creak? Find out at the end of the show.
And so to 25-year-old animation student Robert Poller from York.
Rob works part-time in a burger joint
which I hope for the sake of the good people of York
is not what inspired him to come up with his next offering.
It's The Butcher Man.
-Oh, here we go.
-Here we go.
Is it animated?
'You haven't heard of The Butcher Man, have you?
'If you have heard of him,
'then the chances are, he has already slaughtered you.
'How do I know this? Because he was the one that killed me.'
I don't like that voice.
-It is animated.
'I woke up in a strange room where I've never been before.
'My vision was blurry and I couldn't see straight.
'I was convinced that this was a dream.
'There was a large man. WET SLICING
'I couldn't make out what he was doing or who he was.
'Then, I realised...
'..this was not a dream.'
Where am I? What's going on?
Hey! Hey, you!
Get me out of here!
What the hell is going on here?
'The machine above me was activated.'
'I began to sweat.
'Naively, I'd attempt to break free.
'It was no use.
'I looked around.
'There was jars that had human eyes and human hands.
'Also, buckets of blood that attracted insects.
'The blade came down.
'I am literally inches away from death.
'I'd shrink my stomach and hold my breath.'
'The sudden shock and pain jolted into my brain.
'There was a deep cut,
'but nothing could have prepared me for what was coming next.'
Is that the end?
That's a thing, isn't it?
'Fear.' ELECTRONIC CACKLE
A choice cut from The Butcher Man.
But what did our audience make of this gutsy effort?
I kind of enjoyed that film.
That's the first animated horror that I've seen.
I didn't know what the guy had done, whether he deserved it or not.
Automatically, we just think it's to do with a girl.
So, he's already sawed up the girl and he's got caught,
and Bob's your uncle, mate. You're finished!
I enjoyed it.
'Even though it is a cartoon, it just kind of creeped me out...'
Grossed you out, I think.
It grossed me out, the thought of a knife cutting into my tummy.
When it kept swinging through...
'Ugh!' Just like these pink, bubbly things...
'Oh, come on!' It was making me feel really weird.
I thought that torture carried on a bit too long.
Just let it go, cut him up.
That's the whole point of a torturer, isn't it?
When you're a torturer, you take your time. Torture them.
Something I found curious -
The Butcher Man, he was actually kind of nice,
cos he kept the guy's dignity.
-He took his top off, but left his trousers on.
That was pretty OK of The Butcher Man.
Yeah, he's not a monster.
Trousers on, intestines out, nice cup of tea and a flapjack!
I think your reaction was better than the cartoon itself.
'So, Aaron's not a fan - and like several of our audience,
'he had a beef with one of The Butcher Man's key ingredients.'
The narrator's voice was very boring.
Hey, you! Get me out of here!
"Hey, you! Let me out of here!"
It was, like, so chill!
He sounded really unfazed by the whole situation.
-"There was jars of pickled eyeballs..."
'Well, not everyone can master
'the smooth-as-silk voice-over voice of a seasoned professional.
'Next time, call my agent.'
But can The Butcher Man cut it at the top of the leaderboard,
or will it go belly up with our audience?
I'm not expecting the goriness, and to see how it comes out.
I'd never seen it before, so when he done the first bit, it was a bit OK.
What the hell has gone on here?
-It was really creative and it was a good idea.
It just wasn't scary.
-The animation was great.
I thought it was... It had that South Park touch to it,
where there's an element of kitsch to it.
It is quite good, and it makes it different, it makes it stand out.
It's something that I will remember.
I do love a horror.
I'm absolutely not too cool to be scared.
No, I am not too cool to be scared.
No, I'm absolutely not cool, even remotely.
That was me, smoothly trying to make you jump.
Er, get your hand off me.
-Get your hand off!
They look far too relaxed down there.
Time to hit them with our final flick, which comes from
27-year-old Glaswegian wedding photographer Aaron Bird.
When he's not subjecting people
to the hell of having to smile in an ill-fitting suit,
he's terrifying them with sickening creations,
like the Shelack demon who possesses her victims in their sleep.
This is What It Wants.
CREEPY VIOLIN SCORE
I'm already scared!
What I want... Get me what I want!
SHE SCREAMS, THUD
-No, no! No.
-That is grim.
SHE GASPS Oh, no - don't!
Oh, my God!
That was so good! I really enjoyed it!
Shelack's appearance is really kind of creepy,
it's got a definite Grudge vibe to it.
Yes, Shelack needed a whole new makeover.
What's this bit on the side?
If he fell for that over what he had in bed, I feel for the guy.
He's going through things, man.
-And then he made the guy's eyes go funny, he went...
I didn't know what was coming
because I've not encountered this kind of demon before on film.
You sound like an exorcist!
"I haven't encountered this demon before"!
He's stolen her hair.
It's a hair demon.
-She's called Shelack because she lacks stuff.
-she lacks eyes and lips.
Get me what I want!
I thought it was really rude that the demon didn't say thank you,
-just slammed the door in the poor sod's face.
-Well, I don't think
you'd expect a thank-you from a demon.
-We're girls, we don't need to think about our scalp being cut off!
That was gross and it was really slowly done. Eurgh!
See, when I think about it, it makes me do this sort of thing.
When the couple's in bed, I thought it was about to get saucy,
but...what a letdown!
Mate, there was no sauce in that at all, mate!
-The poor girlfriend.
-I think one of the most terrifying things
-would be hurting someone you care about without realising you're hurting them.
Really, Joe? Or have we just caught you partaking in
some classic first-date bullshit?
It gave me a scream.
I found it very gruesome.
I couldn't watch it, I couldn't watch it.
I take great pleasure in the fact that you...got scared.
Needy housemates, eh? Just take, take, take.
Your favourite shirt, your leftover pizza, your girlfriend's scalp!
But how hair-raising did our audience find it?
With the final votes in,
it's time to take a look back at all our movies to see how they scored.
At number four, Robert Poller's
animated effort, The Butcher Man.
This sketchy short notched up
an average of 3.6/10
It did gross me out and obviously scare me a little bit,
-but it wasn't jumpy and wasn't terrifying.
In third place,
Aaron Bird's What It Wants.
If you ask me, it wants an 18 certificate with a warning not
to take your missus.
What It Wants got a jump out of me.
It's something I'd definitely like to see explored in a feature film.
I'd pay to see that.
But only one film can take top spot
on the leaderboard
and missing out this week was
Liam Banks' hideous jumper, Mr Creak.
It did shock me, even though it said, "Don't look up," and she looked up
and I was like, "Here it goes..." and I was like, "Oh, my God!"
I don't know how it got me so scared, it was heart hammering.
-It was heart hammering!
And smashing the final nail in on
this week's competition was
Frederik Wolf's 3am.
3am was the scariest film by far.
It did make me go a bit...inside.
I sort of clenched all my muscles up and I was like...uh!
You knew it was coming, but the best thing about it, you didn't know WHEN it was coming.
Hands up, it got me.
You weren't the only one.
A haggard old lady jumping at you from the ceiling is
a shit-the-bed moment worthy of a hell-raising 8.8.
Only the top three shorts at the end
of the series will be shown to
Blair Witch co-director
Eduardo Sanchez and from them,
he will pick the film that wins
£20,000 of funding and support.
So for now,
The Butcher Man gets the chop.
3am takes a deserved top spot,
but will it still be there after next week's bloody offerings?
I can't stop thinking about this film.
Uh! I don't think I've ever been affected like that, ever.
Oh, my God!
That is everything I love, it's superb.
I will never un-see...
..what I witnessed on that screen!
MUSIC: What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
# I see trees of green
# Red roses, too
# I see them bloom
# Just for me and you
# And I think to myself
# What a wonderf... #
VIOLIN SHRIEKS AND ECHOES
Series searching for the scariest amateur horror film in the UK in a competition which brings the phenomenon of homemade horror into the living room to unearth the next big horror director.
The judges in the first stage are the audience who are seated in a special cinema and watch all 28 films to vote for the top three. There is a mix of films from zombies, animation, comedy horror to psychological horror - all from film-makers from the age of 16 up.
Host Matthew Giffen controls the whole show from the projector room and takes us through the whole competition with wit, charm and just a small dose of creepiness.