Shamiana hosts a festival of horror short films at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi this evening

When Dorothy is invited over to the Poe’s on Halloween night, no one ever told her about their decomposing, comatose mother living in the upstairs bedroom. Shewishes somebody had when the storm hits, and mother wakes up.

Eager to embrace the thrills and the chills? Then head to Alliance Francaise on new Delhi’s Lodhi Road this evening to watch not just Dorothy’s histrionics but a medley of five horror shorts from across the world as part of a horror film festival organised by Shamiana, the country’s only dedicated short film club. Leading the list, as you must have guessed from the above synopsis, is Jonathan Martin’s An Evening With My Comatose Mother.

Then there is a Norwegian short film, In Chambers, which portrays how reality is experienced by those who are in coma and how the system works in this seemingly macabre and hostile space. “Horror always has its own thrill and charm and I feel it’s one of the most fascinating genres in films. It’s a thrill to scare people,” says Cyrus Dastur, noted theatre actor and founder of Shamiana on picking the theme. “I have personally chosen each and every short in this package. Each film brings with it a unique story and excellent narration. It took me six months and seeing over 300 shorts before I could finally zero on these,” adds Dastur.

Dastur feels horror is very difficult to do in short films because good horror needs great technique, budgets and experienced story tellers which shorts films rarely have at their access. “Making a good horror short film is challenging. They could end up being funny than scary!”

The lone Indian entry is Ravi Iyer’s Mazaak Mat Karo, a seven minute film where a radio jockey’s funny show turns scary when he dials the number of the death registrar’s office.

Talking about the sub genres of horror on show, Dastur promises, “All are scary in their own way and yes, the idea was to scare the daylight out of our audience. But some of them also have a fun side to it.” Formed in 2008, the club has 10 chapters and there is no membership fee. Claiming that Shamiana is already Asia’s largest short film club, Dastur says shorts are the next big thing. “Everybody has a story and shorts today are more about aspirations than anything else. Most of our followers/patrons are filmmakers, actors, college students and anyone who loves good cinema,” sums up Dastur.