Free Animation! | 5 Seriously Spooky NFB Films to Watch this Halloween


As anyone familiar with our vast and excellent film Collection knows, for every wholesome NFB paddling movie out there, there’s at least one seriously disturbing animation that’s just perfect for Halloween.

Indeed, NFB animators have long explored the dark realms of their dark psyches for our dark enjoyment…

Ominous, unsettling, eerie or crawling with creepy creatures, here are 5 free animation films to spook you out. Happy Halloween!


1. The Brainwashers

The Brainwashers, Patrick Bouchard, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Terrifying puppets and spine-chilling sets full of mad scientists, lab coats, scary-looking machinery and hypodermic needles all combine to tell the tale of two violent cannibals hell-bent on destroying one poor man’s memories… by literally sucking them out of his brain. A super disturbing short by the king of animated NFB creep, Patrick Bouchard.

2. Bydlo

Bydlo, Patrick Bouchard, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Dark and oddly disquieting, this other Patrick Bouchard short is an allegory on mankind’s steady march towards disaster. With its fall palette, evocative clay sculptures and sinister subtext, this nightmare without words is buoyed by the 4th movement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which doesn’t make things any less sinister.

3. The Wanderer

The Wanderer, George Ungar, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

A grim stranger – full disclosure, he’s the Devil – wreaks complete havoc on a peaceful village in this darkly-illustrated charcoal animation by George Ungar. The buildup is somewhat slow, but the theme and treatment are definitely chilling.

4. The ErlKing

The ErlKing, Ben Zelkowicz, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

What can possibly be scarier than a masked king stealing and killing your son? Check out this horror come to life in this sand-on-glass animation set to the music of Franz Schubert.

5. Land of the Heads

Land of the Heads, Claude Barras & Cédric Louis, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Imagine you’re a vampire. Worse yet, imagine you’re a vampire and your bully of a wife hounds you every night to go out and bring her back fresh heads… from little children… for her to wear. Despite a humorous treatment and soundtrack, this, as you can imagine is as gloriously gory as it gets.

Honourable mentions

Neighbours: Throwing babies is never not creepy.

Madame Tutli Putli: Kicking it alone on the night train can get real spooky real fast.

Ryan: That animation…