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After a few months of COVID-19 lockdown, health expert Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. did some extensive research on the history of the psychological effects of prolonged quarantine. Her research is summarized in a Psychology Today article entitled, “What are the Psychological Effects of a Quarantine?” And according to the article, “Longer periods of quarantine were associated with post-traumatic stress symptoms, avoidance, and anger. And people felt frustrated and bored during quarantine due to confinement, loss of regular routine, and diminished social and physical contact with others.” The esteemed mental health magazine went on to post, “Having inadequate information, including clarity around actions to undertake, the purpose of the quarantine, and different levels of risk proved stressful.”

So, it’s not surprising many creative and intelligent people have become a bit stir-crazy due to the confinement and isolation of coronavirus seclusion. This phenomenon can manifest itself in various forms of negative and self-destructive behaviors, including a tendency toward alcoholism, drug addiction, lethargy, obesity, and even domestic violence. 

However, there are others who have used the time constructively and even ingeniously. Being there’s been a revolution in technological advancement in the last few years, particularly in regards to filmmaking, producing a movie with a cast and crew consisting of one or two people is not out of the ordinary. And given the nature of quarantine fears, dread, and depression, it’s only natural that a slew of chilling horror movies have emerged from the ashes of the novel coronavirus.

“Quar Horror” is a new genre of filmmaking specifically relating to the subject matter and themes surrounding the current pandemic and its attendant apprehension and unease. One such film is the YouTube sensation Stay at Home—A Quarantine Horror Short Film by Kenneth Brown, a former Uber driver-turned-Quar horror producer. Brown is a one-man show who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in this claustrophobic little spooky gem. 

“I literally just grabbed a box, and I set up the camera on a tripod and gave myself a scenario,” says Brown. “And the story started to build and build and build.”

The video concerns a man who becomes increasingly unhinged after a mysterious box is delivered to his residence. There are virtually no special effects or fancy editing techniques—just a slow-burn creepiness that gets under your skin from start to finish. Brown makes great use of lighting, atmosphere, isolation, and paranoia in his directorial debut. 

Director and producer Tracy Kleeman uses a simple Zoom call with friends and a potential unseen killer to ratchet up tension to bloodcurdling levels in the quarantine horror short Screen. The concept is simple and the execution elementary; however, the acting is quite genuine and the foreboding ambience is spot-on. Screen shows that making a straightforward, manageable film without all the trappings of big-budget movies can be quite liberating and surprisingly effective. 

The popular YouTuber Mr. Nightmare has been making creepy videos for several years now, but recently he’s focussed on quarantine issues as his subjectmatter is solely based on real-life experiences. His style is unique in that he uses still images and voice-over narration as his mode of communication, and his deadpan delivery is seriously frightening. There is an interactive element to Mr. Nightmare, as nearly all of his stories are sent in by his fans and viewers, which makes the videos that much more disturbing.

So, Quar horror is a thing! And now is the perfect time to check out this new genre of film on YouTube or Shudder or other  horror/thriller streaming services. 

And how about you? Have an idea for a Quar horror film? Well, get to work—there’s still time! Halloween’s not for another month!