We previously had the chance to check out Thomas Burke’s short film Camping Fun, a quick dive into a small cult that showed that Burke had the knack to channel his love of the found footage genre into a terrifying short. Now/ looking to take on a subgenre from the overall found footage genre of ‘screen life’, SHC: Freak Accident sees Burke putting himself on the screen and divulging in his greatest fear: spontaneous human combustion.

From the director’s statement:

“This is my demise in the most frightening way I could imagine… When I was seven years old, spontaneous human combustion became the forefront of my thoughts- as well as my biggest fear after learning about it through a TV-aired docu-series. Ever since then, I can’t help but picture something like this happening to me…”

SHC Freak Accident

The result is an intense yet highly enjoyable meltdown on screen. The effects and tone of the short are certainly on the lighter side, but it is a wonderfully morbid indulgence in bringing one’s greatest fears to life — who does not want to see a man burst into flames on camera? Easily the greatest appeal is the 90’s aesthetic as the icons, effects, and art direction all seem to take inspiration from the era; the whole production exhibits crude displays and graphics that will have their own nostalgic charm to those who lived through the early internet era.

Overall, the work is a disturbing mix of nostalgia, dark humor, and general terror that makes for a lovely two minutes of madness. You will even want to stick around for the end of the credits as the screen becomes awash in garish graphics that will remind you of early internet pop-ups from a computer slowly dying. It is unabashed fun and terror from start to end, a lovely little introduction into the twisted humor and horrors of Thomas Burke’s filmography.

Produced by the people at POV Horror, this short also goes to show promise for the platform in creating its own unique content for the avid found footage fans. Even better, those in the San Francisco area can check this out on the big screen at the Unnamed Footage Festival as it opens for a screening of the pioneering digital horror film, The Collingwood Story.

Check out the teaser for the Fest and make sure you catch the screening of SHC: Freak Accident!


Past Festival Coverage