Courtesy of FOX / Mars Wrigley Confectionery

The creepy movies are hitting your TV screen all month.

Abbey White
October 17, 2017

A series of dark and terrifying new ads have rolled out just in time for Halloween, courtesy of an unlikely sponsor: Mars candy brands.

The campaign is a partnership between the candy company and Fox networks, which has already aired four commercials featuring a series of chilling short stories. Each was sponsored by a different candy—so far that's included Skittles, Starburst, Snickers, and M&M's—but the two-minute "bite-sized horror" films actually come from the minds and cameras of several up-and-coming horror directors.

Commercials have included the Skittles sponsored "Floor 9.5," about one office worker's terrifying elevator experience; the M&M's sponsored "The Road," where a father and his daughters test an urban legend on an empty road; Snickers' "Live Bait," a story about a fisher who learns what it's like to be on the other end of the pole; and the Starburst sponsored "The Replacement," a changeling-inspired story about a curious young boy who meets a familiar stranger in his backyard.

Mars' sugary treats are a staple of the October holiday, but don't let their typically sweet associations deceive you. The candy isn't actually visually present in the ads, only appearing briefly as part of each film's opening. The rest of the two-minute commercial is about delivering scares. Like most good horror, the films are not for the faint of heart. They are also metaphors for the unsettling truths of our lives, at least for the writer and director duo behind the Skittles sponsored "Floor 9.5."

The film, which ran through the entirety of one commercial break during a Yankees-Indians playoff game on Fox Sports 1 last week, follows a tired office worker as she attempts to leave the building. On her way down, she gets unexpectedly trapped between two floors and in a strange room where a man who won't look at her awaits. The short was written by Simon Allen, and in an interview with AdFreak, its director Toby Meakins said the idea came from "a single line" about the concept of someone who is followed from the front.

"We thought how weird and creepy that would be, if someone was always a few steps ahead of you no matter which way you turned," Meakins told AdFreak. "We plugged that into the loop/hell of 'Floor 9.5,' which is intended to be a metaphor for modern working life."

AdWeek is reporting that there may be up to 12 short films released as part of Mars' "Bite Size Horror" series. As each new one is unwrapped, you'll be able to catch it on one of Fox's channels.