‘Hereditary’ Director Ari Aster’s Early Short Films Set the Stage for His Haunting Debut Feature — Watch

"The Strange Thing About the Johnsons" courted the most controversy and acclaim.
Reid Chavis

Hereditary” is Ari Aster’s feature debut as a writer/director, but it’s far from his first time behind the camera. He also has six shorts to his name, several of which can be found online. Best known and most controversial is his 30-minute “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons,” which Aster began working on while at the American Film Institute Conservatory.

An official selection of both the New York and Slamdance film festivals, it’s now a Vimeo Staff Pick and has drawn mixed reactions due to its taboo familial subject matter — sound familiar?

“Munchausen” premiered online three years ago via Vice Shorts, which described the 16-minute offering as “a Pixar-inspired silent short about a clingy mother (played by Bonnie Bedelia, John McClaine’s wife in Die Hard) who goes to a bunch of extreme lengths to keep her son from going off to college.” It also played at Fantastic Fest.

Then there’s the six-minute “Beau,” which was shot in one day and has been on Vimeo for seven years.

Watch all three shorts below, and keep an eye out for Aster’s “C’est La Vie,” “The Turtle’s Head,” and “Basically” as well.

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