Marcel The Shell in Shoes and 9 other short films that have become feature films

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“Marcel The Shell in Boots” is the latest example of a full—length film based on a short film. There is a unique pleasure in these kinds of films, as they show how often a vast and more complex story lies at the heart of a simple narrative.

In fact, there have been quite a few high-budget films that have been developed from shorter projects, often because the shorter version is used as a proof of concept, helping the director get the funding needed for their project to be realized.

Marcel The Shell in Shoes (2022)

As the name suggests, Marcel The Shell in Shoes tells the story of an anthropomorphic seashell with a bulging eye. The original short film was mainly focused on a documentary filmmaker who interviews a miniature creature, while the feature film will focus more on Marcel’s journey to try to reunite with his family.

However, the longer version will feature many of the same creative talents as in the short film, including Jenny Slate, who voiced Marcel (she was also one of the writers of the short film).

12 monkeys (1995)
Streaming videos on Prime Video

“12 Monkeys” is rightfully considered one of the best science fiction films of all time. Focusing on a man trying to stop a terrifying pandemic by traveling through time, he retains his intimidating power to harass the public. It also features some powerful performances by artists such as Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. It is also based on the short film “La Jetee” by Chris Marker.

However, unlike the longer version, the Marker film mainly consists of still photos with one short moment when it switches to a moving image.

What he looks Like (2014)
Streaming videos on Prime Video

There have been many wonderful examples of positive representation of LGBTQ+ in the films, and “How He Looks” is one of the best. It tells the story of a blind high school student Leonardo, who falls in love with his classmate Gabriel. This is a touching love story, which becomes even more touching because of the delicate attitude to blindness.

It is based on the director’s short film “I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone”, and, quite unusually, it also involves the same cast as in the short film.

Dirty Boy (2003)
Not available for streaming

“Mudge Boy,” based on the short film “Fish Belly,” is an exciting film, thanks in large part to Emil Hirsch’s powerful performance. In the film, he plays Duncan Mudge, a boy living with his father, and focuses in particular on their mutual struggle with the death of Duncan’s mother. At the same time, he also develops feelings for a classmate.

There are many dark and sometimes frankly disturbing moments in the film, but it is still a powerful portrait of the alienation and struggle of one young man to find himself.

Babadook (2014)
Streaming on the Roku channel

“Babadook” is widely regarded as one of the best horror films of the 2010s, and it is based on the short film “Monster”. It focuses on a mother and her son who are tormented and persecuted by the creature from the title. As with all great horror movies, the monster is much bigger than it looks.

No less important is the fact that the film uses the conventions of the genre to explore a number of important thematic issues, in particular, the power of grief that overwhelms a person’s life and makes him unable to live a full life.

Boogie Nights (1997)
Broadcast on HBO Max

Boogie Nights is considered one of Mark Wahlberg’s best roles, and it’s easy to see why. Beneath its somewhat sloppy surface hides an obsessive and at times melancholic view of the adult film industry in its heyday of the 1970s, as it was with Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler Wahlberg.

It is based on a short pseudo-documentary film by Paul Thomas Anderson, The Dirk Diggler Story, which he expanded and turned into a more traditional narrative film. What is particularly noteworthy is that there are several scenes in both versions.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Streaming videos on Prime Video

Taika Waititi is one of the most inventive directors working in Hollywood today. Among other things, he is known for creating a hilarious pseudo-documentary film “What we Do in the Shadows”, which tells about a group of vampires trying to navigate the modern life of the city of Wellington. The short film had a similar title, “What We Do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires.”

Both versions vividly demonstrate Waititi’s unique sense of humor, which manages to capture both the hilarious and the creepy.

Frankenweenie (2012)
Streaming on Netflix

Tim Burton is another director who has his own vision. This has always been evident in his career, but it is especially true of Frankenweenie. This project began as a short film in the 1980s, it tells about a boy who uses electricity to bring his beloved dog back to life.