The ABCs of Death (2012) *

April 25th, 2013
Author: Meredith Taylor

Directors:

Nacho Vigalondo                    (“A Is for Apocalypse”)
Adrián García Bogliano           (“B Is for Bigfoot”)
Ernesto Díaz Espinoza           (“C is for Cycle”)
Marcel Sarmiento                  (“D Is for Dogfight”)
Angela Bettis                          (“E is for Exterminate”)
Noboru Iguchi                          (“F is for Fart”)
Andrew Traucki                         (“G is for Gravity”)
Thomas Cappelen Malling               (“H is for Hyrdo-Electric Diffusion”)
Jorge Michel Grau                 (“I is for Ingrown”)
Yudai Yamaguchi                              (“J is for Jidai-geki”)
Anders Morgenthaler                       (“K is for Klutz”)
Timo Tjahjanto                                  (“L is for Libido”)
Ti West                                               (“M Is for Miscarriage”)
Banjong Pisanthanakun                   (“N is for Nuptials”)
Hélène Cattet                         (“O is for Orgasm”)
Bruno Forzani                                    (“O is for Orgasm”)
Simon Rumley                                   (“P Is for Pressure”)
Adam Wingard                                  (“Q Is for Quack”)
Srdjan Spasojevic                  (“R Is for Removed”)
Jake West                               (“S is for Speed”)
Lee Hardcastle                                   (“T Is for Toilet”)
Ben Wheatley                                    (“U Is for Unearthed”)
Kaare Andrews                                 (“V is for Vagitus”)
Jon Schnepp                          (“W is for WTF?”)
Xavier Gens                            (“X Is for XXL”)
Jason Eisener                         (“Y Is for Youngbuck”)
Yoshihiro Nishimura             (“Z is for Zetsumetsu”)

Producers: Julie Lind-Holm, Petter Lindblad

US NZ                        123mins                     2012               Horror

Do forgive me not listing the cast.

Twenty-six short films about death, in the Horror genre, by twenty-seven directors, stitched together into a two-hour film. The directors must have at least one death and open and close their piece with the colour red. Oh, yes and the only have a budget of $5,000 each with which t create their masterpieces.

The end result was always going to be horribly uneven, with a few interesting segments interred in a morass of the very bad, the weird, the perverted and the sick.

The concept behind A for Apocalypse was ok, but the execution pretty poor.

B was poor and C very poor.

D is for Dogfight, a well-made, imaginative short, although whether it’s truly Horror… but then, it certainly wasn’t the worst offender in terms of Genre..
E features a red-back spider, exacting revenge on a would-be assassin.
F is a real oddity- I’m not sure where to begin… a Japanese lesbian fart-fetish film, made by a sick man with a sense of humour all his own. I don’t really know what to say about F. Not a Horror film. Perhaps a bargain basement freebie on a fetish site on which you’ve lost your way.
G again, not a horror and certainly the cheapest film made. It’s about surfing and not a great deal else. It was quite pretty though.
H another odd fetish film of a British Bulldog falling for a stripper cat, which goes strangely sideways from a position that began some way out in leftfield to start with. Devoid of any horror element. What’s that fetish called where everyone has to dress up in a fur suit..? Goofy.. no.. Not dogging..
The feature for the letter I was inscrutable, but interesting. I’ve no idea what happened, but I enjoyed the ride. in comparison..
J is another Really strange offering from the Japanese. I mean- Really Strange. But still no wiser.
K is a total departure and our first animation. Again, in no stretch a Horror film, but a cartoon of a turd that refuses to go down the toilet without a fight.. Funny though and well drawn.
L is a very dark, twisted piece that was the first to make me squirm with genuine discomfort, but again, I would resist calling it Horror. Schlock  designed to repulse more accurate.
Ti West, director of ‘Cabin Fever 2’ gives us M. Another pretty cheap shot and not really horror at all. More simply ‘Gross’.
N was another amusing entry – and had me laughing by the blood spattered end.
O was never a Horror, but a wild visual exploration of what it might feel like to experience a (female) orgasm. At least the directors went to some trouble to communicate their idea here. Well shot.
P was one of the better-observed, really well acted and well thought out pieces. The protagonists life of prostitution could indeed have been regarded a Horror. A difficult film to see through to the end, but again, I would hesitate calling it Horror.
Lord preserve us from directors choosing to act, let alone be funny. That was the horror of Q. Shooting a duck (quack) is what it was about.
By now, one is only watching this DVD purely to get to the end, not for any merit or, Heaven forefend, any Horror. There has by now been several gallons of fake blood though, but as any Horror aficionado will attest, buckets of blood does not a Horror film make. Necessarily.
R may have had an interesting idea in there; a man whose skin appears to be made of 35mm film and he is kept, rather like a bear that is constantly let for its bile.
S a very basic metaphor on a subject covered innumerable times before, but featuring two buxom women and a sexy car to prevent us from thinking that we’ve been shortchanged again. Again, Horror-free.
T Lee Hardcastle’s very funny, twisted Claymation, about a boys terror of man-eating toilets. My favourite short from the whole anthology just for it’s imagination, craft and storytelling.
U was a well-made, elliptical short, but again falling short of Horror.
V more sci-fi than horror, but quite clever, a pretty good script and great production values.
W is another attempt by the filmmakers to get infront of the camera and be funny. A ridiculous short, made with really awful special effects that would shame a schoolboy with its amateurish stupidity. WTF indeed.
X was disturbing and one of the few that bothered to get into the mind of the protagonist and attempt to be something a little more considered. Here, a fat girl, picked on incessantly for her size by people in the street and preached at by advertising all around. One of the few highlights, it also probably had the most blood too, though I’m not going to rewind re-view and make sure on that point. If it’s all the same to you.
Y. What is there to say about Y, but why? A paedophile licking the sweat of young boys off a gym bench. Certainly horrific.

And finally, courtesy of Japan, the nadir that is  Z… So weird. So very weird. Alot of nakedness, giant, bladed penises, tiny real penises, vaginas spewing vegetables and, in place of blood and semen, rice. If you can make any more sense of that, well done. You win a free copy of the ‘ABC’s Of Death’ DVD.

To sum up, alot of sexual violence towards women, puerile humour, graphic, pointless violence, gore drugs, sex, poor acting, bad production values and a massive dose of the ridiculous. There are a few items of interest in there, but the rest of it isn’t worth wading through to find the gems in the blood.

The most surprising and disappointing aspect about this whole venture is that there are a fair few very well-respected filmmakers in here. I have to say in their defence, $5,000 is not really a budget at all, when considering making a short, let alone something with any kind of special effects, but then, presumably they could have just said no. There are a great many Horror films out there that you need to see before resorting to “The ABCs of Death”. Save your money. Please. AT

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