The ABC’s of Death: R is for Review


20130121-134416.jpg R is for Review. How does one review an anthology? Dissecting a film that encompasses such a wide range of directors and styles is near impossible. Sure, the overall structure of the film is nicely stitched together, transitioning from short to short by way of blood soaked fade-outs and wooden letter blocks depicting the current title. But the styles of each segment differ so completely from one to the next, the film cannot be reviewed or rated in it’s entirety. Each segment, a unique vision of horror in it’s own right, must be looked at independently. Therefore I’m not going to rate The ABC’s of Death, I can’t. The entire package was a fun, disturbing, creative, gruesome, sometimes erotic, blood splattered, weird and at times, a thought provoking journey into the multifaceted genre that is horror. Some of the films fail to deliver on any level, while others are stellar examples of creative horror; The ABC’s of Death is the insane X-rated cousin of films like Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow. Here is a quick breakdown and my general thoughts on each. Spoilers.

A is for Apocalypse: Directed by Nacho Vigalondo. A nice bloody introduction to the film. A woman tries desperately to murder her bed-ridden husband during an apocalypse, which is taking place in the background. 3/5

B is for Bigfoot: Directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano. Adults tell a child a tale of how a Mexican big-foot will eat the heart of any child who isn’t in bed at a certain time. This one was so-so. 2/5

C is for Cycle: Directed by Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. Tells the tale of a mysterious hole in a couples shrubbery which duplicates a person who enters it and sends them back to the same day. The man who enters it has figured this out and keeps killing his duplicates as they appear each day. Not bad. 2/5

D is for Dogfight: Directed by Marcel Sarmiento. A visually striking short about a dog owner fighting his dog (unknown to all else) in some underground fighting ring. Cool, Visceral, Engaging. 4/5

E is for Exterminate: Directed by Angela Bettis. Exterminate is about a man who is bitten by a spider that resides in his apartment. He begins to develop a rash and hearing issues. He manages to kill the spider (which has been watching him) at which point its offspring begin to erupt from his ear. Definitely creepy. My worst nightmare! 3/5

F is for Fart: Directed by Noboru Iguchi. Anyone familiar with Japanese fetish porno? No, well Fart is pretty much a softcore, lesbian farting fetish short, set during a volcanic style apocalypse in Japan. Liked the lesbians, didn’t like the farting. 2/5

G is for Gravity: Directed by Andrew Traucki. A chilling and bleak first person short about a person who drives to a beach, loads a backpack with bricks and surfs out into the ocean before plunging to his/her death. The first person POV makes this one particularly chilling. I liked it. 3/5

H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion: Directed by Thomas Malling. An alternate reality short with strong reference to WW2 propaganda films, but involving cosplay style furries and cartoon like slapstick. Yep. Wasn’t into it. 2/5

I is for Ingrown: Directed by Jorge Michel Grau. This one shows a woman tied in the bathtub while her husband murders her; injecting her with poison. She narrates, love-stricken, as she scratches herself raw, vomits and ultimately dies. This one was bleak and sad. 3/5

J is for Jidai-geki(Samurai – Period Piece): Directed by Yûdai Yamaguchi. A samurai is committing ritual suicide while another struggles with his duty to decapitate him. He finally does. Didn’t really like this one. 2/5

K is for Klutz: Directed by Anders Morgenthaler. Animated short about a woman defecating in the bathroom at a party. Her turd has a mind of it’s own and wants back in her. She struggles to flush it down the toilet but it jumps back up inside her with such force that it exits her mouth, killing her. 2/5

L is for Libido: Directed by Timo Tjahjanto. A game show depicting two naked men strapped to chairs, who are shown increasingly grotesque sexual situations. They must masturbate and the winner is the one who ejaculates first, the loser is impaled mechanically by a pole through the bottom of the char. Another contestant takes his place. This was one of my favorites, disturbing, gruesome, depraved and violent. 4/5

M is for Miscarriage: Directed by Ti West. A woman has a miscarriage in her toilet; clogging it, she retrieves a plunger to clear the obstruction. A stark and shocking look at a realistic situation. Disturbing. 3/5

N is for Nuptials: Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun. A man buys a talking parrot who he then trains to ask his girlfriend to marry him. She accepts, but the parrot begins repeating a sexual encounter the man had with a mistress. His girlfriend stabs him to death with a large knife. This one was alright, more humorous than anything. 2/5

O is for Orgasm: Directed by Bruno Forzani, Héléne Cattet. This was a nicely shot erotic short about a woman experiencing an orgasm. Smoking, leather and choking make this more of a softcore BDSM entry than horror. Not bad though. 3/5

P is for Pressure: Directed by Simon Rumley. A realistic short involving a woman who is selling herself to men to make a living in some third world country. In the end she does something terrible for money. Realistic and depressing. 3/5

Q is for Quack: Directed by Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett. The two directors of this short bitch about getting the letter Q for the film; and can’t think of anything to do for it. The decide to shoot a duck for the shock value but end up killing eachother by mistake. Comic relief. I liked this one. 3/5

R is for Removed: Directed by Srdjan Spasojevic. This was a stylishly shot metaphor for something, the film industry or global media or consumerism or whatever; I don’t really know (or care). A few graphic scenes of skin peeling off a horribly burnt hospital patient. Weird. 3/5

S is for Speed: Directed by Jake West. Two women run from a hideous demon like creature against an apocalyptic desert backdrop. One woman is finally caught and it is revealed that they are junkies living in a real shit hole. The one that was caught is now dead. Drugs Kill. 4/5

T is for Toilet: Directed by Lee Hardcastle. Brilliant clay-motion short about a boy and his fears about potty training. A toilet monster brutally kills his entire family and the boy; he wakes to find it was only a dream. Excellent. 5/5

U is for Unearthed: Directed by Ben Wheatley. Another first person POV style entry; about the unearthing of a vampire and the subsequent chase and killing of it – all from the vampires perspective. I really enjoyed this short. Well executed and Frantic! 4/5

V is for Vagitus: Directed by Kaare Andrews. In a futuristic dystopian Vancouver, a police agency hunts down and captures citizens who don’t have reproductive licenses. With the help of a (well crafted) giant robot, bloody mayhem ensues. Psychics, decapitations and nice effects make this one a solid entry. 3/5

W is for WTF: Directed by Jon Schnepp. A series of colorful contrails appear in the sky that induces psychosis and insanity. Killer clowns, murders, hot chicks and giant dinosaurs blend together in this messy short. Good if your high (maybe). 1/5

X is for XXL: Directed by Xavier Gens. An overweight woman is consistently ridiculed by people on her way home from work. She decides to shed some weight by way of knives and turkey carvers. Exiting the shower (where she completed her procedure) she is now skinny but only muscle is left. She poses and then dies. Gruesome. 3/5

Y is for Youngbuck: Directed by Jason Eisener. The story of a young boy who is taken deer hunting by his school’s elderly janitor, and subsequently molested. The boy kills the man with a deer head and antlers before decapitating him and using his head as a basketball. Good eye gouging, creepy old man. 3/5

Z is for Zetsumetsu: Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura. A fight between half naked woman with a knife sprouting massive penis and a woman who shoot vegetables from her vagina highlights a post apocalyptic Japan(?). Human missiles, a rice spewing penis and general insanity conclude the film. Way to many penis’s for me. 1/5

Any fan of horror should watch The ABC’s of Death. It is a wild and sometimes strange ride, covering many aspects of the genre. There is plenty of gore and blood to satisfy the gorehound’s while not making it a central theme. Nudity, art, humor, violence and craziness round out the film and should please a wide audience. The ending was a disappointing conclusion to a very interesting and one of a kind film. Enjoy!

  1. crzydjm says:

    I just watched this the other evening. Several good clips, but even more horrid ones.

    I’m still reeling from “Libido”. I’ve never seen something like that before.

  2. Thomas says:

    Overall, I loved this film. I agree with some of your review, but I have many problems with it. Most notably, I thought “Z is for Zetsumetsu” was one of the best of the bunch, and “M is for Miscarriage” was one of the worst. Honestly, “M is for Miscarriage” was one of the laziest excuses for filmmaking I’ve ever seen.

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