The ABC's of Death is a new anthology horror experiment by Magnolia and it's exactly what you'd expect. It's 26 short film where each film has to associate with death. Granted one of my top 5 favorite ones "O is for Orgasm" doesn't have anything to do with death, or much of anything, that I could see that is.
(Warning the below trailer is violent.)
The premise is simple, give 26 directors a letter and some money (I heard 5'000$ but some definitely exceed that budget) and have them direct a film using the letter of the alphabet in some way. Granted some like H is for Hydro Electric Diffusion . . . . is kind of a ridiculous stretch of the theme, it could have been simple H is for Hyena or H is for Heat with a man being eaten alive or lit on fire, but no Hydro Electric Diffusion . . . . WTF!!! (Is actually the title for "W" and it's bat shit crazy.)
This one plays like shorts at a film festival. There is no wraparound story, it just dives right in. I love the poster I thought maybe it would have a wrap around of death reading to that baby with some cliched twist at the end like the baby turns out to be some sort of devil. But nope, no wraparound story, what a shame but I guess it allows them to squeeze a little more (a very little more) meat into the shorts.
Below is my Guide: (Do not read if you truly want to be surprised by this film)
A is for Apocolypse - WEAK START***
B is for Bigfoot - WEAK START ***
C is for Cycle - I like this one, it reminds me of the film "Timecrimes" it's horribly weak but I like the concept, it's vague
enough to tickle my imagination just a bit.
D is for Dogfight - (Love it) (Dir. Marcel Sarminento) - This one is fantastic, a boxer fistfights a dog in an underground match.
E is for Exterminate - (Um okay that was weird.) This one is about spiders and feels extremely cliche, it works as a short but is pretty forgettable.
F is for Fart - Possibly the worst thing I've ever seen. If you like Asian cinema, pretty woman and lots and lots of horrible fart jokes...than this is for you...if you are human this is WAY WAY WAY too over the top and ridiculous for me.
G is for Gravity - Um well shot, but totally awful. It's a first person POV of a surfer.
H is for Hydro Electric Diffusion - *.* This is a Loony Toons cartoon about Nazi Furries...I'm not even joking. It's the first truly bat shit crazy film on this list.
I is for Ingrown - Doesn't even make sense. It's a torture murder in bathtub with no real ending. I read the credits I think this director wanted to use it to raise awareness of real murders in his country...I am not sure this is the right platform for it.
J is for Jidai-Geki - I liked this one. A man commits Harikiri and his executioner, (Because in tradition after stabbing oneself another man finishes the job.) Anyways...the executioner starts seeing him as very surrealistic, sort of slap stick comedy puppet faces giggling as he stabs himself, not as creepy as it sounds but extremely surreal and weird...but I thought it was funny.
K is for Klutz - Just no, just no, no, no, no . . . the first animated film about an anthropomorphic piece of poo...if that kind of humor is in your wheelhouse than good for you. But just no, no, no absolutely not.
L is for Libido - Has an amazingly brilliant concept behind it. Extremely sick, extremely dark, and lots of body fluids but the concept is very, very clever. I really enjoyed this one about sex and a sick and twisted secret society pushing a mans Libido buttons. What turns on some may turn off others and this short delves into that concept in the darkest way. Not at all for the faint of heart, but well acted, well shot, slightly exaggerated, very, very sick but 100% works. The first one that genuinely impressed me.
M is for Misscarrage - um yeap pretty wrong and by Ti West which is a shame, cause this one is pretty awful. And by pretty the more I think about it looks like it was shot in under 4 hours with no real thought to the concept at all it's completely 1 note and has no redeeming value. So much you can do with M. and that's what he came up with, Too short, no character, and a one note gross out shot that isn't even thought out well. BOO BOO this one sucks and if there budget was 5'000$ per short it looks like they pocketed most of this money. Some of these other shorts are animated, some are truly epic with giant robots that fight, this one is as bad as a student film by a town idiot.
N is for Nuptials is hilarious. This one is ridiculously simple but brilliant. A man uses a talking parrot to propose to his girlfriend, then the parrot starts revealing some of his secrets he overheard. A beautiful premise.
O is for Orgasm - It's not horror, but it's brilliantly surrealistically shot, wholly crap. The cinematography is phenominal. And these 2 directors (I believe French I may be totally wrong) missed the point cause if someone dies in this one, I didn't see it. It's close up shots of a woman breathing while having an orgasm and breathing out bubbles the music plays and shows the bubbles in extreme closeup with, close-ups of a cigarette being smoked and vairious other gorgeously shot closeups. It feels like an extremely erotic perfume commercial. It totally missed the point. But I loved it.
P is for Pressure - This one ends rather abruptly but the buildup is amazing, I think I'd see a whole film of this woman.
Q is for Quack - strange choice but probably my favorite film of this series Adam Wingard. This one is one of two meta intros into this series but it's so ridiculous and well timed I couldn't help but laugh.
R is for Removed - I believe this one is from the director of "A Serbian Film". This one is about a famous killer escaping from a hospital. Very vague but you get the idea of a character in just a few minutes. Beautiful cinematography, very vague a lot of good deaths if you're into that, very messy some gross things in this but the killer character is cool and probably has a good backstory for horror, this one's rather slimy and filled with all sorts of visual textures but I dug it. Especially the final shot for some weird artistic reason.
S is for Speed - is great. Two woman in the desert being chased by a figure. Brilliant twist I won't spoil it but it does remind me a lot of Australian car cinema. This one has enough of a budget for a short desert car chase. :)
T is for Toilet - is the only stop motion animated one by Lee Hardcastle and it has some good things in it but I wished the ending was different, I think some people with darker senses of humor than I might like it better.
U is for Unearthed - Ben Wheatley (The director of Kill List) was curious what his might be, and I was very very happy with it. A first person POV of a vampire being hunted. Very, very good.
V is for Vagitus - Kaare Andrews - ABSOULUTELY BRILLIANT. It's an in-depth science fiction film about a futuristic society where having babies is privileged and requires a license, filled with psychics, a giant robot, explosions and many more. This is the one of this series I truly think deserves to be expanded upon100%.
W is for WTF! - Jon Schnepp - This one opens up with an animation in the style of Metalocolypse of a woman being killed by a witch all naked being rescued by a knight...then it pans out to a production office where the producer talks to the animator and asks if his submission for ABC's of Death is ready, it's totally meta but goes so far into crazyville I love it.
X is for XXL - Extremely gross but the payoff is pretty clever. Kinda been done before in other places but a fat woman is teased about being fat and in a very gross way becomes skinny by the end of this. If you don't mind the level of gore associated with say Hellraiser 2 maybe you'll dig this. But it's really bloody and one note but kinda clever...kinda.
(THE ONLY GOOD IMAGE I CAN FIND IS THE TWIST as obvious as it is I don't want to give everything away.)
Y is for Young Buck - Ridiculous but the cinematography is great and music is fun, but it's dark and insane. I do like the 80's music and the way it's shot that throwback neon light thing that if you did see "Hobo with a Shotgun" you know what I'm talking about.
Z is for Zetsumetsu (Extinction) - Yoshiro Nishimura . . . my brain hurts. Just my brain hurts. WTF. Penis swords, vaginas, rice, sushi people, nazis, WW2 references, rocket ship people a Dr. Strangelove reference...from the director of Tokyo Gore Police and really what were you expecting. Probably the most manic and crazy short and that's saying a lot out of this collection.
(And that is as they say is that.)