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John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death (2013), and a guide to its short films

March 2, 2013

MY CALL:  Only die hard gore and horror anthology fans should even consider this schizophrenic mix of wildly inane short films.  But I’ll bet you could make one Hell of a drinking game out of it!  [C-/D+]  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH:  Some other fun, decent and/or clever anthologies include (in order of release date):  Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Creepshow 2 (1987), Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie (1990), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Campfire Tales (1997), 3 Extremes (2004), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012) and The Profane Exhibit (2013).

This movie features a wide range of filming styles, varied and creative special effects, some nice use of slow-motion and all manner of gore.  As a fan of gross-out gobs of gobbledy-gook horror and creative and/or funny and/or just plain awful twisted death scenes, I thought that this movie would NO MATTER WHAT be a big pleaser for the darker side of my soul.  I was largely wrong.

Like a child’s ABC book, the film is comprised of 26 individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter. Each director had total freedom to choose a word to create a story involving death; 26 directors from around the world have contributed all manner of random death clips.

I’m a huge fan of horror anthology movies. They get a little flack because they come from a range of writers, directors and production quality–but that’s what I like.  It also makes horror shorts available to those of us who do not attend film school or genre-geared film fests (e.g., Fantastic Fest).  If you don’t like a film in Creepshow (3 stories) you’d wait 20-30 minutes for the next story.  With V/H/S (5 stories) one need wait only 15-20 minutes.  However this has 26 stories, so you’d only have to wait what?  Maybe 5 minutes?  Sadly, because of generally low quality and uninspired shorts, you’ll find yourself waiting a lot.

For me the hands-down best short films were “D is for Dogfight”, “T is for Toilet”, and “X is for XXL.”

Below is an ABC guide to the shorts, their directors and their past work, a few components of the short and an occasional comment…

“A is for Apocalypse” by Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, The Profane Exhibit)
Spanish language; dismemberment.  This was not good.  The violent gore was funny but brief.  This was basically just a violent scene linked to nothing.  Oh, and what apocalypse?

“B is for Bigfoot” by Adrián García Bogliano (Penumbra)
Spanish language; nudity.  Awful on all accounts.  This was basically about bad parenting folklore.

“C is for Cycle” by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza (Mandrill, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman)
Spanish language. This one was senseless.  Not good.

“D is for Dogfight” by Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl)
Well shot, largely in slow-motion.  I really liked this one.  They created a credible man-dogfight.  Sort of a neat idea. And the filming and lighting–solid!

Goooood dog. Good dog. Nice pup.

“E is for Exterminate” by Angela Bettis (Roman)
Terrible CGI, terrible POV concept, terrible sound effects and music.  This plays on a spider urban legend involving laying eggs “in” a human.  Not played out well!  Even the acting sucked ass.

“F is for Fart” by Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl, RoboGeisha, Mutant Girl Squad)
Japanese language; butt nudity.  Disappointing.  I normally like this director’s work.  But this was a stupid, grossly perverted beyond standard exploitative means, lesbian sexualization (or fetishization) of deadly farts!  That may sound funny, but it is not as funny as it should have been.

Super weird short film.  Some love it, some hate it.

“G is for Gravity” by Andrew Traucki (The Reef, The Jungle)
POV.  Random and I didn’t understand it really.

“H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion” by Thomas Cappelen Malling (Norwegian Ninja)
Genital mutilation; semi-nudity (prosthetic); dog people; Nazi strippers.  Extremely stupid, over the top ridiculous effects.  But, when drunk, sufficiently entertaining on a WTF basis.

“I is for Ingrown” by Jorge Michel Grau (We Are What We Are)
Spanish language; vomit.  Nothing to do with the title.

“J is for Jidai-geki” by Yudai Yamaguchi (Meatball Machine, Yakuza Weapon)
Japanese language; suicide; decapitation.  Looney prosthetic effects–somewhat funny.  The title means “samurai movie.”

“K is for Klutz” by Anders Morgenthaler (Echo)
Feces; toilet.  Title makes no sense.

“L is for Libido” by Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre)
Full frontal female nudity; masturbation; semen; pedophilia; amputee fetishism; torture sex; vomit; mid-coital homicide.

“M is for Miscarriage” by Ti West (The Innkeepers, V/H/S)
Toilet; miscarriage.  Pointless and hardly 60 sec!

“N is for Nuptials” by Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter)
Some foreign language (maybe Thai?).  Stupid and sort of funny.

“O is for Orgasm” by Hélène Cattet (Amer) & Bruno Forzani (Amer)
Nudity.  I have no clue what was going on here!

“P is for Pressure” by Simon Rumley (The Living and the Dead, Little Deaths)
Mascoticide.  I honestly have no clue what I’m watching right now!

“Q is for Quack” by Adam Wingard (You’re Next, V/H/S)
Nudity. Funny reality thing.

“R is for Removed” by Srdjan Spasojevic (A Serbian Film)
VERY gory. I guess interesting.  Made no sense.

“S is for Speed” by Jake West (Evil Aliens, Doghouse)
Injection; vomit.  Grindhouse homage?  VERY dumb.  Maybe the worst dialogue of all the shorts.

“T is for Toilet” by Lee Hardcastle (claymation TV show Done in 60 seconds. With Clay)
Clay nudity.  AMAZING clay gore.

“U is for Unearthed”  by Ben Wheatley (Kill List)
Decapitation; POV; vampire.  Shitty!

“V is for Vagitus” by Kaare Andrews (Altitude, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero)
Cool short film.

“W is for WTF?” by Jon Schnepp (Metalocalypse, The Venture Brothers)
Animated; nudity; decapitation; gory.  WTF is right!

“X is for XXL” by Xavier Gens (Hitman, The Divide)
French language; utterly disgusting food binging; SERIOUS self-mutilation.  I LOVED this one.  Gory, brutal, a little tough to watch even.  Sick!  Simple.  Understandable.

“Y is for Youngbuck” by Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun)
Decapitation; pedophilia.  If you could mix  homosexual pedophiliac’s dream with a deer hunter’s nightmare you might end up with this.

This image should reveal all of the inappropriate nature of this short film.

“Z is for Zetsumetsu” by Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, Helldriver)
Genital mutilation; ejaculation; rape; weaponized penis and vagina; full frontal female and male nudity; Nazi.  Cool gore and filming and effects.  The title means “extinction.”

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Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner [INDEX] | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Old School Horror Corner: The Uncanny (1977) | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: V/H/S 2 (2013), another mixed bag horror anthology that’s worth a look for the adventurous | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: You’re Next (2013), featuring one of the best credibly tough horror heroines I’ve seen in a decade! | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. A Beginner’s Guide to Tokyo Gore Shock Cinema | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. Cheap Thrills: A Most Dangerous Game | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: Frontiers (2007), a fine installment to extreme French splatter cinema | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014), still fun, but the least impressive flesh-eating virus movie of the franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: ABCs of Death 2 (2014), and a guide to its short films and directors. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), a great horror anthology featuring mummies, killer black cats and amorous gargoyles. | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: Tales from the Crypt (1972), a truly classic horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. John’s Horror Corner: The Vault of Horrors (1973), not quite living up to its Tales from the Crypt prequel, but fun nonetheless. | Movies, Films & Flix
  13. V/H/S Viral (2014), another found footage horror anthology with a couple of cool short stories | Movies, Films & Flix
  14. John’s Horror Corner: Creepshow (1982), a classic, campy, nostalgic horror anthology from Stephen King and George Romero! | Movies, Films & Flix
  15. 3 Days until Halloween! October Pick #5: Trick ‘r Treat (2007) | Movies, Films & Flix
  16. John’s Horror Corner: A Christmas Horror Story (2015), a holiday anthology complete with zombie elves, evil spirits and Santa fighting Krampus! | Movies, Films & Flix
  17. John’s Horror Corner: Late Phases (2014), throwing tropes out the window to deliver a fresh indie werewolf movie with a blind elderly antihero. | Movies, Films & Flix
  18. John’s Horror Corner: Deadtime Stories (1986), a wonderfully campy horror anthology with diverse effects and dark fairy tales. | Movies, Films & Flix
  19. John’s Horror Corner: Southbound (2015), five linked tales form this decent horror anthology with angels of death and the worst broken leg ever. | Movies, Films & Flix
  20. John’s Horror Corner: Holidays (2016), an excellent horror anthology with some shockingly good horror shorts. | Movies, Films & Flix
  21. The Best Transformation Scenes of Horror, Part 2: A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), Late Phases (2014) and The Company of Wolves (1984) | Movies, Films & Flix
  22. John’s Horror Corner: Blair Witch (2016), discussing a divisive franchise whose third installment offered nothing new except LOUD NOISES and a videogame monster. | Movies, Films & Flix
  23. John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), really not the best horror anthology, with a variety of perverted themes. | Movies, Films & Flix

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