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John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death 2 (2014), and a guide to its short films and directors.

January 23, 2015

the-abcs-of-death-21 MY CALL:  Only die hard gore and horror anthology fans should even consider this schizophrenic mix of wildly inane short films.  Overall this is nothing special.  But I’ll bet you could make one Hell of a drinking game out of it!  MOVIES LIKE ABCs of Death 2:  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), The ABCs of Death (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013) and V/H/S 2 (2014).

This movie features a wide range of filming styles, varied and (sometimes) creative special effects, some nice use of stop-motion, standard animation and all manner of gore delivered in both serious and humorous context.  Are you looking for a film that features dismemberment, murderous grandmothers that won’t die, mass murder, bath salt-induced mania, tentacles, zombie court and weird transformations?  Well, depending my interpretation of what I saw in the melee of clips from this film you may be in for all that…all be it in small doses and of questionable quality.  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.  I had thought the same of The ABCs of Death (2013), which was in fact better than this “sequel” but also similarly not so great.

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).  We get to taste a lot of stories and ideas and, if we don’t like one of the shorts after a few minutes just wait for the next one to start.  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.

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 Amateur” by E. L. Katz (Cheap Thrills)
Nudity; drug use.  This humorously shifts from an edgy, sleek first-time hitman’s fantasy to a fumbling cruel reality.  Beautifully shot!  Good blood work.  Funny.

“B is for Badger” by Julian Barratt
Humorous gore; dismemberment.  Tongue-in-cheek nature documentary gone wrong.

“C is for Capital Punishment” by Julian Gilbey (A Lonely Place to Die)
Decapitation.  A wrongful execution.

“D is for Deloused” by Robert Morgan (various short films)
Claymation; decapitation.  Very creepy and a little trancy.  I didn’t really get it, but I liked it. untitled

Anyone else reminded of a Tool music video right about now?

“E is for Equilibrium” by Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead)
Comedy.  Two island castaways discover a woman washed ashore.  Very goofy.  Really liked it. Alejandro-Brugues

This short tells a truly cute story in a very cute way and it ends in a cute murder and a cute kind of happiness.

“F is for Falling” by Aharon Keshales (Kalevet, Big Bad Wolves) and Navot Papushado
Arabic (?) language; broken bone.  This film didn’t seem to fit in well. Not that it was bad.

“G is for Grandad” by Jim Hosking
Full frontal elderly male nudity.  Ungrateful punk visits his grandfather.  Weird.

“H is for Head Games” by Bill Plympton (Mutant Aliens)
Animated slapstick gore.  Lots of weird imagery and weaponized body parts and bodily functions.

“I is for Invincible” by Erik Matti
Patricide; immolation; decapitation; foreign language.  Trying to kill grandma for her inheritance but she just won’t die.

“J is for Jesus” by Dennison Ramalho
Portuguese; full frontal nudity; genital torture; dismemberment; stigmata.  Gay exorcism.

“K is for Knell” by Bruno Samper and Kristina Buozyte
Mass murder ensues a lunar event.  Then things get weird.

“L is for Legacy” by Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen
Horrible CGI, lousy middle school quality make-up.  Beyond stupid! “M is for Masticate” by Robert Boocheck (Horrific) Bath salts. Slow motion filmed crazy fat guy neck-biting some poor shlub. M-is-for-Masticate

Evidently bath salts also cause instant body hair growth. Lord, look at those shoulders. It’s like he’s wearing a sweater!

“N is for Nexus” by Larry Fessenden (Beneath, Wendigo)
Nudity.  Extremely stupid, not in a good way.

“O is for Ochlocracy” by Hajime Ohata (Metamorphosis)
Foreign language; zombies.  Zombies try and prosecute their still-human assailants in court.  Fun idea.  Dumb film. url10 “P is for P-P-P-P Scary!” by Todd Rohal (Nature Calls)
So stupid that it’s annoying.

“Q is for Questionnaire” by Rodney Ascher (Visions of Terror)
Surgery.  Brutally gory surgery scene.

“R is for Roulette” by Marvin Kren (Blood Glacier)
Russian Roulette, foreign language.

“S is for Split” by Juan Martínez Moreno (Game of Werewolves)
Gory.  Home invasion.  This one was really quite good.

“T is for  Torture Porn” by the Soska twins (American Mary)
Very, very, very weird.  Basically a porn job interview turns into a live-action Hentai with men as the victims of tentacle porn rape.

“U is for Utopia” by Vincenzo Natali (Haunter, Splice, Cube)
Immolation.  An unbeautiful person in an otherwise beautiful world is “solved.”

“V is for vacation” by Jerome Sable (Stage Fright, The Legend of Beaver Dam)
Nudity.  Morally reprehensible, but one of the better shorts.

“W is for Wish” by Steven Kostanski (Manborg)
Organ removal; stop-motion.  Zany, campy, gory fantasy fun.  Very funny.

“X is for Xylophone” by Julien Maury (Inside, Livid) and Alexandre Bustillo
This short film boils down to one goretastic punchline.

“Y is for Youth” by Sôichi Umezawa
Japanese; transformation; Tokyo Shock; phallic stuff; evil sperm.  This is bonkers.  A woman turns into a dog that spits sharpened pencils, that turn into worms, which combine into a worm hand…and that’s not even a fraction of the really weird shit.

“Z is for Zygote” by Chris Nash
Birth scene.  A very long-term pregnancy gets very weird and VERY gory.  Gross…but a very cool film. the-abcs-of-death_510-copy

35 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2015 3:10 pm

    Slightly better than the last one.

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    January 26, 2015 11:27 am

    A is for Amateur was REALLY funny and rather clever. I loved how his vision of it was so sleek whereas everything went so weirdly wrong.


  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. Trailer Talk: The Void, an unfinished Lovecraftian horror labor of love that needs your help | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), a great horror anthology featuring mummies, killer black cats and amorous gargoyles. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Tales from the Crypt (1972), a truly classic horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. 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
  6. V/H/S Viral (2014), another found footage horror anthology with a couple of cool short stories | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. Manborg (2011), the schlocky tale of a cyborg battling Nazi zombie mutants, robots and vampire demons from Hell. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Creepshow (1982), a classic, campy, nostalgic horror anthology from Stephen King and George Romero! | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. 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
  10. Turbo Kid (2015), a weird, gory, goofy, quirky, post-apocalyptic wasteland B-action movie. | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: Deadtime Stories (1986), a wonderfully campy horror anthology with diverse effects and dark fairy tales. | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. 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
  13. John’s Horror Corner: Holidays (2016), an excellent horror anthology with some shockingly good horror shorts. | Movies, Films & Flix
  14. John’s Horror Corner: Deathgasm (2015), the New Zealand horror comedy where Ash vs the Evil Dead brilliantly meets Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. | Movies, Films & Flix
  15. John’s Horror Corner: The Void (2016), the indie horror where The Thing’s (1982) practical effects meet Lovecraft and Barker! | Movies, Films & Flix
  16. John’s Horror Corner: The Greasy Strangler (2016), a disgusting, awkward, exploitative, gross horror comedy. | Movies, Films & Flix
  17. 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
  18. John’s Horror Corner: After Midnight (1989), a decent horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  19. John’s Horror Corner: The Willies (1990), a hokey kid-friendly-ish horror anthology starring Sean Astin. | Movies, Films & Flix
  20. John’s Horror Corner: The Editor (2014), a wonderfully gory and raunchy yet awkwardly written ultra-cheesy horror comedy. | Movies, Films & Flix
  21. John’s Horror Corner: Ghost Stories (2017), a horror anthology for beginners. | Movies, Films & Flix
  22. John’s Horror Corner: The Field Guide to Evil (2018), a horror anthology about folklore and mythology from around the world. | Movies, Films & Flix
  23. Love, Death & Robots (2019), the animated Sci-Fi anthology series I’ve waited my whole life to see! | Movies, Films & Flix
  24. John’s Horror Corner: Dark Tales of Japan (2004; aka Suiyô puremia: sekai saikyô J horâ SP Nihon no kowai yoru), passable for a Japanese TV movie horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  25. John’s Horror Corner: Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989), a wonderful horror anthology series that keeps it light. | Movies, Films & Flix
  26. John’s Horror Corner: Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), a Lovecraftian horror anthology loaded with disgusting gore and slimy tentacle monsters. | Movies, Films & Flix
  27. John’s Horror Corner: All Hallow’s Eve (2013), the brutal gory horror anthology that spawned Art the Clown. | Movies, Films & Flix
  28. John’s Horror Corner: Rabid (2019), the Soska sisters’ more monstrous remake of David Cronenberg’s 1977 classic. | Movies, Films & Flix
  29. John’s Horror Corner: XX (2017), the horror anthology led by women in horror. | Movies, Films & Flix
  30. John’s Horror Corner: From a Whisper to a Scream (1987; aka The Offspring), a lower budget horror anthology with some zany-gory special effects. | Movies, Films & Flix
  31. John’s Horror Corner: Campfire Tales (1997), an underrated and often forgotten horror anthology with an awesome cast. | Movies, Films & Flix

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