The ABC’s of Death

Anthology horror flicks are something I have a soft spot for.  As a kid my friends and I ate up shit like the Tales from the Crypt: Vault of Horror and Amazing Stories, Tales from the Darkside, Creepshow 1 and 2 and even Tales from the Hood tapes my video store carried.  I dug on recent efforts like V/H/S (a found footage horror where shit actually happens, shocking I know) and Trick ‘r Treat too, so this one definitely caught my attention. 

26 directors given a letter from the alphabet, $5000 and the freedom to do anything they want had to come up with a short film featuring a death that started with that letter.  At the end all of the films were put together into one anthology featuring 26 ways to die.  Sounds totally awesome right?  And I gotta say, as uneven as it is, it was definitely a one of a kind experience and I think overall, a pretty sweet anthology.  There’s sadly no wrap around story, which might’ve been cool depending on what they did with it, but I guess considering how many shorts there are, it might’ve been pretty tacked on or impractical anyway.

To say that this movie is all over the place is the understatement of the century.  I don’t think you will see too many movies which feature several ultra gory murders, an English bulldog man facing off against a Nazi cat woman in some sort of bizzarro furry version of WWII, a headless baby with psychic and telekentic powers facing off against an evil government and machine gun equipped robots, people smelling farts until they die, a Japanese she-male with a torso length monster cock which sprouts a katana blade out of the end, a fat women cutting off all of her flesh to “lose weight”, a POV vampire slaying from the point of view of the vampire, a man eating claymation toilet and a guy getting in a fist fight with a dog all in the same movie, but you get that and more here.

You’ve got some of the cream of the crop of modern genre cinema in this thing: Ti West (House of the Devil, The Inkeepers), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Helldriver, etc), Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), The Divide) Ben Wheatly (Kill List), Jake West (Evil Aliens), Jon Schnepp (Metalocalypse and Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes), Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun), Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl and Mutant Girl Squad) and more.

It’s pretty obvious through most of the shorts that the budget was low here, but some of these really push that $5000 to the absolute max. In fact considering some of the visual effects on display here, I'm not sure how it was actually possible honestly for some of these.

Performances vary wildly from short to short, but given the average length of about 2minutes per short, it’s a bit tough to really judge. 

Surprisingly, most of the Japanese shorts by the various members of the Sushi Typhoon crew weren’t that great.  They’re bizarre for sure, but pretty fucking stupid and also strangely lacking in the normally trademark ultra-arterial spray splatter.  Also the Ti West short, given that he’s become somewhat of a darling of the horror scene these days, was pretty lame.  The animated "K for Klutz" was just strange and not particularly funny, and I didn’t really get how the word tied in with the short. There’s a comedic entry "N is for Nuptials" where a man proposes to his wife after buying her a pet bird, but then the bird starts repeating all the things he was saying while banging his mistress that was mildly amusing, but with a lame blood spattering the lens payoff. 

But then there are some really awesome ones like "X is for XXL", "V is for Vagitus"  and also the nasty opener "A is for Apocalypse", "S is for Speed", "Y is for Youngbuck", "L is for Libido" (which was SICK), "H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion", "U is for Unearthed" and my personal favorite "T is for Toilet" that help make up for some of the weaker entries.  Even when a short falls flat (and some of them do), it’s over fast enough that you’re on to the next thing, which in all likely hood veers completely in another direction.

But overall, I think there’s enough good to great stuff in here, along with enough utterly bizarre stuff, that I’d recommend this just for the experience alone. 

Check it out!!