16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Nine Things About the Movie "ABC's of Death" (2013)
1. This is perhaps the most unique movie of 2013.
2. It's an interesting setup. 26 directors from around the world were given a letter of the alphabet. They picked a word starting with that letter, and then made a short film about that word that incorporates death. They were given complete artistic freedom to make whatever they wanted.
3. The movie spans cultures, times, countries, and topics. Some are more conventional, and some are pretty extremely out there. Some are serious, some are funny.
4. The movie has been criticized for being too uneven. I'm not sure that's a legitimate criticism. We have 26 different movies by 26 different directors. Each one has its own style and technique. Now having said that, some films were definitely better than others.
5. There are some minor masterpieces, absolute gems, sitting in this infernal alphabet. Some are burned into my mind, whether I want them there or not.
6. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but there seems to be a thread involving toilets, poop, or farts weaving its way through the films.
7. There were more giant penises than I expected.
8. If there was an award for "weirdest film" in this anthology, it would definitely go to Japan. Of course. No other country is quite in touch with their inner freakiness as them.
I don't recommend this to most people - it's pretty violent, bizarre, and it goes to bad places that no mainstream film would ever consider. But for those with more... unusual tastes, this can be a good time.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2013
This movie is a lot to digest--due to the diverse, yet oddly large creative minds that make up 26 shorts. I could take this movie too seriously, because many of the shorts are just so bizarre, sadly, I would have liked more diversity it seemed a rotation of directors/writers being from either Japan or Spain. One problem is the transition from film to film is non existent, so you jump from humor, to disquieting, to campy, to terror, and the pace never seems to truly fit. This was definitely fun to watch, might have been better with a group to discuss, but something is missing...I sure had some favorites (Letters C,D, K,L, N, Q, T, X), when you think that only 1/3 of the films you actually enjoyed compared to the 2/3 that were forgettable, you have to wonder what happen. Some of the movies are so bizarre you wonder why anyone would ever make or want to watch such celluloid trash, it would have been nice to replace some of the less enjoyable shorts with something watchable. I no doubt think any horror fan should check this movie out, but I wouldn't rush out and buy it unless it was on clearance. Be prepared for letters (F,L,X,Y,Z). Some of these films are just disturbing or maybe just plain asinine.
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
I love horror anthologies but "The ABC's Of Death" is doing a little too much. Its hard to find satisfaction in 26 different 5 minute (or shorter) horror shorts especially some that are as bizarre as this bunch, I definitely would have liked some of them more had they been longer and I'm sorry to say but allot of the shorts are down right stupid and I mean stupid.
I really don't want to give away any of the shorts since they are only 5 minutes a piece but I will give you a few I thought were really below the mark!
"F is for Fart" was so weird it almost made me stop watching, the whole concept was horrible and downright.....I don't have a word to explain, its bad.
"G is For Gravity" was another straight out dumb short, someone drives to the beach with a surf board and backpack full of bricks, goes out into the ocean and I guess drowns? Probably the plainest short of the bunch.
"Z is for ???" I don't even know how to spell the word given let alone explain what the short was about! All I know is that some Japanese girl had a huge penis which had a blade that came out of the tip, it is by far the weirdest short of the bunch!
Those are a few examples of bad shorts, others I felt were horrible were "E", "F", "G", "H", "K", "M" and "O" but I won't spoil them for any potential viewers as I'm sure there's probably a few that could find them to they're liking.
There were three shorts that really stood out in my mind as the best of the bunch, I loved the torture concept for "L is for Libido" which I think is the most touchy and twisted short of the group due in part to a young boy rape scene you don't actually see, "V is for Vagitus" which was the only sci-fi short and "X is for XXL" which dealt with an overweight woman who's tormented by skinny people. Those three were my absolute favorite, hell I would love "L" and "V" as full length features if they could be done right!
I did however find enjoyment or something to like in "A", "B", "D", "N", "Q", "S" & "T". Any other letter was just whatever to me, somewhere in between the good and the horrible.
I wanted to love this film so much but found myself making puzzled faces throughout most of the film, I would definitely recommend you see this just for the experience of it all but be prepared to see some of the weirdest stuff you've might ever seen in your life. I would recommend you rent this first, I thought about buying it when available but I'm not to sure just yet If the good really outweighs enough of the bad.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2014
Okay... The reviews for this movie are all either one or five stars, and I'm going to try to explain why that is. First, a little background about me (trust me, this will help). I love horror movies. I love horror anthologies. I like stupid movies. I friggin' LOVE stupid horror movies. I'm okay with indie films and subtitles and "artsy" movies. and I even like some torture porn. My point here is I enjoy movies.
Got where I'm coming from? With me so far? Okay, here we go, then... If you're like me, you want to watch this because you're thinking it's going to be like either "1000 Ways to Die" or "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Cool concept, right? Like a bunch of fun sized candy bars. Little short horror films. What fun!
Turns out, almost no fun. Yes, there are subtitles: That didn't bother me. Yes, the "films" are short and have a limited budget: That didn't bother me. Yes, some of them worry more about being "artsy" than being scary: THAT didn't bother me. Here's what bothered me (here come the SPOILERS, guys).
A couple of these were really well done. If not scary, then creepy or funny (I'm a big fan of all of those things). The overwhelming majority, however, were either completely over-the-top ridiculously stupid, and not scary or creepy or funny unless you're a seven-year-old boy, OR just horrifically disturbing. I don't mean "gory" disturbing, I mean "child rape and kitten killing" disturbing. And before someone accuses me of not being clever enough to understand the point: Yes, I totally got it. Horror means more than one thing. Child rape is horrifying. Mission accomplished. I acknowledge that the point was to push the boundaries, or whatever douchey excuse there was for making me watch some dude masturbate while watching someone rape a little boy. I felt about that exactly the way I was supposed to. Still didn't appreciate it. Raping little boys is not now, nor has it ever been, clever or artistic.
Anyway, there's that. There's kitten killing. There's endless amounts of poop and fart jokes. There's a few where I'm convinced the director just set out to make the film as vague and incomprehensible as possible so he could be a condescending douche when people didn't "understand his art." Remember that guy from high school? Well, someone paid him to be a professional douche, now. Dispersed throughout this disaster, though, are a few awesome little short films.
So, here's the take-away: Overall, I am pissed off that that was two hours of my life I will never get back. The bad and/or stupid far, far, FAR outweighs the good in this one. If (like me) you don't want to just take the word of some random internet stranger, my advice to you is this: 1) Watch it on Netflix, or borrow it from someone. If you hate it as much as I did, you will be furious if you spend money on it. 2) If you see that the scene you are watching is going somewhere awful or stupid, skip to the next one. DON'T try to stick it out. Child rape, guys. Nuh uh.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2013
There is something misleading about the tongue-in-cheek title of "The ABCs of Death" (which is of course inspired by the "Ant and Bee" books). The short films (each about five minutes long) shot for this death-themed anthology does not have to be horrors. Some of the works here are comedies (mostly dark ones) or bizarre, experimental stuff. You just cannot expect something like "Masters of Horror" here.
Like most anthologies, some pieces are great; some not so much. Segment "D" is all shot in slow motion. "K" and "T" are animated films. "G" and "U" employs a first-person viewpoint. Some are disturbing. Some are plain weird, especially three sections by Japanese directors "F" "J" "Z."
Here is the list of the names of 26 segments and directors who have contributed their pieces.
A is for Apocalypse (Nacho Vigalondo, director of "Timecrimes")
B is for Bigfoot (Adrian Garcia Bogliano)
C is for Cycle (Ernesto Diaz Espinoza)
D is for Dogfight (Marcel Sarmiento)
E is for Exterminate (Angela Bettis, best known as the star of a cult horror "May")
F is for Fart (Noboru Iguchi, director of "The Machine Girl")
G is for Gravity (Andrew Traucki, director of "Black Water")
H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion (Thomas Cappelen Malling, director of "Norwegian Ninja")
I is for Ingrown (Jorge Michel Grau)
J is for Jidai-geki (Samurai Movie) (Yûdai Yamaguchi, director of "Battlefield Baseball")
K is for Klutz (Anders Morgenthaler)
L is for Libido (Timo Tjahjanto)
M is for Miscarriage (Ti West, director of "The House of the Devil" and "The Innkeepers")
N is for Nuptials (Banjong Pisanthanakun, director of the original Thai horror "Shutter")
O is for Orgasm (Bruno Forzani & Héléne Cattet)
P is for Pressure (Simon Rumley)
Q is for Quack (Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett)
R is for Removed (Srdjan Spasojevic, director of a controversial movie "A Serbian Film")
S is for Speed (Jake West, director of "Doghouse")
T is for Toilet (Lee Hardcastle)
U is for Unearthed (Ben Wheatley, director of "Kill List" and "Sightseers")
V is for Vagitus (The Cry of a Newborn Baby) (Kaare Andrews)
W is for WTF! (Jon Schnepp)
X is for XXL (Xavier Gens, director of "Frontier(s)" "Hitman" and "The Divide")
Y is for Youngbuck (Jason Eisener, director of "Hobo with a Shotgun")
Z is for Zetsumetsu (Extinction) (Yoshihiro Nishimura, director of "Tokyo Gore Police")
Give it a try if you are interested in the names listed above. The anthology itself, overlong and inconsistent, is really a mixed bag. You will enjoy some segments while being not much impressed with the rest of the film.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2014
Twenty Six Shorts,
Twenty Six Directors were each assigned a letter of the alphabet. Each based their short film on a word beginning with their assigned letter. Each short involves death in some way. Some of the shorts are disturbing, some are darkly hilarious, some will put your stomach to the test. All of them are creative. I won't go into detail regarding the specific shorts, but a lot of them go places I'd never been before. It's two hours and ten minutes of adrenaline rush. If you're a fan of innovative horror, then you'll like it. If you prefer more conventional stuff then you might be a little lost with this one. As always, it's up to you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2014
Just weird. Plain weird. I like weird and over the top. I also like how some of them want just a complete gore fest. I think a and l were probably my favorites. I didn't like f too much. It reminded me of Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead and that movie was throw up worthy. Q and w make fun of themselves, while z is the perfect finale.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2014
Amusing little filmettes, interesting concept.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
Most horror anthologies offer somewhere between three-to-five segments delivering on the promise of about half of them. The ABCs of Death is comprised of no fewer than 26 short films lasting a whopping 130 minutes. On that basis alone, the rate of return is better even if the lowest of the lows are outshone by even the worst schlock Amicus turned out in the seventies. Even more compelling though is the construction of the film; 26 directors from around the world were assigned a letter of the alphabet and offered the chance to create a short film about death with no limits on content. This is graphic, no-holds-barred stuff that should be avoided by anyone with distaste for same but for adventurous viewers it will be must-see. As can be imagined, the possibilities for violence and gore are endless here, as are the possibilites for tastelessness, cultural insensitivity and gonzo weirdness. On that basis, The ABCs of Death does not disappoint.
When it works, it borders on amazing. The film opens with a nifty gross title sequence featuring a flood of dark, red blood across the floor of a playroom on which sits a series of alphabet blocks. Shorts play first followed by the title of the short which invariably contains a letter of the alphabet followed by method of death. For example, the first short, directed by Nacho Vigalando is titled, "A Is For Apocalypse" but that title is only revealed after the short has played. This novel approach allows viewers to guess at exactly what the title will be given the letter of the alphabet currently in question and the mayhem they expect. This proves to be a more-or-less solid way to keep viewer interest and spring last minute ironies or sight gags.
Standouts include the slow-motion savagery of "D is for Dogfight" by Marcel Sarmiento, which recasts a man-on-dog boxing/fight to the death as a tale of comrades at arms. This short is extremely visually striking and not to be missed. In the incredibly powerful "I is for Ingrown" by Jorge Michel Grau, the camera forces the viewers to watch a murder victim die of lethal injection as her voiceover explains her last moments. Grau has said of his piece that is symbolizes the indifference of the Mexican government toward the mass kidnappings that plague the area. Thus, horror fans, who often feel they have seen it all, suddenly feel compelled to care. Horror becomes something other than a feeling. Lastly, "Y is for Youngbuck" by Jason Eisener packs a huge punch as a rumination on empowerment against abuse and psychological damage caused by same.
Two other outstanding shots type as message-driven. The silent "P is for Pressure" directed by Simon Rumley showcases the soul-crushing desperation of a young mother's poverty while "X is for XXL" by Xavier Gens deals with the psychological weight of body image on young woman.
Then there are shorts that are guaranteed to offend someone. The ABCs of Death has no shortage of these. "F is For Fart" by Noboru Iguchi, "L id for Libido" diected by Timo Tjahjanto, and "Z is for Zetssumetsu" by Yoshihiro Nishimura all contain enough penises, body fluids, pustules, and, ahem, exotic sexuality to offend or at least disgust all but the most hardened extreme cinema lovers.
Worth pointing out is how incredibly confrontational horror anthologies have become in the last few years. Up until now, the best that the subgenre had to offer was still pretty conventional in terms of content. Adaptations of horror comics were gruesome but within severe limits. It was not until Asian Horror like 3 Extremes became available stateside that the shift began to make itself felt with force. Even then it took a while. The last few years have seen the release of V/H/S and V/H/S 2, both of which are transgressive in the extreme.
Luckily, it seems that many filmmakers here had more in mind than making their shorts as gross as possible. "H is for Hydro Electric Diffusion" by Thomas Cappelen Malling is a riotously weird and entertaining furry fantasy involving a World War II era GI Dogface and a Nazi stripper locked in a battle to the death. "J is for Jidai-Geki" by Yudai Yamaguchi is about a samurai who cannot keep his giggles under control. Perhaps the silliest short is "Q is for Quack" by Adam Wingard in which the director bemoans being stuck with the letter Q and decides to execute a real live duck on film.
The ABCs of Death is for anyone who loves horror since it is easy to skip through segments that are not to taste. Any viewer should be prepared to laugh pretty hard; feel tense; get grossed out like they would at any halfway decent horror film. But that same viewer now has a chance to find out about some of the best directors working in horror today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2015
Horror fan here and although this does not fit my horror needs, it is beautiful in it's own special way. Many contrasts amid the shorts that come together devinely to deliver an A-Z of horrors in the most artful of ways.