The ABC’s of Death Review

Monster Mary

ABC's of Death PosterI love a good Horror Anthology.   In fact it is one of my all time favourite types of  Horror movies.  Anthologies have been making a comeback lately with the success of V/H/S.  So, when I heard about The ABC’s of Death last summer, I was very excited to see it.  In fact I tried to get tickets for it at TIFF last summer but it was already sold out.  Along with the Lords of Salem and John Dies at the End, It was one of my most anticipated movies for the TIFF line up.

For those of you who don’t know what it is about, it consists of 26 short films by different directors.  Each director was given a letter and $5000 to make their short.   He or she had to come up with a word that describes the death depicted in their segment.  In theory that sounds like a great idea that any Horror fan would love.  26 unique death scenes all strung together by some of the best directors the genre has to offer.  Unfortunately that is also where the movie falls flat.  Because there is no theme or even any story line to tie them all together, it just comes across as a jumbled mess.  Even all the different styles of directing create too much unevenness throughout.

This movie proved something to me.  Gore alone is not what makes a movie good!  The story line and characters are really what matters most in a film to me.  I think it was an interesting concept but I hope it never is repeated again.  Instead give us well written anthologies with a good wrap around story to finish it off.

Now I am not saying there weren’t a few segments I thoroughly enjoyed.  There were a couple that really stood out for me.  The quality of the shorts vary from really good to really, really bad!  Here is a run down on the 26 segments…

  • A is for Apocalypse by Nacho Vigalondo-  About a couple facing the end of the world together.  One of the best segments in the film.
  • B is for Bigfoot by Adrian Garcia Bogliano- A couple teach their child to go to bed early.
  • C is for Cycle by Ernesto Diaz Espinoza- Didn’t make a whole of sense to me?
  • D is for Dogfight by Marcel Sarmiento- Entertaining and well done even without any dialog.
  • E is for Exterminate by Angela Bettis-  God how I hate spiders!  Made my skin crawl.
  • F is for Fart by Noburo Iguchi- Silly over the top Japanese dream sequence about farts.
  • G is for Gravity by Andrew Traucki- Made me a little sad actually.
  • H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion by Thomas Cappelen Malling- Funny and definitely weird!
  • I is for Ingrown by Jorge Michel Grau- Torture Porn
  • J is for Jidal-geki by Yudai Yamaguchi- Samurai Torture Porn?
  • K is for Klutz by Anders Morgenthaler- Animated and kind of cute.
  • L is for Libido by Timo Tjahjanto-  Pretty disturbing on many levels
  • M is for Miscarriage by Ti West- More toilet problems…seems to be a theme.
  • N is for Nuptials by Banjong Pisanthanakun- A cute story about a parrot and a couple getting engaged.
  • O is for Orgasm by Bruno Forzani-  Pretty Good.
  • P is for Pressure by Simon Rumley-  A woman and a small kitten.  Ok… this one just pissed me off.  WTF??!!
  • Q is for Quack by Adam Wingard-  Two guys and a duck.  Pretty funny turn of events.
  • R is for Removed by Srdjan Spasojevic- Maybe a metaphor for directors?
  • S is for Speed by Jake West-  Sci-Fi action with pretty girls and guns.  One of the better segments
  • T is for Toilet by Lee Hardcastle- Claymation and and toilet…need I say more
  • U is for Unearthed by Ben Wheatley- Shaky cam Found Footage involving Vampires.
  • V is for Vagitus by Kaare Andrews-  Sci-Fi action movie that was interesting.
  • W is for WTF? by Jon Schnepp- Funny psychadelic and definitely WTF?
  • X is for is XXL by Xavier Gens-  Actually one of my favourites of the film.   It has a political feminist statement that speaks to most women.
  • Y is for Youngbuck by Jason Eisener- Kinda feel sick after seeing that one.
  • Z is for Zetsumetsu by Yoshihiro Nishimura-  Just weird!  I don’t know what more to say!


So to sum up my thoughts on this film….  I would just skip this mess of an anthology and watch a classic one like Creep Show, Tales From the Darkside,  Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, or any of the Amicus ones from the 60s and 70s.  Take your pick, they are all good!

2.5 / 5 stars     


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      1. Rowdy Roddy February 17, 2013 at 4:15 am

        I think you’re take on film anthologies is rather naive. I’d say 90% of the wrap around segments are extraneous and easily discarded material. We enjoy them but its foolish to to think the emphasis is ever on the wrap around. They’re always contrived, no matter how well done. And so when something experimental like the ABCs happens in the horror field you should possibly embrace its ambition and enjoy it for what it attempts. It sounds like if things don’t go the way of your limited expecations you think it’s a failure. Perhaps the failure lies with the viewer and their limited perception..

        • DirtyGirl (@DirtyGirlReview) April 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          My expectations weren’t limited at all, just high. I love a good anthology. In fact, they are one of my favourite types of Horror Films and there are some really great ones and some really awful ones. Unfortunately ABCs of Death falls into latter category. It was experimental all right. An experiment that went horribly wrong. If you don’t care if the film has any kind of storyline or flow to it than you might enjoy it. In my humble opinion, it was just a jumbled mess. I am glad you enjoyed it, but I just wish I had those couple hours of my life back…

        • Ash April 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

          I second that.
          Good idea, poorly executed.

      2. Daniel February 17, 2013 at 11:29 pm

        I thought it was a really enjoyable and entertaining film. Perfect for hardcore horror fans. My favorites are D, L, O, P, Q, S, U, X, and Y. Clearly, the movie got way better from L down. But, all and all, I really loved it.

        • Herner Klenthur February 18, 2013 at 12:06 am

          Great comments. It seems that people either love or hate this show so far.

      3. Tiago Almeida February 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        I agree with Dirty Girl. It is not that is totally bad effort, but you know that feeling when a movie is beginning and you’re kinda of lost trying to follow the plot and getting used to the characters, and trying to figure what it is that you’re watching?
        It is that, but for 2 hours, and things will rush to a conclusion in seconds. I mean, that just doesn’t work for me. I couldn’t enjoy the experience at all, and some letters really stood out for how bad they are, like obviously the “F” one. I’m still trying to erase that out of my mind.

      4. Ash March 1, 2013 at 6:38 am

        Good detailed review DirtyGirl. We are in total agreement here. I think many other people will feel the disappointment too.