Thursday, June 20, 2013

The ABC's of Death (2012)

26 Directors were chosen from all over the world and each given a letter of the alphabet. They were given complete artistic freedom and were only tasked with coming up with a word that started with their given letter, and a five-minute short film depicting their idea. This is the result.

Ready to learn your ABC's...?

A is for...

The movie begins with a man sitting on a bed, eating a piece of bread and looking out of his window. We hear a crash in the other room, when suddenly a woman walks into the man's bedroom wielding a butcher knife. In a surprisingly quiet scene, the woman approaches the man's bed and begins slashing away in the air, aimlessly, and the man is able to push her away. She regains her stance and again slashes away with no real aim, however this time, she manages to cut his hand halfway down, leaving two fingers dangling. With his other hand, the man pushes her arm, but she manages to stick the knife into the side of his neck, leaving the man covered in blood, but still not dead. The woman leaves the room and returns with a hot frying pan. She lunges as she throws the hot grease and french fries on the man's face. He screams as his face boils and turns red, but she's not finished. She grasps the pan like a baseball bat and begins bludgeoning him in the head repeatedly. After the first few hits, the man stops wincing, presumably because by this point he has no feeling left, and he just sits and watches the woman beat his head in with a look of expression like "I wonder why she's doing this". Eventually, she tires out and sits on the bed next to the french fried bloody mess that is her husband. She tells him that he wasn't supposed to be alive, and that she had been poisoning him for two months so he wouldn't have to experience this. All the while, we hear cars crashing outside, and the woman keeps saying they've run out of time. A light shines through the window and eventually fades to red.

A is for Apocalypse

Now, I knew going in that this was mostly going to be independently made, but I have to say, this was a strong opener for this movie. It really gets you excited to see which direction each director took the rest of the letters of the alphabet. It's not necessarily scary, but it does convey the sense of horror one might find in a zombie/apocalypse/end of the world movie. It's intense, in your face, and leaves you guessing until the eventual revelation at the end.

B is for...

A young girl, probably 8 or 9, walks into her living room and sees her aunt and uncle getting hot and heavy on the couch. She interrupts and says she can't sleep. Her uncle takes her back to her room and tells her if she doesn't fall asleep, the abominable snowman will kill her. Her aunt walks in and says that's not scary enough. She leans down and tells her niece that bigfoot used to eat the hearts of children, but in 1958 the government created a truce and now bigfoot only walks around at night to eat the hearts of children who don't fall asleep before 8pm. Now completely terrified, the young girl shakes under her blanket, while her aunt and uncle have sex pressed against the living room window. A man is seen outside the apartment looking up at them from the street below. The uncle sees the man and assumes he is the trash collector, so he goes to the door with his trash, just in time for the strange man to cut out his heart. The aunt has little time before her heart is also cut out - with a pizza slicer. The strange man walks around the house and eventually leaves, while the little girl tries to count herself to sleep.

B is for Bigfoot

I've gotta say I was really disappointed with B. Considering how strong of an open they had with A, I was really looking forward to the rest. After I watched this, I knew this was going to be only one of many red flags. Come on, a pizza slicer? The dude didn't even look like bigfoot. He was just a Mexican guy with cataracts.

C is for...

A man wakes up in his yard and sees a pool of blood. He hears his wife call him, so he goes inside. Next thing we see is him wake up and walk into the living room because he thought he heard a noise. The next day, he hears his wife outside so he walks into the yard. He sees a black hole behind some shrubs, so he approaches it, eventually getting sucked in. Next thing we see is him waking up in the yard again, this time in the middle of the night. He walks back into his house and sees himself lying in bed. He freaks out and hides behind the couch in the living room, just when the other "him" walks into the living room because he thought he heard something (you can see where this is going). The next day, he waits outside for the other "him" to walk near the bushes, at which point he grabs some barbed wire and chokes himself out. He hides the body and gets sucked into the black hole again. The next day, he wakes up and sees a pool of blood in the yard.

C is for Cycle

Wow. This one just flat out sucked. It wasn't scary. It wasn't clever. Anyone with half a brain could figure out what was going on. When I was watching the scene where he chokes himself out, I was literally saying "C is for clone? C is for choke? C is for Clone-Choke?!" Oh well. It's only five minutes so you don't have to endure it for long.

D is for...

An old man is seen wrapping his knuckles with tape in an abandoned warehouse. There are posters for missing dogs hanging all around. The entire thing is shot in slow-motion and I don't remember any actual dialogue. He walks into a ring, surrounded by tattooed, smoking fans. On the other side of the ring, we see a fat guy... and his dog. For the next few minutes, we watch as the dog takes bite after bite out of the old man, while the old man bites back and throws punch after punch. Eventually, the old man ends up on his back with the dog's mouth wrapped around his throat. The old man whispers "Buddy", and the dog releases him. The old man stands up and we see a dog collar around his neck with the name "Buddy" on it, and then a flyer for a missing dog named "Buddy" behind him. The old man and his dog stand side by side and face the fat guy at the other side of the ring. Half-eaten, the fat guy stumbles out of the warehouse, with the old man and his dog behind him. The old man grasps a fire extinguisher and slams it on the fat man's head.

D is for Dogfight

Damn! This one really got my blood pumping. I mean wow, what an epic short movie. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't horror by any means, and I doubt anyone will lose sleep over it, but no one can deny how awesome it was to watch. At first, I was uncomfortable watching the dog get hit over and over, not knowing where the movie was going, but the underlying message at the end more than made up for that.

E is for...

A man is seen sitting at his computer when he notices a spider crawling on the wall next to him. He grabs a magazine and swats at it, but misses. The spider jumps to his neck and bites him. The next few minutes depict the man going through his regular routine during the week - rejecting women, eating dinner, masturbating to internet pornography - only every day he wakes up with more bites all over his face. Finally, the man goes to the bathroom and sees the spider once again. This time, he manages to squash him. While having a laugh and celebrating, the man looks in the mirror and sees thousands of baby spiders explode out of his ears and face.

E is for Exterminate

This one isn't as bad as it sounds. It's more awkward than anything. At one point, for no reason, we overhear a conversation he's having with his girlfriend where she can't understand why he won't let her come over. She yells "Is this because I put my finger inside you?!" Between that and having to watch him go crazy on himself in front of the computer, it's almost like the director was laughing at himself when making this short film. It's pointless, dumb, and doesn't deserve to follow the epic short that was "D".

F is for...

The first of many weird Asian directors begins with a Japanese school girl saying she doesn't believe God exists. Instead, she chooses to worship her teacher. As soon as I saw this, I thought for sure "F" was going to be "False Prophet", but I was oh so wrong. She goes off on a weird tangent about farting and her obsessive complex with farting and her teacher. Before too long, an earthquake happens and what looks like a poisonous gas covers the sky, killing everyone. I then thought F would stand for "Fumigate", but again, I was wrong. The schoolgirl runs off with her teacher, hiding in some building, when she proclaims she would rather die by the smell of her teacher. Her teacher seems flattered, and the inevitable happens. She bends over, and the schoolgirl is overcome by the fart of her teacher. I don't know what she ate, but it lasts for the remainder of the short film. When it's over, the girl is sucked up into her teacher's ass, and somehow so is the teacher, where they embrace each other and fart.

F is for Fart

Yeah. That just happened.

G is for...

From a first-person perspective, we see a man grab a bag of bricks and drive to a beach. He gets out and grabs the bag and a surfboard and makes his way to the middle of the ocean. He falls over and sinks to the bottom, after which his body floats to the top.

G is for Gravity

A couple of things I don't like about this one. First, why go through so much effort to commit suicide? Aren't there easier and less strenuous ways? And if it was an accident, why did his body float to the top? Wouldn't the bricks have kept him underwater? Wasn't that the point of the bricks? I'm lost on this one, but again, it goes by quick so just think of it what you will.

H is for...

A man who looks like he's in a dog suit is at a strip club where he's watching a woman in what looks like a cat or a fox suit strip on stage. It gets kind of "The Mask"-esque when his eyeballs pop out of his head and stretch up to the stripper. He inches closer and closer until she reveals herself to be a Nazi and two remote-controlled robots on wheels roll under him and hit him in the testicles. His balls shoot up and out of his mouth, when the stripper quickly grabs them and wraps them around some machine. They get into a fight and the stripper winds up falling into a tank in the middle of the stage. She starts to fall apart and gets electrocuted before finally exploding.

H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion

Not even halfway through the letters and I was already beginning to lose hope with this movie.

I is for...

A man is seen sitting in his bathroom holding a syringe. The camera eventually pans to a bathtub, where we see a woman curled up, taped and tied. He stumbles over and injects her with whatever the hell is in that needle. She starts clawing away, violently, at her skin. Bleeding out, she leans over the tub and throws up before finally dying. The camera zooms to the wedding ring on her finger, then the wedding ring on the man's finger. Some dialogue is narrated during her death, and the short film ends.

I is for Ingrown

I've gone back and watched this one a few times, and I still don't know what's going on. It doesn't make any sense. That might seem heavy-handed after watching a dogman electrocute a catgirl, but at least I got the point. The man was fighting a Nazi. This was just college-league independent garbage trying to be deep.

J is for...

We see a Japanese man stressing out and making odd faces, while another Japanese man is over him, trying not to look at his face. The man sitting down starts blowing, and every time the man standing up looks at him, his face gets more and more over-expressed. At one point, his head is bigger than a basketball (I'm assuming to portray how hard he was blowing). Then, to the other extreme, he starts sucking in to the point that his eyeballs pop out of his head. When the camera zooms out, we see the man sitting down has stabbed himself in the stomach, explaining his facial expressions. The man standing up is holding a sword, presumably to execute the man sitting down. Eventually, he swings and chops the man's head off, watching it roll around, stuck on a silly face he made. The executioner fails at holding back his laughter.

J is for Jidai-geki (Japanese samurai movie)

I don't live in Japan. I've never seen the movie this is referencing. I don't watch horror movies for slap-stick humor. Why is this in my horror movie?

K is for...

This one is entirely a hand-drawn cartoon. A woman is in the bathroom and flushes the toilet. She gets up and goes to the sink when she hears a noise that sounds like a dog's squeaky toy. She walks over to the toilet and sees a piece of pooh floating in it. A man starts pounding on the bathroom door, and the woman starts to panic. She stuffs a bunch of toilet paper in the toilet and flushes it, which only makes the toilet overflow. With the pooh now on the floor, she does everything she can to get it back into the toilet. She blows it across the floor with her mouth, she stabs it with her heel, she even uses her bra as a sling shot to fling it back into the toilet. She looks around, but doesn't see it anywhere. She gets down on her hands and knees and that's when we see the pooh is stuck to the ceiling. While she is bent over, the pooh falls down and goes right back into her ass, shooting out of her mouth. Her dead body falls over into a pool of blood.

K is for Klutz

Overlooking the fact that the pooh made a squeaky toy sound the whole time, I actually liked this one. I'm kidding. This short film is shit. Literally.

L is for...

A man is seen strapped to a chair, surrounded by people in suits and masks. Another man is seen next to him, also strapped to a chair. A naked woman walks onto the stage, and each man begins to violently masturbate. When one man finished, a woman who is judging the contest walked over to the loser's chair and pressed a button, after which a sharp pole shot up the man's ass and out of his head. Round 2. A different man is placed in the chair and another woman walks on the stage. The men again begin to masturbate and the loser again gets impaled. The contest continues until we see a paraplegic amputee woman rolled onto the stage. She takes off her false leg and begins to use it as a sex toy, expressionless. The man in the chair looks horrified and glances at the woman judging the contest. She opens her legs and we see a human eye in between them. The man stares at the eye and is able to finish, after which the loser gets impaled. Final Round. A small boy is tied to a bed, and a large man starts to undress. The opponent to the man in the chair is able to finish, while the man in the chair can only summon the strength to vomit on himself. He wakes up, now tied to a bed himself, with a woman sitting on top of him. It looks as though he is enjoying himself, then she pulls out a chainsaw and starts swinging away at him while two men watch from the chairs they are strapped to.

L is for Libido

I'm sorry you had to read that, but I had to watch it. After seeing this short film I was ready for the movie to be over, but no. Not even halfway done yet. I would also like to apologize in advance for the next letter.

M is for...

A woman stands up after using the toilet and stares at it, perplexed. She flushes and flushes, but nothing happens. She runs upstairs and grabs a plunger, then runs back down the stairs as her heels click on the hardwood floor. When she makes it back to the bathroom, she looks down into the toilet and looks even more confused. The camera cuts to a bloody toilet, then zooms in on a dead fetus.

M is for Miscarriage

Again, sorry for the imagery, but only these descriptions can invoke the kind of feeling that I felt when watching them. It's disturbing. It's terrible. It is not a horror film. This was a cheap cop-out by a lazy director who thought being offensive was the same thing as being scary. It sounds like someone has been taking lessons from Rob Zombie.

N is for...

A man is standing in the kitchen while his girlfriend makes dinner. He shows her his new parrot, but she insults him and his filthy bird. He shows her the new tricks he taught it, and the bird says how beautiful his girlfriend is. The man opens a box and the parrot takes an engagement ring from it, walking it over to his girlfriend. She says she will marry him, but is interrupted when the parrot starts to repeat the noises he heard when the man was cheating on his girlfriend. Outraged, she kills her boyfriend.

N is for Nuptials

This light-hearted skit was a welcome comfort after the mental beating I took from the previous two. I know, it was cheesy, but I don't care.

O is for...

The camera cuts away to bubbles and a woman's body wrapped in leather. You hear her breathing and moaning for the duration of the short film, while the background light continuously changes in color. Cigarettes are shown popping the bubbles and being pushed through the woman's belly-button.

O is for Orgasm

What the hell?! I didn't realize this was show-and-tell for every artsy fartsy director who thinks he's deep and intuitive. Where is the horror in this? Someone please tell me.

P is for...

A woman is seen walking around the streets while her three children sit at home. Their junky father breaks in and steals all of their savings, leaving the children crying. When their prostitute mother returns home, she is traumatized because she was saving for a bicycle for her daughter. Later that night, she is out at a club and a man is seen walking up to every hooker he can find, but they all turn him down. He walks up to the mother of the three kids and she also turns him down. Some segways are shown depicting the mother going through a moral battle over the bicycle and she eventually calls the man from the club. She meets him at a warehouse and he shows her his small crate where we see a kitten and a gerbil and a variety of small, furry critters. She laces up her ten-inch hells, places the kitten on the ground, and stomps away as the man records with his camera. Later, we see the mother at the playground where her daughter circles her with a brand new bicycle.

P is for Pressure

My God. Really? THAT'S what you came up with for P? I'm thankful this director was limited to only one movie. How is stomping small animals even a movie concept? Why wasn't he immediately shut down after proposing that plot idea?

Q is for...

Two men are seen complaining over getting the letter Q. In what is supposed to be a real-life twist on the short film, the directors decide to put a duck in a crate and shoot it in the middle of the desert. They each stumble and end up shooting each other, while the man holding the boom mic runs off. The camera zooms in on the duck.

Q is for Quack

Lazy. Pure and utter laziness. They had no idea what to do and chose to make the film about them making the film.

R is for...

A man is seen in a hospital, where surgeons are removing pieces of his skin and dropping liquid on it to make little film reels. His skin literally transforms into little film reels. Later, we see him in a wheel chair in a cage on the red carpet as people rush him and grab at him. Later, he sneaks out of the hospital bed and removes his own skin, turning it into another film reel. He then removes more skin that turns into a single bullet, which he puts into his revolver. He walks into the hallway, and kills person after person, making his way to the front door, where he shoots what I'm assuming is his agent or manager. After getting outside, he comes upon a train station, and manages to push one of the train cars a short distance. The man then collapses to the ground, dead. The camera zooms out as it starts to rain, then the rain turns into blood.

R is for Removed

Obviously a message about people asking too much from celebrities. Pure message. No horror.

S is for...

A woman is seen taking another woman out of a shed at gunpoint, where a man that looks like Spawn follows her. She turns around and blasts him with a flamethrower. They have words, and the two women get into the car, speeding off. They drive as fast as their car will go, but the weird man still catches up. They manage to get away, but run out of gas. The man gets out of the car and says no one has given him that much of a fight before. The handcuffed woman tries to take her place, but the man says he wants the driver instead. The woman is then seen in a rundown room standing up, then collapsing. The other woman tries to wake her up, but she is dead. She grabs a baggie from the bra of the dead woman, cooks the drugs, and injects it into her arm.

S is for Speed

Say no to drugs. We've gone from complete chaos to completely disturbing and now to completely obvious messages. No wonder there are so many bad horror movies out there.

T is for...

Shot entirely in clay-mation, a little boy is shown being afraid to use the toilet. His parents force him to the bathroom, where the boy hops on top of the toilet. Suddenly, a green liquid shoots up. The boy races to the other side of the bathroom, where he sees the toilet grow eyes and transform into a toilet monster, biting off half of his mother's face. She grasps at her son, face half gone and jawless, but he only cries in fear. His father is then eaten by the toilet, when suddenly the boy wakes up. Realizing it was only a dream, he walks down the hallway and into the bathroom, hopping up on the toilet. His parents watch from the hall, proud of their son. A screw breaks loose on the shelf above the toilet and the boy jumps, falling over and landing with his face under the toilet seat. His father watches from the bathroom door, laughing, when the shelf falls off the wall and lands on the boy's head, crushing it. The camera cuts to the training toilet sitting on top of the garbage just taken out by the parents.

T is for Toilet

Yep. Killer toilets. That's what we've come to. We started off with the awesome apocalypse and went through crazy Asian directors and messages to now killer toilets. Actually, it seems like a lot of them are based around toilets now that I think about it... Is that the highest form of inspiration these guys can turn to? I

U is for...

Another one shot in a first-person perspective, we see a bunch of villagers pull someone from a grave and begin to punch them, throwing Holy water and shooting flaming arrows. The person breaks free, and runs into the woods. However, the villagers are too strong and too high in number and inevitably capture him, stabbing him with a wooden stake and removing his head, saying that night would never be known by their children.

U is for Unearthed

A first-person killing of a vampire. Okay, that's original, I'll give it that. But there wasn't really a twist considering it wasn't hard to decipher who the man was they were trying to kill. It's more like, okay here's a vampire and these guys kill him, the end. Not really much of a rollercoaster ride there.

V is for...

Set in the distant future, a policewoman is seen hunting down a family in a warehouse accompanied by her robot companion. Apparently, the family broke the law by having a baby (which is now outlawed by the government, sound familiar?) and it's the policewoman's job to arrest them. When she finds the family, the mother of the baby uses her Jedi knight powers and says "This is not the baby you're looking for" (*Cough, cough* rip-off!). The policewoman lets the family go, but the robot is not convinced. Eyes glowing red, the robot grabs the baby and sticks it into his rotating blades on his chest, decapitating it and sending body parts flying. It's not over yet, however, as the baby's body runs around and starts killing all of the policemen. The mother of the baby tells the policewoman to protect the prophet baby, and the camera cuts to the baby's face. His eyes start to glow, and the leader of the police strains until his head finally explodes.

V is for Vagitus (the cry of a newborn baby)

First off, I never would have guessed "vagitus". Secondly, what the hell did I just watch? A baby got ripped apart and then started killing everyone. Welcome to the mind of a 21st century independent horror director. I guess it was entertaining, and the acting wasn't awful... it was just... too weird. Too weird for a horror movie. Sci-fi? Maybe.

W is for...

Two guys complain about getting the letter W for their movie, sound vaguely familiar? (*Ahem* "Q") The whole short film is nothing but seizure-inducing flashing lights and violent, gory scenes of blood and guts and mayhem all shot in cartoon and computer-generated graphics while untranslatable music and noise clash together in a chaotic mixture of random brutality.

W is for WTF?!

What did I just watch? Come on, guys. You can't come up with one movie idea from W? Just use the former President. Boom. There's your movie idea, and it took less than two minutes to come up with. It's all right, because X blows them out of the water, and they have a much, much harder letter.

X is for...

An obese woman is seen getting on a train where a man complains about having to sit next to her. She walks home and is harassed by passers-by about her weight. When she finally gets home, she flips on the television where a woman is talking about the importance of being fit and skinny. In a fit, the woman rushes to the fridge and eats freaking everything inside of it. I mean everything. She then takes a knife and goes to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, she begins to slice away pieces of her stomach, and then her cheeks, and then her thigh. She stabs herself in the leg, stumbling, and walks to the bathtub, grasping an electric meat carver. While the woman on television continues to talk about the importance of being beautiful, blood spatters all over the bathroom and curtains as the woman cuts away piece after piece of her flesh. Finally, the woman emerges from the tub, skinned all the way down to her muscle, and admires herself in the mirror. She poses, briefly, and collapses on the floor, dead.

X is for XXL

Wow. This one goes up there with the Dogfight short film in my opinion. I know, it has an underlying message, but for them to put so much effort into such a short amount of time with a difficult letter like "X" just makes the director's talent shine that much brighter above the other lazy directors with much simpler letters. Kudos to you.

Y is for...

Shot mostly in slow-motion, an old man is seen walking around an elementary school during a basketball game. It looks as though he is the janitor, but the scene keeps changing to him in the woods with one of the ball players, teaching him how to hunt deer. The old man glares in admiration of the young boys, until finally the game ends. Throughout the short film, the old man keeps thinking he sees a deer inside the school, but we are led to believe it is all in his head. The old man approaches the bench the boys were sitting at and begins to lick the sweat from it. He looks up and sees a boy standing over him, the boy he taught to hunt, and the scene changes to the man back in the woods with his pants dropped in front of the boy. Back to the school, the boy lifts the head of the deer and stabs the man in the eyes, pulling up, and ripping off his head. The boy approaches the severed head, and drops his pants.

Y is for Young Buck

I don't know why, but the whole thing reminded me of a dark and twisted Manchester Orchestra music video. Weird. Definitely not what I was looking for in a horror movie, but at this point I was just thankful the directors were actually trying... Or so I thought...

Z is for...

In what looks like a Japanese game show, (yes, we're back to the weird Asian directors), three nude men are forced at gunpoint to fold sushi. The men are then shot in the head by a woman wearing a Nazi hat, when the logo on her hat changes to a cross. A topless girl skips across the stage, meanwhile a woman in a sewer is attacked by a corpse covered in rice. The Nazi woman from earlier attacks the topless skipper with a four-foot rubber penis attached to her hip. All the while, a man in a wheelchair talks about how safe Japanese technology is. A blade shoots out of the rubber prosthetic and impales the topless skipper, shooting blood everywhere. Suddenly, a woman covered in flies attacks the Nazi woman, and they begin a nude ninja fight taken straight from a kung-fu movie. The woman then begins to shoot vegetables from her genitalia, that are diced by the Nazi woman's large prosthesis, and fall into a pot of boiling water. The prosthesis itself then gets diced and thrown into the water. Rice begins to erupt from the wound and falls into a separate pot. More nude people are forced in a line and begin to eat the odd concoction of food as the two fighting women start to kiss each other. A painting of two buildings and a plane are shown on a woman's breasts, and "3-11" is seen painted on a woman's ass as the men in the line hold the sushi next to their genitals. The man in the wheelchair says "We yellow people love tangerines!" and everyone shoots off screen as if they have rockets strapped to their feet. The scene is closed by the man in the wheelchair standing up, declaring his love for his emperor and shooting rice out of his... *ahem*...

Z is for Zetsumetsu (extinction)

It's over! Finally! And guess what? I'm not touching that last short film. I'm not even going to say two words about it. If you'd like, you are more than welcome to watch it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. As for me, I'm completely satisfied never knowing what the hell they were trying to do there.

In closing, I don't think I'm qualified enough to recommend or not recommend whatever this is to anyone. If you have a sick and twisted mentality and can find any entertainment or humor in these short abominations, I pray we never meet. The one time I watched this was enough for me. On a related note, I now have a blu-ray I'd like to sell if anyone is interested.

 3 out of 4

Some scenes are hard to sit through, but the films in which the directors put forth effort more than make up for them.

Cheers and goodnight.

P.S. - More ABC's of Death is coming in 2014. You've been warned.

The ABCs of Death (2012) on IMDb

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