Ready for the second round of ABCs of death? Twenty-six new directors sign, seal, and deliver twenty-six new stories about death and breathe a whole new life into this highly anticipated sequel to the highly popular 2012 anthology. The ABCs of Death 2 attempts to be callous, sick, and offers up more blood and gore than it’s predecessor while the ABCs are very elementary, its the death part that makes then alphabet more complicated.
When one glances the cover and see thats familiar figure of the death eating Grim Reaper holding a story book, one who knew nothing about the anthology would consider The ABCs of the Death to be strictly a horror genre, short story telling series in the same ballpark as “Creepshow,” which ironically enough has a similar, yet cartoony, ghastly Grim Reaper on it’s sophomore sequel DVD cover. That assumption is significantly mistaken. The Grim Reaper is all about the death in every sense of the way and “The ABCs of Death” productions resemble more of the controversial and ultra-violent “Faces of Death” series. If you scour the internet, or just have the entire collection, many of the VHS and DVD editions have a similar Grim Reaper, but again more cartoonish. The content though is all about death gathering home recordings of unspeakable acts of death from suicide, murders, and to accidentals just to name a few.
Yes, there are fantastic horror elements to “The ABCs of the Death” as well making this hybrid of an anthology that more entertaining, but the sequel relies a lot on the human element. The nature of man is cruel and vicious and most of the 26 films are based on this true to form fact. For example, “C is for Capital Punishment” by director Julian Barratt tells the story of a lynch mob trying to justify the disappearance of a village girl, Aharon Keshales “F is for Falling” involves the tautness of a rifle-toting Palestinian boy who discovers a Israeli fighter dangling from her parachute chords stuck in a tree, or Vincenzio Natali’s “U is for Utopia” in where a society made up of thin, good looking people living their lives while the ugly people are hunted down and burned alive.
What I also like about “The ABCs of Death” is the various culturally inspired films. There are directors from all over the glob spanning from Japan, England, France, Argentina and Nigeria just to name a few and all of who incorporate their own culture and style in the mixture. Some introduced comedy while others took a stylish-serious route and others just wanted to scare the pants off you. The couple animated shorts weren’t as rememberable as in the first anthology, but certain “D is for Deloused” by Robert Morgan will at least make you have underlining nightmares.
Some of the more memorable shorts stood out over all the rest. One in particular was Steven Kostanski’s “W is for Wish” which took a late 80’s to early 90’s take on a fantasy toy commercial where two children wished to be a part of and then actually went into the world where it was like nothing they expected. In fact, carnage and chaos (and awkwardly weird and fantastic) was the maelstrom these kids were thrusted into making their fantasy a real and deadly nightmare.
Magnolia Home Entertainment scores big with the sequel to “The ABCs of Death” and I’m sure the company won’t stop at just two. Expect more great films from lesser known directors and more blood and guts than ever. In the meantime, pick up your copy of “The ABCs of Death 2” on DVD or Blu-ray because you never know when you might keel over and die!
About damn time a way of learning your ABCs by the teaches of death! The ABCs of Death brings together 26 international directors to direct, at their own artistic freedom, their each short film segment. Each director was given a letter and were told to choose a word to title their work with and create a story around that word. The individual segments are not your typical horror thrillers about death and what I mean by that is that you don’t have a vampire segment, a slasher segment, etc. Death can come in any way, shape, or form and is certainly explored every single way in this fatal anthology.
I’d like to start off with my favorite segment which is entitled “D is for Dogfight” directed by Marcel Sarmiento, who you might remember from his direction work on Deadgirl and it’s been a little bit since that project! “D is for Dogfight” simply pits a man versus a vicious dog in an underground “fight club” style face-off. The short film is shot nearly without dialogue and the twist ending will leave you more with a sinister grin rather than a shock on your face. The man versus dog fight is excellent when done in slow motion with every dog punch and every bite to the arm or leg just as real as you would see on any animal attack video on RealTV.
The worst videos have to come from the Japanese, especially the one entitled “F is for Farts” directed by Noboru Iguchi. Iguchi did Machine Girl which is ultra-violet and just brutally stupid in a good way, but then Iguchi followed up later on with Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead and, well, yeah. By The ABCs of Death title alone, you can tell he hasn’t expanded his horizon’s much further. The whole episode, which lasts no more than four or five minutes, is about stinky, women farts. The comedy element I get, but the death part I do not and nor will I ever. Maybe I’m just not Japanese educated enough to learn the history behind Japan’s wackiness.
There are other really cool segments (Timo’s Tjahjanto’s “L is for Libido”) and other silly toilet humor death segments (Anders Morgenthaler’s “K is for Klutz”). This anthology is unique because you get a taste of everything, of every culture, of every opinion with no restraint and with no influence. Creativity is boundless and that is what is more outstanding here than most of the segments and you won’t get bored which is great! I can’t wait for The ABCs of Death 2 and the anticipation is killing me – wait – that should be in the sequel – “A is for Anticipation.”
The ABCs of Death is distributed by Magnolia Home Entertainment.