The ABCs of Death 2 (2014) | The grim reaper returns for a second helping

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)2012’s The ABCs of Death gave genre film-makers the chance to come up with a short film based on a letter of the alphabet with ‘death’ being the primary theme. The results were shocking, funny and at times bewildering (check them out here).

This second helping is just as gloriously grotesque as the first offering, and features some real standout directing and writer talent, including entries from the directors of American Mary, Big Bad Wolves and Room 237.

They may not all be too everyone’s taste, but they’ll certainly knock you for six with their warped ingenuity and imagnations. And if you are a fan of the franchise, then ABCs of Death 3: Teach Harder will be out next year.

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

Here’s my colour-coded review of each morsel:
Purple (One to Watch) \ Green (Just OK) \ Orange (To be Avoided)

A is for Amateur (EL Katz)
A hit man’s meticulously planned hit doesn’t go quite as planned.
• Looks like a slick arty commercial ad.

B is for Badger (Julian Barratt)
A wildlife documentary goes awry when the team encounters a giant badger.
• Alan Partridge meets Monty Python.

C is for Capital Punishment (Julian Gilbey)
A man is violently beheaded for a crime he didn’t commit.
• Very disturbing, very gruesome, with some social commentary thrown in.

D is for Deloused (Robert Morgan)
A large bug helps an executed man get revenge on his killers.
• Twisted and warped to the extreme. Even the director of this stop-motion animation admits he doesn’t know what its about, but it works in a deliriously deranged way. (WATCH IT BELOW)

E is for Equilibrium (Alejandro Brugués)
Two castaways have their friendship tested when a beautiful woman washes ashore.
• Silly slapstick. Imagine the 118 118 mates in a Fosters beer commercial.

F is for Falling (Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado)
An Israeli female paratrooper is caught in a tree by her parachute and is found by an Arab boy.
• Gender, race and religion all wrapped up in one highly political, cleverly written parcel. In Arabic and Hebrew. Terrific!

G is for Grandad (directed by Jim Hosking)
A young man discovers his grandfather has been sleeping under his bed.
• Weird Freudian nightmare styled like a 1970s sex comedy.

H is for Head Games (Bill Plympton)
A man and woman kiss, which turns into a surreal power struggle.
• Excellent line animation with vampiric undertones.

I is for Invincible (Erik Matti)
A family tries to kill the matriarch for her inheritance.
• It’s Peter Jackson’s Braindead – Philippines style. Great sfx! BBQ momma anyone?

J is for Jesus (Dennison Ramalho)
A father has his son violently martyred for being a homosexual.
• Satan, stigmata and the Spanish Inquisition all come to play in this extremely gory entry. This really disturbed me as it works on so many levels.

K is for Knell (Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper)
A woman experiences the effects of a black liquid that turns people into killers.
Rear Window meets Liquid Sky and 2001 in this visually arresting silent.

L is for Legacy (Lancelot Odawa Imasuen)
A ritual sacrifice goes horribly wrong causing a supernatural beast to take revenge.
• There’s more than meets the eye in this scary tale about sorcery in an African village.

M is for Masticate (Robert Boocheck)
An overweight man in piss-stained underpants runs down a street in slo-mo, eats someone’s ear, and is shot by police.
• Why would bath salts turn someone into a cannibal? And what’s with the 1960s track? Blue Sunshine this is not.

N is for Nexus (Larry Fessenden)
A man dressed as Karloff’s Frankenstein hurries to meet his girlfriend on Halloween, but tragedy awaits on the New York street where they are suppose to meet.
• Very visual and very well executed. Classy stuff, despite the predictable scenario.

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

O is for Ochlocracy (mob rule) (Hajime Ohata)
A courtroom full of zombies sentences a woman to death.
• This Japanese entry is a standout, addressing zombie rights and parental responsibilities in a very inventive way.

P is for P-P-P-P SCARY! (Todd Rohal)
Three stuttering prisoners encounter a strange man and a baby in a monochrome universe.
• The Three Stooges meet Scooby Doo in a hall of mirrors. Filled with childish humour, I give this a ‘fail’.

Q is for Questionnaire (Rodney Ascher)
A man takes an intelligence test, juxtaposed with footage of the man’s brain being transferred to a gorilla.
• Diagnostics and vivisection intertwine in this disturbing oddity that features some really cool music.

R is for Roulette (Marven Kren)
Two men and a woman play Russian roulette while hiding in a basement.
• This black and white German entry is predictable and dull. The last shot is a winner, though. But what does it mean? I felt like there was another story begging to be told.

S is for Split (Juan Martinez Moreno)
A woman is attacked in her home while on the phone with her husband.
• This home invasion thriller smacks of Argento and De Palma, and I certainly didn’t see the sting in this tale coming.

T is for Torture Porn (directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska)
A woman (Tristan Risk) is treated misogynistically at an audition by the producer and crew, but when asked to strip, reveals tentacles where her vagina should be.
• The Soska twins do what they do best and get their cinematic revenge on more woman hating bastards… you go girls!

U is for Utopia (Vincenzo Natali)
An unattractive man is singled out in a mall full of seemingly perfect people and publicly executed.
• This sci-fi short equates vanity culture with Hitler’s final solution, complete with a mobile incinerator designed like a futuristic iron maiden. Frighteningly predicative.

V is for Vacation (Jerome Sable)
Following a drug-fuelled night with two Thai prostitutes, two mates get their comeuppance during a Skype call back home.
• Sick, sleazy and violent. A terrifying comment on today’s society. Have we really been reduced to uncaring, inhuman cretins?

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

W is for Wish (Steven Kostanski)
Two kids wish themselves into a fantasy world, only to be violently taken prisoner by the villain. Beware what you wish for!
• Flash Gordon meets Barbarella and He-Man in a dark fantasy adventure that’s hugely imaginative and features some wicked sfx.

X is for Xylophone (Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo)
A babysitter (Béatrice Dalle) is emotionally affected by a child’s xylophone playing.
• The horror! The horror! The hideous, gruesome ending is really really nasty. You’ll never leave your kids alone after seeing this one.

Y is for Youth (Soichi Umezawa)
A self-harming girl fantasises about the increasingly violent deaths of her abusive family.
• Oozing pustules, throbbing penises and man-eating burgers all feature in this gory comic offering that can only have been made in Japan.

Z is for Zygote (Chris Nash)
A pregnant woman has been staving off birth for 13 years and living with a 13-year-old inside her stomach, while waiting for her husband to return.
• It might come last, but this contemporary slice of American Gothic about a woman with abandonment issues gets a first in my book. Lynch and Cronenberg eat your hearts out. This one’s a stomach churner… literally!

If you wait for the post-credits scene, you’ll catch Human Centipede II star Laurence R Harvey jacking off to the Soska twins ‘T’ segment…. Eeek!!!!

The ABCs of Death is out on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from Monster Pictures


D is for Deloused by Robert Morgan


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on March 22, 2015, in Horror, Might See, Might See, Might See, Might-See, Sci-Fi, Survival Thriller, Thriller, World Cinema and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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