I’m not one to be squeamish about movies. Matter of fact, I actually seek out films that are touted to be the most gruesome/shocking/disturbing things to ever be put on the silver screen.
Last week, I met my match.
I was sold on The ABCs of Death after being told it was a collection of 26 different short films by 26 up-and-coming directors around the world. Each were given a letter of the alphabet with no guidelines and told to create a short based on a that letter and a way to die – a kind of twist on Spike TV’s 1,000 Ways to Die series, if you will. Pretty intriguing concept, right? While some of the chapters excelled in creativity, others were bland, and one in particular was something that I wish I could delete from my mind permanently.
High marks go to C is for Cycle in which a man kills himself in a loop, D is for Dogfight that focuses on a dog and his owner getting their revenge, S is for Speed which tells a tale of both the drug and the rate of movement, U is for Unearthed presented from the point of view of a vampire, and X is for XXL that depicts the lengths to which a woman will go to be beautiful. While none of them were brilliant, they each presented imaginative scenarios and captivating, gritty visuals.
A few directors get an A for effort with shorts that were incredibly artistic, but ultimately left me wondering what the flip I just watched. Take, for instance, H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion which opens with what Wikipedia describes as “a male dog with a human body dressed as a British pilot” and a female fox that, as she strips, reveals a Nazi swastika band on her arm. I for Ingrown had all the makings of something special with visuals of a husband presumably injecting his wife with something that made her itch and eventually die, but never clearly explained what “ingrown” means.
Then there is F is for Fart, K is for Klutz and T is for Toilet which feature fatal flatulence, excrement and well, a claymation toilet, respectively. Real mature, guys.
However, the chapter that did me in was L for Libido. A week later it still bothers me enough that I don’t want to go into specifics, but it’s packed with graphic gore, masturbation and pedophilia. (If you want a more detailed recap, feel free to read the description in the link.) With all the sick, twisted movies I’ve seen, for whatever reason, this is the only one that I wish I would’ve got up and walked away from. I had to take a shower like Ace Ventura after he figures out the Finkle/Einhorn connection just to feel clean enough to sleep after viewing it. It’s disturbing to me that a mind that depraved exists.
I know if you’re someone like me, that sounds like a intriguing recommendation, but I assure you, it’s not. Skip it. Trust me.
Coming in second on the f*&%ed up scale is Z is for Zetsumetsu. I’m not sure where to begin… just don’t watch it. It’s an intelligent concept gone terribly wrong.
Overall The ABCs of Death could’ve been a lot of fun, but was too uneven to really even be considered good. I’m all for artistic freedom, but this movie presents a good case for why limitations are in place. Also, don’t even bother trying to guess what each letter stands for before it’s revealed. After G the directors begin trying too hard to be clever (V is for Vagitus, really?) which, I think, really subtracts some of the fun for viewers.
You won’t ever see me saying this again, but here’s hoping this concept gets picked up by a bigger budget producer who can execute it correctly.