ByGhostface Girls, writer at
Welsh Women of Horror!
Ghostface Girls

This month our topic is Q is for Quack. Hayley (Hayley's Horror Reviews) will be arguing for the short and Caitlyn (scaredsheepless) will be arguing against it. After reading, we want your comments to determine who has won you over and we've also included the short for you to have your say too.


The ABC's of Death gave some well known genre directors the opportunity to devise a short film without any creative limitations, enabling them to make any film they desired. Each director was allocated a letter from the alphabet in order to do so, incorporating a set theme relating to the subject of Death.

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett's segment in the anthology, Q is for Quack incorporated a meta-narrative addressing the difficulty of the task of creating a quality short film worthy of a place in the ABC's of Death. What was inventive about this entry is that it breaks the fourth wall and provides an insight into how the creative process can be a struggle especially with such a limited time and a set theme to consider. Authenticity is brought in by featuring Wingard and Barrett themselves discussing possible concepts for their segment and coming up with the most out of the box ideas. They make attempts to establish what will make their film stand out above the others and cook up the crazy idea of featuring a real death on camera, exploring one of the greatest mysteries of filmmaking which eludes to the existence of snuff films. With dark subjects in place, Q is for Quack is actually very humorous with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Wingard and Barrett come to the conclusion that they should kill an animal as "no one cares about animals", apparently.

They are then seen in a desert area accompanied by a sound man and a white duck sat in a cage. Soon, events literally backfire on them after fumbling around with the prop gun, bringing in some irony relating to their previous discussion, the sound man runs away in fear while the duck doesn't even flinch.

In a film that features such an eclectic mix of short films, with some that include very dark concepts, Q is for Quack comes across as refreshing as its clear Wingard and Barrett are having fun with the idea and don't take themselves too seriously. Q is for Quack knows exactly what its doing, it's entertaining and self-aware with its commentary on independent filmmaking, suggesting that many D-I-Y filmmakers have to make the best of the minimal resources they have while creating something effective.This is what differentiates Q is for Quack from the other shorts included in the whole anthology.

- Hayley Alice Roberts




The ABCs of Death was a mixed bag, calling upon a variety of directors to provide distinct stories and styles within a restricted time period. Some of the most interesting films have come from movements which intentionally restrict film-makers, with Dogme ’95 being the most famous (infamous in the case of Lars von Trier). In ABCs everyone was given the same amount of money in which to create a short using a word beginning with their assigned letter.

This, in a nutshell, is my entire problem with Adam Wingard’s Q is for Quack (and also Ti West’s woeful M is for Miscarriage in fact). Alongside the likes of Srdjan Spasojevic’s R is for Removed - a wonderfully crafted and deeply soulful creation about the death of film itself, Q is for Quack not only comes across as a weak idea, but an insult to those directors who have used every penny of the budget to create something worth watching.

Even more irksome is the fact that Wingard begins his short with the admission (however humorous he intends this to be) that he has no ideas and also laments the assignment of Q as his letter. If this was a joke to set off a clever and creative pay-off I would have little to complain about, but it doesn’t. His intention is to shoot a duck on camera in an attempt to be ‘edgy’, but thanks to some lazily played-out slapstick everything goes wrong.

Now while this might just be intended to be a throwaway piece, for me ABCs was an advert for each film-maker – an invitation to watch what they had to offer and if I enjoyed it, to check out their other works. On this account, Wingard has truly left me with little interest in any of his features and to be honest, with an apathy for the current mainstream American horror scene.

- Caitlyn Downs



You Can Watch 'Q is for Quack' Here:

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