(The gist: The ABCs of Death is a sampling of horror from 26 different directors, each providing a death scene for a letter in the alphabet. The spectrum ranges from windows to brilliant horror to just awful. Yet the premise dazzled me, and my curiosity for each word and approach kept me rapt. I probably will not watch it again, but it was necessary to see at least once.)
When I was studying writing in college, I first learned about flash fiction. Extremely brief pieces that show you only a tiny glimpse of a situation or characters. These pieces have to be expertly crafted to pack as much imagery, information, and emotion into the least amount of words. After this introduction, I gravitated to both reading and writing flash fiction.
The ABCs of Death is the film equivalent of flash fiction, an anthology of 26 different short stories, a death scene for each letter of the alphabet. 26 directors were each given a different letter. They chose a word starting with that letter and directed a short horror death scene for that word.
For me, the premise is, in a word, fascinating. It was beyond interesting to indulge in the full spectrum 26 different horror minds and flavors had to offer. The film showed the scene prior to revealing the word, so the most fun I had watching the movie was waiting in anticipation of what the word for the death scene would be.
It is impressive how much each director could compact and convey in just a few short minutes. Each short is a full window into some awful world. And there really is everything. There are furries and uncooperative shit (literally) come to life and men in a masturbation contest to the death; there is live action and animation and claymation.
It is truly a horror spectrum. A sampling. A smorgasbord. It was interesting to see the variety, the different things each culture consider to be horrific and what elements they used to cross the line.
It is a brilliant approach that was both fun and very entertaining to watch. However, in all honesty, many of these little windows were awful or ridiculous. There were a few impressive gems buried in the alphabet, but they were largely surrounded by some that were, frankly, just crap. Some were so off the wall they were nearly incomprehensible.
Nonetheless, it was entertaining and fun and, at times, deeply disturbing. More than one made me cringe violently. The amazing ones were well worth sitting through the less dazzling selections. Besides, at the most, I only had to endure a few fleeting moments of suck before the red transition appeared and exposed the letter. Plus my curiosity for each short made me not overly concerned with the quality. Many were so bad they were good.
I would not watch it again though. The ABCs of Death was a one time blur of enterainment for me (unless, perhaps, I returned to show a friend). Since it had no coherency and slammed all over both the horror and quality spectrums, it would be hard to watch again. But I would recommend that any horror lover definitely at least watch it once.