Drafthouse Films, the recently formed film production arm of Tim League’s kick-ass Alamo Drafthouse theaters, has just announced their involvement in a fantastically creative but dramatically risky new film. The ABCs Of Death is an anthology film slated to begin production next month that will feature short contributions from twenty-six different directors. All but one of them will be working professionals with the final slot “chosen as part of a worldwide competition to find a new filmmaking talent.” Some of the talented directors already attached include Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), Nacho Vigalando (Timecrimes), Jake West (Doghouse), Ti West (House Of the Devil), and Ben Wheatley (Kill List).
Animal attacks. Beheadings. Cannibals. Etc. Twenty-six individual chapters that showcase death in all its strange and brutal beauty.
Twenty-six directors will participate from all corners of the world: Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Nigeria, Denmark, Germany, Samoa, Finland, Mexico, Argentina, Spain and France. Established filmmakers and emerging new stars will make up the diverse roster of creative talent that will showcase these tales of termination, beginning alphabetically with the letter A and eradicating all life right through the letter Z.
Each director is assigned a letter and every letter represents a word that acts as a springboard to tell a short story about death. A linking device will open, connect and close. This unique anthology will be a celebration of death in all its forms, from the shocking and exotic to the humorously droll. It’s up to each director to interpret the letter they are assigned as creatively and outrageously as they see fit.”
It’s a fantastic idea… but is it a good one?
Horror anthology films are a long-dead breed with only sporadic returns from the grave. The most recent one was 2009’s very good Trick r Treat, and we all know how well that fared. Of course the problems it faced were due to a studio with no clue or interest in marketing it and getting it out to the fans. The ABC’s Of Death won’t have that problem as Drafthouse Films has partnered with Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures and a company well known for their love of fantastic cinema.
So what’s not to like about a film loaded with talented people and in the hands of labels that love and truly care about horror?
Probably nothing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t voice a concern about the time limitations. Odds are the movie will clock in under two hours, but for the sake of argument we’ll say that’ll be the end running time. With 26 chapters or short films there’s realistically only four minutes on average available for each segment plus the linking device mentioned above and end credits. There’s no doubt short films can pack a punch (as evidenced by our own Short Film Of the Day feature), but 26 of them packed together? I fully expect this movie to be a blast, but will they be able to tell many actual stories or will it simply be filled with WTF imagery, geysers of gore, jump scares, splattery murders, a giggling Nacho Vigalando, and inappropriately charming sexual deviants?
Well hell, when I put it that way…
Check out the film’s official website here for more information and future announcements.