Angela Bettis

Angela Bettis

It seems like years since Drafthouse Films announced that they’d be boldly making a 26-part anthology that would shed a bloody spotlight on 26 different ways to die. With entries like “B is for Bigfoot” and “J is for Jidai-geki,” The ABCs of Death appears to be the kind of teaching tool that’s almost perverse enough to end up in Texas public schools. We’ve seen a trailer, written a review, and now the icosikaihexagonal horror is hitting all sorts of streaming and On Demand services ahead of its theatrical release in early March. Amidst a coordinated slew of interviews, I was lucky enough to speak via email with a personal favorite, filmmaker Angela Bettis, who starred in May, directed Roman and helmed the ABCs segment “E is for Exterminate.”

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The Coroner

Director Lucky McKee’s most recent film, The Woman, garnered a lot of critical praise at Sundance in 2011 but gained the most publicity when some old codger decided to have a freak out that was caught on tape where he said the film was degrading to women and demanded it be burned. Luckily for the sake of art and free speech, the negative was not burned and the film has indeed been released on DVD and Blu-ray. The film follows the Cleek family and their zany adventures trying to ‘civilize’ a wild woman the patriarch finds in the woods. I put civilize in quotes back there because that’s how the film is officially described, but in my book giving someone a bath and making them wear clothes doesn’t actually amount to trying to civilize them. No, for that, one must teach them proper dining etiquette. Obviously, as this is branded a horror film, the titular woman chained up in the basement must cause some havoc, though she’s not the true villain in this story.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets ready to celebrate Halloween in style with some horror releases… and he’s not just thinking of Footloose. Unhappy with his life, he follows the bucket list path of Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, traveling to the bottom of the world where he finds himself in a small Antarctic town that has outlawed dancing. So Kevin takes it upon himself to help the people get their groove on only to discover they’ve been taken over an alien species that duplicate human form. Later, he takes a trip back to the heartland where he finds a feral woman chained in a cellar… pretty standard for some of the towns he’s been to. Finally, not being able to find a theater that is still playing Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), he checks it out On Demand and promptly throws up.

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Here’s a little experiment. Watch this new trailer for Luck McKee’s The Woman and see whether it makes you want to leave the room or not. Chances are, it won’t, but that’s not because it’s not just a little offensive. It’s because it’s a fantastic, utterly watchable trailer. Horror fans need no introduction to McKee’s work, but as an introduction for those who don’t know him yet, this is a bloody mess of wonderful that has a punk rock feel to it. What would happen if you found a wild woman living in the woods? Would you chain her up and try to civilize her? Would you slap your wife about it? Ask yourself that question and check it out:

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By now you’ve already heard about The ABCs of Death – the anthology project being put together by Drafthouse Films, Timpson Films and Magnet. 26 directors, 26 letters of the alphabet, and 26 tales of horror and gore. The complete list of directors includes: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani and Helene, Adrian Garcia Bogliao, Xavier Gens, Noburo Iguchi, Thomas Malling, Yoshihiro Nishimura, J.T. Petty, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Chris Smith, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Anders Wulffmorgenthaler, and Yudai Yamaguchi. You no doubt counted that list and saw 26 filmmakers. You also noticed that two of them are a filmmaking pair, which means they still need one more to complete the series. That’s where you come in. This is your chance to have your name next to the guy that made A Serbian Film on a film’s credit sequence. Drafthouse Films is hosting an open short film competition to choose the last director where contestants will choose their own word (starting with the Letter T (my money’s on “Trebuchet”)) and craft a short based on it. Entries will be whittled down to a final 10 by a public voting system, and the winner will be chosen by the directors listed above. There’s no entry fee, and it’s open from now until October 1st at midnight PST. Grab your camera. Get started.

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The Woman is a harrowing and often darkly hilarious horror satire about family values, feminism, and the nature of violence from the twisted minds of Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum. A true find at Sundance for all fans who love gore and the twisting of Americana. From the beginning of the film, it’s clear that the Cleek family of Maine has a lot underneath the surface. That’s made even more prominent when head-of-household Chris (Sean Bridgers of HBO’s Deadwood) bags a feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) outside the family farm. Chris’ idea is to have the family train her in the ways of civilization.

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It would make sense that a film co-directed by Amber Benson, known best for her role as Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, would be absolutely adorable. As is true with babies and films alike, adorable human beings create adorable offspring. But there’s more to this story — that of the science fiction comedy Drones — more than just the offbeat cuteness of comedy and workplace romance. There’s also aliens and Earth-obliterating stakes, wonderfully quirky performances and plenty of epic Power Point presentations. Executed with simplicity and smarts, Drones is just the sort of refreshing fair that makes all of the blood and guts of Fantastic Fest easy to stomach for those of us who lack intestinal fortitude.

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The pair who seem destined to forever work together on grizzly horror will meet up again for the sequel to a Jack Ketchum adaptation. With plenty of people eating people.

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