The ABCs of Death 2

M is for Muff

By all accounts, the production behind The ABCs of Death 2 didn’t have to reach out to aspiring filmmakers to fill their 26th slot. With names like Sion Sono, Alex de la Iglesia and Vincenzo Natali rounding out the roster for the alphabet-inspired horror anthology, they could have easily enticed another heavy into the mix. Instead, they did what they did with the first film and sought a new voice from their fan base. It worked well before. So well in fact that one of the non-winners from the first contest — Chris Nash — made such an impact that he secured a spot alongside more well-established filmmakers as one of the 25. Thus, the search for the 26th director was on. Since both Rob Hunter and Scott Beggs were foolish enough to watch all of the 500+ entries, and now that the 12 finalists have been announced, they wanted to rank the disgusting dozen with an eye toward choosing who they would pick as the overall winner (and thus, the short that will be tucked away in the middle of the movie). The real winner will be announced December 15 after a mad scientist finishes his gruesome experiments or they torture it out of Tim League or something, but for now here’s two bloody cents (and 12 cool shorts to watch).

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t is for toilet

2012′s The ABCs of Death is a horror anthology featuring one short per letter of the alphabet, and while it was overshadowed by V/H/S it still managed to earn a sequel due next year. Like the first film, the follow-up will feature twenty-five shorts from professional filmmakers and one winner selected based on votes from viewers and a panel of judges. We’ve been highlighting several of the shorts in competition over the past two weeks, but they were only a small sampling of the 541 submitted entries. The top twelve finalists will be announced today over at the official ABCs of Death 2 site, but since my tastes seem to differ from many of the folks who’ve been voting I wanted to show some love to the ones that I think are not only some of the best submissions but also better than far too many of the so-called professional shorts featured in the first film. The assignment this year was to pick a word beginning with the letter ‘M’ and make a short film connecting it somehow to death. Entries can be scary, gross, or funny, and they can be live action or animated in some fashion. Last year’s winning entry, “T is for Toilet,” was made via claymation. It’s not easy telling a story in roughly three minutes, but the best ones manage to do so while providing interesting and engaging visuals along with it. Keep reading to watch what I think are probably the five best shorts submitted […]

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m is for masochist

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Masochist from The Kondelik Brothers. Perhaps the closest thing to a redemption narrative in the entire competition, this short’s flash shines through the rusty exterior and the dark comic morals of its characters. There’s the carny shilling tiny stuffed dolls for a gruesome game, the teenagers far too eager to make a stranger bleed, and the real monster of the pic. The production value is solid, and the acting is consistently magnetic (especially from horror mainstay Bill Oberst Jr.). What works best is the connective tissue between the game and the smaller details, creating a story that doesn’t try to pull the rug out from under you, but still manages to surprise (and rhyme).

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m is for matchmaker

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Matchmaker from Sean Tretta. If millions of people are turning to online dating to find romance, then there’s nothing wrong with utilizing Tiffany Shepis’ helpful service, right? In this short, she’s working hard to help a nerdy guy hunt down the perfect woman. Cheeky and playful at all times, the fun it provides (and Shepis’ charisma) gloss over an obvious twist and minimal gore. This one’s more about gags than goosebumps, but it does what it does incredibly well. Immature humor and bad wardrobes included.

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m is for motivation

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Motivation from Rob Schroeder. I have no idea what to make of this one, and I love it for that. Part blues riff, part crack pipe dream, part starry-eyed revenge fantasy, it’s like Prince and Tarantino had a baby, the baby drank a bottle of absinthe and then this video nasty popped fully formed out of its head. It’s completely intoxicating from beat one. Pure brain syrup. But be warned: if you click through to see it, expect a pair of breasts in your face immediately. On screen at least. And, yes, that makes this short film both WTF and NSFW. Enjoy.

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m is for matador

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Matador from Gigi Saul Guerrero. Giving birth to a new style of serial killer, this short sweats out style alongside dark crimson and humiliation. It was clearly shot to put us in the fight, and while the idea behind its madman is innovative, it would only be a passing curiosity if not for the intense execution. The screaming chained girls are a bit over the top, but considering how much red they see, it’s hard to fault them. I’ll leave it up to you to create your own gore joke.

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M is for Marble

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Marble from Zac Blair. This sneaky little short features a diabolical inanimate object that wreaks havoc on three roommates while the camera work pulls off some tricks of its own. It’s not so much scary as it exudes that “What now?” brand of (slightly comedic) tension. Final Destination comes to mind. Regardless, it has plenty of blood on its hands thanks to bad luck and characters who make frantic decisions. An excellent interwoven slab of plot, it’s all owed to a tiny villain.

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M is for Make Believe

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Make Believe from Summer Johnson. Through the eyes of little children, eh? This sweet, innocent tale is deeply horrifying. As it opens, we meet a broken, bloodied man(?) just as two little girls playing dress up discover him and decide to patch him up. It’s like Misery with good intentions. Robust in its imagination, it features some excellent makeup effects, but relies more on a fist-clenching sense of helplessness to produce its magic. Truly outstanding work.

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M is for Merry Christmas

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Merry Christmas from Daniel Piza Ruiz. I’ve got a soft spot for Christmas horror, especially work that frames Santa as the monster he is, and while this short doesn’t take him back to his villainous roots it still manages a different role for him to play. After all, he’s a guy doing good work, but he’s also the one responsible for denying you the cool stuff you asked for every year. Shot impressively with a bizarre bit of gore, this is for every kind who’s ever wanted to confront Santa about being placed on the Naughty List.

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M is for Munging

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Munging from Jason Koch and Clint Kelly. Wow. One way to shock a numb horror audience is to go for the gag reflex, and this short attacks it with the gusto of a grave robber who’s just bought a shiny new shovel. Thankfully it’s not just an exclamation point. It has genuine atmospheric chops and a sinister sensibility to go along with its inventive death method.

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M is for Macho

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Macho from Jose Pedro Lopes. Twisting the zombie genre isn’t an easy thing to do, not only because of its long history but also because of its massive presence in pop culture right now. This short laughs at that challenge, dribbles around it and dunks in its face. Sweetened with some gender politics and the edge of survivalism, it has fun with the trope (partially because its characters look as unimpressed by the presence of zombies as we are) and manages a nice dismemberment plan. Long story short, I’d love to see the feature-length version.

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M is for Math Short Film

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Math from Adrián G. de la Peña. Smarter than most of the other entries in the competition and a far-too-accurate representation of how most of us feel about math tests, this dark comic short channels a bit of Hellraiser and Saw by means of your algebra teacher. Simple and unpolished with a crazy madre, the gore is wince-worthy, but the ending is telenovela-style priceless.

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m is for magic

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Magic from Neil King. It features a magician plying his trade in front of a theater audience, and the natural misdirection and question of what he’s going to do with his lovely assistant fuels the tension. The camera work is free-floating and dreamlike (although the pink smoke helps), but the powerhouse of the piece is actor Christian Prentice who sleazes out a mood-swinging monologue with deranged glee.

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M is for Mother Nature

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Mother Nature from Mugworth. Turning the tables with some animation (and full-frontal nudity), this short puts a revenge fantasy on display that’s morbid in its simplicity (especially if you value your stick). Clever and quick with notes of Bill Plympton, it’s either a far more delightful version of The Happening or a terrifying sequel to “The Giving Tree.”

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M is for Mousetrap

Why Watch? To celebrate The ABCs of Death 2‘s search for the second 26th director, we’re posting 13 contest entries for 13 days. All of which start with M is for. Today’s is Mousetrap from Craig Stewart. This manic short features a man driven mad by the presence of a mouse in his cereal boxes. With quick, smooth editing, it manages creepy comedy alongside the kind of tension built by pulling back (sweat forming on your forehead) the neck-breaking wire to its linchpin. Plus, you wouldn’t want to be neighbors with our hero, and the final bit of gore is absolutely fantastic.

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Abcs of Death Poster

Horror fans and sickos rejoice – the production team behind The ABCs of Death 2, the sequel to the 2012 compilation hit, has announced that they have a a full directorial roster in place to bring audiences 26 more gruesome stories. The original film took a horror director and assigned them a letter of the alphabet, then let them use their disgusting, fantastic brains to do whatever they pleased with that chapter. For example, in last year’s edition, director Michael Sarmiento offered up “D is for Dogfight” for his chapter. In a departure from the original, The ABCs of Death 2 is adding directors to the roster that aren’t necessarily from the horror world: Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), Todd Rohal (The Catechism Catalysm), Steven Kostanski (Manborg), Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), Jim Hosking (a UK commerical director), Hajime Ohata (Henge), and Chris Nash (Skinfections). They’ll be joining a roster of already confirmed horror filmmakers that include Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Cube) and Goya Award winner Álex de Iglesia (Day of the Beast). Still following me? Now, the roster only has 25 names mentioned because of the series popular – and pretty fantastic – “26th Director Competition,” in which filmmakers from all over the world can compete to be included in the film as the missing chapter.

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