Todd Rohal

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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Nature Calls

Editor’s note: Yet another SXSW feature is hitting limited release, so please relieve yourselves with this Nature Calls review, originally published on March 11, 2012. Filmmaker Todd Rohal‘s third feature film, Nature Calls, returns to a world similar to that of his The Catechism Cataclysm – a world marked by complete madness by way of a poorly planned excursions to the outdoors. Rohal is again concerned with pushing the envelope, particularly when it comes to poking fun at organized religion, but a sweet edge of sentimentality and emotions sets Nature Calls apart from his previous outing. Unfortunately, Rohal’s film cannot quite join its disparate parts – wacky antics, inspired upbraiding of modern consumer life, physical danger, and fractured familial relationships – into one cohesive piece, and while the film’s laughs are frequent, they are fleeting and don’t have any weight behind them. Also, goddamn can this thing be offensive.

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If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt play bickering brothers on screen, as imagined by the guy who brought us The Catechism Cataclysm, co-starring a bunch of young boys, have I got a movie for you. Knoxville and Oswalt will co-star in Todd Rohal’s next film with precisely all of those elements, plus camping! The as-yet-untitled film follows Knoxville and Oswalt’s characters, “a pair of battling brothers who attempt to honor their ailing father by taking a troop of boys on a last ditch camping trip that goes wildly wrong.” I suppose every family has its different ways of honoring its elders and, in this case, that means participating in something that sounds almost exactly like a terrifying horror film with an upbeat “hijinks ensue!!” tacked on the end of its plotline. We should also expect the unexpected, and ready ourselves for hilarious consequences. However, if you’re at all familiar with Rohal’s work (particularly Sundance’s The Catechism Cataclysm), you’ll know that the writer and director’s films tend to skew a bit more twisted than such a standard “be ready for crazy laughs!” plotline would typically hint at. And, as the film is apparently “loosely based on Rohal’s experiences growing up,” his brand of off-kilter comedy may also find itself infused with some genuine familial emotion.

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