I’ve always loved the concept of this project. You pick a letter from the alphabet, you pick a word that starts with that letter, then create a little short film based on the word! It’s a perfect opportunity for talented filmmakers to show what they can create based on one word and with a small budget. When it comes to the overall execution, we are subjected to a mix of weird, to beautiful, to funny, to just plain disturbing short films. Not all of them are winners but quite a few of them are really entertaining! So, here are my top 10 favorite ABCs Of Death segments!
10. J is for Judai-Geki
Directed by: Yûdai Yamaguchi
Synopsis: During the performance of Seppuku, an executioner starts to lose his nerve and hallucinate.
Judai-Geki is a very odd short. It makes its way on this list because it’s goofy and hilarious. This short takes a very real and very messed up form of execution and makes it hilarious. Throughout, you don’t understand what the hell you’re watching, you’re just eagerly awaiting what pops onto the screen next. It’s another short with great special effects that will make you laugh in complete shock.
9. U is for Unearthed
Directed by: Ben Wheatley
Synopsis: A vampire is dug up from his coffin and hunted down by the town locals.
This segment is unique because we’re viewing it through the vampire’s point of view. With this style of filmmaking, the film was a lot more fast-paced and tense. It’s bloody and it was just so well done.
8. A is for Apocalypse
Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Synopsis: A woman who’s slowly poisoning her husband realizes the end of the world is coming.
Apocalypse is a very interesting way of approaching the apocalypse sub-genre. We aren’t shown the disaster, and we aren’t shown the world falling apart. Instead, the story focuses on one specific couple. To be honest, the wife’s logic in this short is hilarious to me. I won’t spoil too much, but if you’ve seen this short, I’m positive you understand what I’m talking about. What I will say is that with the practical effects in this, some parts were hard to watch -in a good way! It was the perfect introduction to this anthology and really captured the tone of the overall finished product.
7. N is for Nuptials
Directed by: Banjong Pisanthanakun
Synopsis: A man who buys his girlfriend a pet bird lands in hot water when the bird starts repeating some shocking secrets.
This short starts out adorable and full of love and it make you wonder how it’s all going to go wrong. Then, it takes a BIG and hilarious turn. Wiwat Kongrasri and Orn-Arnin Peerachakajornpatt have fantastic chemistry as the young couple. Overall, this segment is short and simple but I love everything about it!
6. I is for Ingrown
Directed by: Jorge Michel Grau
Synopsis: A broken marriage takes a dark and disturbing turn.
Ingrown is one of my favorites because it was disturbing, yet it kept me hooked the entire time. It really made me wonder who these people are and what happened between them that leads up to this point. It’s a very dark tale, complemented with haunting narration that just sends chills down my spine every time I watch it. I love the cinematography, and the special effects made the situation harder to watch. This was pure disturbing art.
5. T is for Toilet
Directed by: Lee Hardcastle
Synopsis: In this fun Claymation, a little boy must face his fear of potty-training.
I added this one to the list because it is just a fun film to watch! Lee Hardcastle took a child’s fear of potty-training and gave us a literal worst case scenario. This one sticks out from the rest because of its beautiful use of claymation. With this kind of animation, there’s no limit to your imagination. One of my all time favorite things about this film is the ending that’s reminiscent of the Final Destination films.
4. S is for Speed
Directed by: Jake West
Synopsis: A young woman tries to outrun Death himself.
S is for Speed has such a brilliant form of storytelling. For starters, the term “speed” means a few different things in this film, and it’s chock-full metaphors and symbolism. It starts out as an intense chase that takes a very twisted turn that makes the film so much more disturbed. I can’t tell you how brilliant this story is to me.
3. Q is for Quack
Directed by: Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett
Synopsis: Filmmakers, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, try to make a short film in ABCs of Death that outdoes all of the others.
Quack was my introduction to Adam Wingard and I’ve been a big fan of this work ever since. This segment stands out from the rest because it’s self aware and hilarious. They start out making it seem like a sort of behind-the-scenes video about their segment. It leaves you wondering where Adam and Simon are going with their story, and leaves you laughing out of shock. It was a perfect meta short film that stood out from all the other segments!
2. V is for Vagitus
Directed by: Kaare Andrews
Synopsis: A woman is hired to hunt down and arrest people who bear children without the government’s permission, but soon realizes the telepathic family she finds, or “mentals” are used for experimentation.
This is the only short film in the entire anthology that I can see be a possibly successful feature length film. It has such an awesome story, and an execution I just fell in love with! The special effects were superb and the entire short was a perfect mixture of action, sci-fi, and horror.
B is for Bigfoot
E is for Exterminate
H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion
1. X is for XXL
Directed by: Xavier Gens
Synopsis: A heavy-set woman is ridiculed for her weight and finally snaps.
This segment will always be number #1 for me. It deals with bullying, peer pressure, and self-esteem. It’s simple and it gets its message across. The execution of this film is brilliant in showing what all the weight of the world will make one person do to themselves just to fit in. It’s heartbreaking, it’s graphic, and it will always be my favorite ABCs of Death segment!
What are your favorite ABCs of Death segments? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!