Monday, 7 November 2016

The ABCs of Death - review

2012 (USA)

Contains spoilers.
I'm quite late to what seems to have become quite the annual celebration of macabre,  grizzly and gruesome nasty experimental film making. The premise was simple. Various acclaimed film makers would be given a letter and told to throw a three / four minutes of video nastiness together; the only limit on their imagination, that there had to be at least one death.

This result is if I'm honest quite the mixed bag. Some are truly fantastic like Marcel Sarmiento's highly polished, highly stylised and original D is for Dogfight and H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion a hilarious stop-gap animation; but very few seem to possess the confidence to go for a complete old school horror tale; all too quickly and cheaply running to shock, vulgar gore-porn, nudity or even surrealist-humour as a get out.

Still it's easy to wait a few minutes for the next, there's definite wheat in the chaff and there were only a couple I really took so little an interest in, that I didn't get something from seeing them through. 

I'll give special mention to our old friend Noboru Iguchi (Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead) who with F is for Fart seems to be continuing his bottom obsession with a quite bizarre and crude existential short that I feel I only appreciated because I'm now somewhat conditioned. There's also U is for Unearthed, a short but generally throwaway pov vampire skit and one of only two that turn to the undead for inspiration.

W is for WTF! (4 mins)

In truth while I'm all for a bit of surrealist humour I really do take a dim view when anarchistic and edgy seems to be nothing more than a seemingly random stream of unconnected ideas thrown together and presented with extreme pretension; that not laughing, or getting it, somehow shows ignorance and lack of enlightenment. I'm not saying playing with the absurd, with juxtapositions and illogical non-sequiturs can't be fun; it's just as with all artistic styles open to abuse and mediocrity; though it's just probably easier to hide.

Directed and written by Jon Schnepp, W is for WTF! unfortunately I feel, falls into the latter camp with an anything goes style designed to disgust and disturb and a series of vulgar and obnoxious ideas that never really comes together. I'm not going to say it never raises a smile or doesn't ever entertain, and it certainly wears its letter loud and proud but as a complete short it feels rather rushed and lazy.

I'm mentioning it solely because one of the so called edgy ideas was zombie clowns; why? For the same reason a flying eye-teeth monster, animated witches and medieval knights, Godzilla Walrus and the cookie monster. Ok, I know I'm being slightly disingenuous and there's some over-arching nonsense about ideas coming to life and a new world reality, but this itself, I suspect, is nothing more than another random story-board throwaway added because why not - 3/10.

So zombies aside, as a modern horror compilation, I'd certainly recommend, though probably as a rental - 6/10.


No comments:

Post a Comment