CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Horror Anthology ‘The ABCs of Death’ Wastes Clever Concept
CHICAGO – “The ABCs of Death,” now playing On Demand and opening in select theaters, tomorrow, March 8, 2013 features a few notable short films buried in an anthology of disappointing misfires. The idea for this horror feature is super clever, as are the best of the shorts within it, but the bad far outweighs the good. If you’re gonna bother with this alphabetic orgy of gore and carnage, do it On Demand so you can fast forward through the unbearably bad ones.
Twenty-six directors from around the world (actually more since some were co-directed) were assigned a letter and a low budget and asked to come up with a short film about death related to their letter. The nature of the piece forces you to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the letter will be given that the title card is at the end. Is it “A for Aspyxiation”? “A for Aortic Rupture”? “A for Assault”? It’s none of the above (and is actually one of the best of the entire piece by far). A few are inspired but a few are so bad that they have no place in cinema. And the entire piece wears thin much more quickly then you’d expect. I was ready to bail at about “F is for Fart.” (Not kidding.)
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The ABCs of Death” in our reviews section.|
Some of the directors seem inspired by the letter they got, some barely put in any effort, most feel like student short films. If it was a shorts program at a film festival, you’d be pissed. In fact, it wouldn’t be a shorts program at a film festival because half of these wouldn’t be accepted. They should have had multiple options for each letter. Instead, it feels like they took everyone’s first effort.
Why the Hell does H feature people dressed like dogs? Wait, is it “H for Hell”? (You’ll never guess this one.) Always asking questions leads to frustration. Mood is never set. Nothing feels as smart as it should.
Several of them - “C,” “D,” “F,” “I,” “K,” “M,” “P,” “X” - are truly horrendous to the degree that they’d be cut from a film that didn’t require all 26 segments but the editor here had no choice.
The ABCs of Death
Photo credit: Sony Pictures