The ABCs of Death | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The ABCs of Death

An A-to-Z of mortality, in 26 short films


In this new horror anthology, 26 directors from around the globe were randomly assigned a letter, and given $5,000 and free rein to make a short film about death that also illustrated their letter. As expected, the films are a mixed bag, ranging from familiar horror tropes to more experimental interpretations of the genre. There's live action, animation and some trippy mash-ups. Two directors make self-referential films about the A-to-Z project, and a number of the films add sex or nudity for extra thrills. (More surprising was how many films featured toilets.) Some are brazenly in poor taste — an opening title card suggests animal-lovers and pregnant women not watch — but you likely already knew that. 

The films run in alphabetical order, with the titles and director credit running at the end of each short ("A is for..."). This gives viewers a bit of fun trying to guess from the material what each letter will stand for: Some are obvious ("D is for Dogfight"), but you'll never guess "H." The gimmick wears a bit thin after Q-P-R or so, but even "Z" gets its due. For my money, only a couple of the shorts were thematically and/or visually interesting, but if you're a fan of horror-shock films, this is a value-pack of 26.

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