ABC’s of Death 2: The Search for the 26th Director.
Following the success of the 2012 film, anthology movie The ABC’s Of Death is getting a sequel promising 26 new directors and 26 new ways to die. I for one had mixed feelings about the first offering, but there were glimpses of some well-made horror pieces amongst those that didn’t quite cut it. Hopefully second time round will bring in some more talented directors with an eye for innovative horror, capturing moments of fear within a short run-time. A huge appeal for the second instalment will be seeing what the awesome Jen and Sylvia Soska will have to offer as well as Marcus Dunstan who directed The Collection, a film that I surprisingly enjoyed this year.
But what’s currently dominating interest in this film is discovering who will win the competition to become ABC’s 26th Director. The winner of the competition will be down to horror fans themselves as they decide between a high standard of entries through an online voting system, closing on Halloween night. More information about that can be found here. In order to help you decide your winner, I’m going to discuss a couple of entries that you should consider from some of my favourite independent genre directors.
M is for Macho. Directed by Jose Pedro Lopes.
If you like a bit of zombies in your horror then look no further. M is for Macho is set on a basketball court where the only thing stopping the lead male and female character reaching the net are a group of braindead zombies! Fearlessly, the female character reaches the net, dodging them in the process but when the male attempts to he is not so successful! M is for Macho is a critique of gender roles using the zombie sub-genre as a backdrop, subverting the idea that “being macho” is associated only with males. To a degree its a feminist piece that challenges ideas of masculinity while not taking itself too seriously. Macho provides sharp cinematography with a lot of attention to detail in every frame, along with a heavy rock soundtrack that suggests competitiveness and aggression. The sunny, outdoor setting really contrasts the horror, however demonstrates that horror doesn’t need to be done in complete darkness in order to create tension. The zombie make up is awesome and the performances are just right, these are some of the best zombies I’ve seen in recent films from the sub-genre. With dark humour and light gore, M is for Macho is an entertaining piece and a strong contender for the competition. This is definitely one that I’d like to see within an anthology film.
M is for Mother. Directed by Corey Norman.
This was an entry I was initially apprehensive about watching due to its dark subject matter as involving children in peril is always going to be difficult viewing. M is for Mother focuses on an every day situation where a mother reads her little girl a bedtime story. The film has a minimalistic setting, the little girl’s pink bedroom which is used effectively while giving a sense of claustrophobia. The entirety of the film feels tense as its not your typical horror fare, it is uncertain of what kind of direction it could go in which leaves the viewer on edge. The mother recites a fairy-tale style story to her adorable daughter about a King and Queen and their Little Princess. As the mother delves deeper into the story about a witch who tore their family apart and stole the King romantically from the Queen, it soon transpires that the story is a mask for the breakdown of the traditional family, something more common within today’s society. With no blood or gore, M is for Mother is frightening on a whole different level. Not one for those who don’t have a strong stomach, I understand Corey Norman’s intentions of representing something that could be considered real life horror and with that in mind there is nothing more unnerving. Effective, tense and long-lasting in the mind I would recommend taking M is for Mother into consideration for its way of creating fear with performance, setting and direction alone.
M is for Marriage. Directed by Todd E. Freeman.
Potentially, this could be my favourite entry. M is for Marriage is a very powerful piece that focuses on the depths of strong emotions including love and hate. M is for Marriage has been made as a teaser for Freeman’s upcoming feature film Love Sick. If this is the kind of high, dramatic horror that’s in store then Love Sick will be one of the most anticipated modern horror films. Staying true to his style of body horror as seen in Cell Count, Freeman doesn’t disappoint as he uses the concept as a metaphor for the emotions of a relationship. The plot focuses on an experienced therapist Doctor Christian who specialises in the controversial method of Bio-Medical psychotherapy. He is working with a husband and wife who seek help to move forward and overcome past mistakes. The main portion of the film focuses on the wife character who is encouraged to display her anger and hate towards her husband’s infidelity. Her performance is powerful and moving as the film depicts the emotions of hate, love and anger as well as how they look physically which makes a compelling and interesting viewing. I’m completely blown away by this fascinating piece as it depicts something we can all relate to and goes into depth about what it really is to be human. The Doctor provides the insight that we are all connected, there’s an amazing shot that demonstrates this where the head’s of the two characters fade into each other, centrally in the frame. There’s an unexpected twist ending that comes across as satisfying and acts as the crescendo for the intense build-up that came before it. I highly recommend viewing this one for being able to get right under the skin with its subject matter and its attention to creating as much intensity as possible before a satisfying climax.
Definitely check out these unique horror entries that provide a sense of versatility to the genre, its definitely going to be a tough choice as there’s so many interesting and diverse films entered into the competition. If you get a chance to watch these or any other ABC’s of Death 2 entries then feel free to comment below. Would love to hear your thoughts on which film YOU think is deserving of the 26th Director crown!
Hayley Alice Roberts.