‘ABCs of Death 2’ to give fans another round of raucous killings

Fans who are expecting to see anything groundbreaking from the Calgary premiere of ABCs of Death 2 are in for a surprise. The film, a second collection of 26 short horror films that follows its 2012 predecessor, delivers on all fronts but originality. It follows the same blueprint and contains scenes that you would expect Drafthouse Films, who built the ABCs franchise on a foundation of shock and awe.

But being unique isn’t entirely what makes a good horror film. It never was.

Horror, as a genre, should be something that takes society’s taboos and manifests them into a visually compelling nightmare. If the effect should make you cringe, gasp, or even burst out into uncontrollable, morbid laughter, then the film has done what it was supposed to do.

 In that sense, ABCs of Death 2 delivers. The movie has everything, from gratuitous violence and mindless bloodbaths, to claymation and animated shorts that follow the more macabre, comedic path of degradation.Fans of the first ABCs installment will grow on the titles even more, as the shorts follow the original’s blueprint of the utter macabre.

Photo courtesy of Video Services Corp.

The film’s highlights include B is for Badger (directed by Julian Baratt), M is for Masticate (directed by Robert Boocheck) and T is for Torture Porn (directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska).

The Boocheck short jumps out especially, as it turns what should have been a predictable zombie chow-down romp into a hilarious flashback about two friends who decide to try bath salts.

Will ABCs of Death 2, directed by filmmakers from around the globe, be remembered as one of the all-time great horror films? Absolutely not. But it isn’t about that. The film is a nothing short of a testament to creativity in a limited space and symbol for our culture’s love of twisted cinema.

What these filmmakers have done within a few short minutes, at least in some cases, is incredible. They’ve taken the recipe for the horror genre, cut it down to suit the viewers dwindling attention span, and packed all the punch of any normal movie with a long, linear story.

Julian Barratt appears as himself in his hilarious contribution to the film, B is for Badger. Barratt is an English comedian known for his work on British TV hit, The Mighty Boosh.

Photo courtesy of Video Services Corp.The ABCs series gives unknown directors a chance to show off their chops, as the producers of the films have held contests to determine the identity of the 26th and final director. That alone should send any prospective horror filmmaker to salivate like a rabid dog.

For Calgary franchise fans, though, they will be able to get their fix at the Globe Cinema, where ABCs of Death 2 will premiere on Oct. 31.

bmcneil@cjournal.ca