Movie Review: ABC’s of Death 2 (2014)

The follow up to the original film makes you rethink your fragile existence with 26 more interesting short films of bizarre deaths. Not all of these are horror (though many are). The plots range from sadistic killers to vacations gone bad to children’s fantasies gone awry. Most are live action, but some are claymation or animated. Some send chills down your spine while others are quite poignant, and another references The Three Stooges.

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Some of Radio Of Horror’s favorites: A is for Amatuer gets the ball rolling with an action packed romp about a beginner level assassin. The most bizarre short was D for Deloused directed by Robert Morgan who is known for directing Tool music videos which are also bafflingly creepy. Believe that this stop motion animated freakshow of beheadings and bugs will make your skin crawl. E is for Equilibrium  switches the tone to something completely different with castaways fighting over a woman who washes up on shore. Then F is for Falling tugs on my heartstrings with the story of a female Israeli soldier whose parachute gets tangled in a tree is found by an armed Palestinian young man, in just a few short minutes Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado tell a modern story more gorgeous and heartbreaking than “Romeo and Juliet” that ties into current affairs that seem intangible and far away to much of the West and instantly it’s relatable, it’s just fascinating.

H is for Honorable Mention: H is for Headgames is an interesting concept: a man and a woman kiss and it turns into a surreal power struggle. I am a huge fan of Bill Plympton and I really wanted to like this one a bit more than I did. It was good, and instantly recognizable. I’ve been a geek for Bill Plympton since I Married a Strange Person came out in 1997 (just kidding, I was 12. I probably watched that for the first time in 2003).

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Bringing the horror: The contest winner (chosen from 541 submissions); M is for Masticate takes a turn for true crime and reminds us all about bath salts (did everyone just smarten up real quick about those or what?) and it was great, both humorous and terrifying. Hajime Ohata’s O is for Ochlocracy a mother protecting her child from zombies finds herself not in a struggle for survival but a legal battle when zombies are “cured” and coexist. S is for Split sees an ill fate for one half an unfaithful couple. In Jen and Sylvia Soska (The Demon Twins of Berlin in American Mary)’s T is for Torture Porn a woman harassed at an audition gets her hentai on. U is for Utopia gets sci-fi, big brother meets cosmetic culture when an unattractive man is targeted in a crowd of the fit and well groomed. V is for Vacation gets gritty and real with killer prostitutes. French actress Beatrice Dalle appears as a creepy and unstable babysitter in X is for Xylophone. Z is for Zygote creeped me out …mostly because the idea of being pregnant for 13 years is terrifying.

This film has many high points, although it is up for debate which ones are king. With bites from various genres, demographics, weapons of destruction, style and sentiments there is something for everyone. And it’s worth watching for that alone. Most of the actors are unknown and so the only thing to judge on is the direction, which is something so rare in the typical reboot and sequel cinescape, that’s what really makes this unique (even if it is the second time). The showcasing of new or relatively unknown directors with cult favorite directors made for innovative and enticing bites of film.

Worth the watch -just put down the popcorn during D for Deloused.

4/5

Produced by Ant Timpson and Tim League, distributed by Magnet Releasing.

Have you watched? What were your favorites?

Movie Review: Grave Halloween (2013)

This film market itself as “J-Horror” despite the fact that it is a SyFy Original and has a predominantly white cast (even though it is set in Japan, which is another topic entirely). The main character, Maiko (Kaitlyn Leeb, who has set herself to be a big time B-Horror babe with roles in Wrong Turn 4, the three-breasted woman in Total Recall, upcoming film Wolves and a recurring role on “Bitten”) sets a college thesis project with classmates at her college in Japan (full of white people) to find where her mother committed suicide and perform an exorcism. This will be filmed. And she intends to perform an exorcism. Their journey lead them into the famous “Suicide Forest”

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We start out with vague dreams and memories from Maiko’s youth, she is on a swing and her mother turns into… pretty much the girl from The Ring. Or The Grudge. Basically, we have been down this road before.

Maiko and co., a crush, a blonde BFF and a trusty camera man come a long. They are followed by 3 bully/prankster types who disrespect “Suicide Forest” and meet the most grisly of demises… but so do others… even if their intentions were good. And that’s what ruins it, after one prankster steals a watch on the trail: we all know that they are going to get axed. But Maiko’s posse …well, it could be said that they are voyeurs, that they are interlopers, that they are exploiting the suffering of others in the name of academia; all of those things are amoral and accurate BUT that was not set in the guidelines by their cliche and stereotypical guide, Jin (Hiro Kanagawa, Godzilla, “Almost Human”).

The gore is moderate, the tension is weak, the main characters are over all well developed and relatable. But still the more pressing of matters is that the “suicide forest” is a real thing.

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Aokigahara at the base of Mt. Fuji was the setting for a novel, published in 1960 that featured a pair of lovers committing suicide, it started before then but instances of suicides and deaths have increased alarmingly since. It is said that people go there to contemplate life and death and that those who have passed permeate the trees.

Aokigahara is also the setting of Matthew McConaughey’s next film.

Ehhh, thanks for the lesson: but this only gets a 2 out of 5.