“ABC’s of Death 2” left a lot to be desired, and seemed to really leave a lot of the more interesting segments on the wayside. The folks at Drafthouse Films have been kind enough to spotlight 26 runner ups, all of whom tackled the letter “M.” These shorts were not only popular with audiences and judges but get the chance to appeal to the same audience that the winners did, and it’s a great opportunity to see what we missed out on. I think the sequel really left out some excellent shorts, many of which deserve to see light on another anthology somewhere down the road. As with “ABC’s of Death,” the segments are very hit or miss, but this semi-sequel is a much more solid collection of shorts than the official sequel was.
My favorites among the twenty six are “Magnetic Tape” by Tim Rutherford & Cody Kennedy which features a video store clerk transforming in to a genetic VHS robot that allows him to combat a gangster and his minions. It’s an ultra violent and fun ode to Japanese science fiction. “Mailbox” by Dante Vescio & Rodrigo Gasparini is my favorite of the runner ups. Set on Halloween night, a young boy appears at the door of a young woman and her older mother dressed as a vampire. Much to their horror, the young boy is there for an ulterior motive. I loved this short when it first appeared and I still think it’s a great concept with a fine final scene.
“Make Believe” by Summer Johnson is a twisted and demented short about two little girls that find a beaten and wounded man in the woods, and try their best to cure him with their fairy dust and magic potions. As his condition worsens, they fail to grasp the reality of his physical condition. “Malnutrition” is my second favorite of the bunch, a fantastic zombie thriller by Peter Czikrai about a lone woman battling a man for a can of food in a zombie apocalypse, as hunger drives the pair to violence. It’s a tense short with a great twist ending. “Manure” is a neat revenge tale by Michael Schwartz about a young boy living with an abusive dad who digs up the parts of his deceased mother to enact vengeance. “Mobile” from Barış Erdoğan is a darkly comic short about an assassin torturing a victim of his in a basement.
When he begins getting unusual orders from his boss, he begins to get confused. “Mom” is another zombie short set in a zombie wasteland and is set on a boy zombie who falls in love with a human girl he spots coloring one day. It’s a simple but demented short with some excellent make up. Finally, “Mother” is a simple but very good short about a girl who finds her little sister huddled in a corner after killing a humongous spider. Despite her initial horror, she learns she just killed the baby.
While the semi-sequel still isn’t a home run in stellar shorts with a variety of genres, it’s a much better experience than Part 2. I hope the producers allow more of these opportunities for the filmmakers in the future.