Alamo Anthology

Drafthouse Films teaches us The ABCs of Death with 26 gory films from 26 horror masters

Drafthouse Films teaches us The ABCs of Death with 26 gory films from 26 horror masters

ABCs of Death

Over the past half-decade Alamo Drafthouse has taken major steps toward becoming more than just everyone’s favorite movie theater.

Drafthouse Films' first theatrical release was the brilliant tongue in cheek terrorist comedy, Four Lions. In our overly-sensitive terrorism-addled world, no other distributors were willing to risk releasing this film about four bumbling would-be terrorists plotting to attack London. Luckily, Drafthouse took that risk, and to great success, Four Lions was hailed by both critics and audiences alike.

For their next step in adventurous film distribution, Drafthouse Films will be producing along with Ant Timpson (of New Zealand film distributor, Timpson Films) and Magnet Releasing, a horror movie anthology called The ABCs of Death.

Inspiration for the project stemmed from Timpson reading mnemonic-filled children's books to his sons. The idea of exploring 26 different deaths through each of the 26 letters is appealing in both the simplicity of storytelling and potential creativity at hand.

Anthologies have always carried a certain whimsy along with the usual aspects of the horror genre. (Think "Tales From the Crypt" or "Creepshow.") The children's book theme then is a genius mash-up allowing for boundless creativity in a straightforward structure.

The team has taken it a step further and invited 25 of the world's premiere genre directors to craft their assigned letter into whatever devious/hilarious/disgusting take on death they can fathom.

Even partially listing the talent on this project is enough to get any modern horror fan squeamish, with names like Ti West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), Nacho Vigalando (Time Crimes, Extraterrestrial), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Frankenstein Girl Vs. Vampire Girl), Srdjan Spasojevic (A Serbian Film) and Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), this anthology is sure to cover the expansive genre that horror has become.

From the classically stylized workings of West, to the inventive storytelling of Vigalando, down to the absurdly comical mutilations found in Nishimura's splatter masterpieces, all fans of horror will undoubtedly find something to appreciate.

Instead of just selecting the 26th director to complete the alphabet, the team decided to instead let any emerging director submit their short film based on the letter T (as in, T is for Tyrannosaurus Rex).

Users had until October 1st to submit their entry which has been voted on by the general public until Halloween, when the list would be narrowed to ten. As of today, the top ten will be submitted to the scrutiny of ABCs already-chosen 25 esteemed directors until they agree on the most tantalizing T death.

The winner will not only have their film appear alongside some of today's best and brightest directors in horror, but they will also be awarded $5,000 to do with as the please. Hopefully, they’ll use it to make more horror movies...

Production on the project began in June and the final short will be selected November 15th, setting up the film for a January 2012 release date. That’s exactly six months, six weeks and six days later. Downright sinister.