The ABCs of Death

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The ABCs of Death
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Various directors
Produced by
Written by Various screenwriters
Starring Various actors
Music by Various composers
Cinematography Various cinematographers
Edited by Various editors
Distributed by Magnet Releasing
Release dates
  • September 14, 2012 (2012-09-14) (TIFF)
  • January 31, 2013 (2013-01-31) (VOD)
  • March 8, 2013 (2013-03-08) (North America)
  • July 20, 2013 (2013-07-20) (Japan)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country United States[2]
Language Various languages
Box office $21,832[3]

The ABCs of Death is a 2012 American anthology horror comedy film produced by international producers and directed by filmmakers from around the world. The film contains 26 different shorts, each by different directors spanning fifteen countries. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. In 2013, it was released on VOD January 31 and in theaters March 8.[4]

The end credits of the film feature Australian band Skyhooks' 1974 song "Horror Movie". A sequel, ABCs of Death 2, was released in late 2014 and a second sequel, ABCs of Death 2.5 in 2016.[5]


The film is divided into twenty-six individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free rein in choosing a word to create a story involving death. The varieties of death range from accidents to murders.[6]

A contest was held for the role of the twenty-sixth director. The winner was UK-based director Lee Hardcastle, who submitted the claymation short for T.[7]


  • A is for Apocalypse (directed and written by Nacho Vigalondo): A woman's long-running attempt to commit murder grows more desperate and brutal as time runs out.
  • B is for Bigfoot (directed and written by Adrian Garcia Bogliano): A babysitter tells his young charge that if she doesn't go to sleep, Bigfoot will get her—not knowing that a real monster lurks outside.
  • C is for Cycle (directed and written by Ernesto Diaz Espinoza): A man investigates a mysterious noise, only to find himself trapped in a nightmarish cycle of murder.
  • D is for Dogfight (directed and written by Marcel Sarmiento): A man is forced into a boxing ring to battle a vicious dog.
  • E is for Exterminate (directed and written by Angela Bettis): A spider takes revenge on the man who tried to kill it.
  • F is for Fart (directed and written by Noboru Iguchi): A darkly humorous short in which a schoolgirl dies by breathing her teacher's fart rather than poison gas during a deadly gas attack.
  • G is for Gravity (directed and written by Andrew Traucki): A POV story of a man committing suicide by drowning.
  • H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion (directed and written by Thomas Malling): A surreal short in which a humanoid dog is first seduced, then tortured by a Nazi fox-woman before killing her through electrocution.
  • I is for Ingrown (directed and written by Jorge Michel Grau): The interior monologue of a woman in the process of being murdered.
  • J is for Jidai-geki (Samurai Movie) (directed and written by Yûdai Yamaguchi): A man committing seppuku is forced to wait in agony for his assistant to decapitate him.
  • K is for Klutz (directed and written by Anders Morgenthaler): A cartoon short about a woman in a public toilet being stalked and killed by her own stool, which refuses to be flushed.
  • L is for Libido (Directed and written by Timo Tjahjanto): A bizarre sexual contest where the loser in each round is killed.
  • M is for Miscarriage (directed and written by Ti West): A woman has a miscarriage in a toilet.
  • N is for Nuptials (directed and written by Banjong Pisanthanakun): A talking bird ruins a marriage proposal by driving the would-be bride into a murderous jealous rage.
  • O is for Orgasm (directed and written by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani): A man and a woman have sex in a series of extreme close-up shots.
  • P is for Pressure (directed and written by Simon Rumley): A desperate prostitute with three children to feed agrees to star in a crush film.
  • Q is for Quack (directed and written by Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett): The actual filmmakers, playing themselves, decide to make their section a real snuff film by killing a live animal, but things do not go as planned.
  • R is for Removed (directed and written by Srđan Spasojević): A man's skin is used to make 35mm film.
  • S is for Speed (directed and written by Jake West): A kidnapper and her victim outrun a mysterious man trying to murder them both.
  • T is for Toilet (directed and written by Lee Hardcastle): A little boy is afraid of the bathroom toilet.
  • U is for Unearthed (directed and written by Ben Wheatley): The point-of-view of a vampire as he is chased down and staked by an angry mob.
  • V is for Vagitus (The Cry of a Newborn Baby) (directed and written by Kaare Andrews): In a futuristic Vancouver, women must petition the government for permission to bear children.
  • W is for WTF! (directed and written by Jon Schnepp): A series of random and vulgar scenes, including the filmmakers deciding what to do with the letter W.
  • X is for XXL (directed and written by Xavier Gens): An overweight woman falls into despair at her size and attempts to remove her fat with a knife.
  • Y is for Youngbuck (directed and written by Jason Eisener): A pedophile teaches a young boy to hunt deer. Features the song "Vengeance" by the Australian Synthwave duo Power Glove (band).
  • Z is for Zetsumetsu (Extinction) (directed and written by Yoshihiro Nishimura): An abstract series of events dealing with revisionist views of Japanese relations with the West.


Rotten Tomatoes reports that 35% of critics gave the film a positive review and an average score of 4.8/10 based on 65 reviews. The consensus says the film "is wildly uneven, with several legitimately scary entries and a bunch more that miss the mark."[8] Nerdist calls it "a midnight movie for folks with a sick sense of humour".[9] The Austin Chronicle says it "soars to such artistic heights, and such tasteless depths, on a global scale, no less, bodes well for the future of cinema fantastique and otherwise",[10] while Inside Pulse says the movie has a "brilliant concept but not great execution". Many reviewers criticized the film shorts' unevenness.[11][12][13]

Dread Central gave a mixed review for the film, saying the film is "full of installments that are more bad than good" but that it was an "easy watch" overall.[14] Film School Rejects gave The ABCs of Death a B rating, praising D is for Dogfight while saying that "M is for Miscarriage is almost insulting in its laziness".[15] Screen Crush gave an overall positive review, saying that it was "a good time at the movies".[16]

Dave Canfield writing for film magazine Magill's Cinema Annual said of the film: "The ABCs of Death is for anyone who loves horror since it is easy to skip through segments that are not to taste. Any viewer should be prepared to laugh pretty hard; feel tense; get grossed out like they would at any halfway decent horror film. But that same viewer now has a chance to find out about some of the best directors working in horror today."[this quote needs a citation]

Sheila Kearns case[edit]

After showing the film to a group of high school Spanish students, former Columbus Ohio substitute teacher Sheila Kearns was found guilty of four counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. As of Thursday, January 16, 2015, Kearns has been convicted of four felony counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. On 5 March 2015, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail and probation for three years.[17][18]


  1. ^ "THE ABCS OF DEATH (18)". British Board of Film Classification. January 15, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ "The ABCs of Death (2012)". AllMovie. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The ABCs of Death". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ Ryan Turek (October 3, 2012). "Get a Sneak Peek of ABCs of Death Before V/H/S This Week". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ Nemiroff, Perri (2013). "'ABCs of Death 2' Directors List: 'Splice's' Vincenzo Natali, Bill Plympton & More". Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Angela Bettis on The ABCs of Death". Crave Online. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Watch the Winning 'ABCs of Death' Short Film 'T is for Toilet'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  8. ^ The ABCs of Death at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ Thompson, Luke (September 24, 2012). "Fantastic Fest: "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning" and "The ABCs of Death"". Nerdist. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ Savlov, Marc (September 25, 2012). "FF2012: 'The ABC's of Death'". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Fantastic Fest '12: The ABCs of Death – Review". Inside Pulse. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "REVIEW: THE ABCS OF DEATH (TIFF 2012)". Jo Blo. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Fantastic Fest Review: 'The ABCs of Death'". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "ABCs of Death, The (2012)". Dread Central. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Fantastic Fest: 'The ABCs of Death' – 10 Segments I Liked and 5 I Didn't". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "'THE ABCS OF DEATH' REVIEW". Screen Crush. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Former Columbus teacher guilty of showing obscene movie to students". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Former Ohio substitute teacher given jail time for showing high school class graphic movie". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 

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