20 'ABCs of Death 2' Entries Worth Your Vote - Part 2

By: Heather Seebach

Two years ago, Drafthouse Films held their first ABCs of Death 26th Director Competition, and I compiled my favorite entries. That list can be found here. Now, with the anthology sequel in the works, the second competition is well underway. I have been watching a lot of the entries, and have compiled my favorites once again below. If you would like to give a special shout-out or recommendation to a short not mentioned here, feel free to do so in the comments below!

Each entry must involve death and revolve around an "M" word. The call for entries closed on Halloween, but voting is open until November 14th. If you like a video, PLEASE click the title and then click the little Facebook 'like' button above the video. Countless talented filmmakers contributed entries this year, and I wish I could write a post about them all! But alas, I can only highlight a few, so I encourage you to spend some time watching shorts - and don't hesitate to watch those on the bottom, as there are some real gems hidden down there! 

You can find part 1 (#20 - #11) right here. Below are my ten favorites. I ranked them because, well, that's what I do, but honestly, all ten are solid and I enjoyed the hell out of them. Here we go:

1. M is for Music (d: L Gustavo Cooper) (USA)

 This elegant short not only fits right in with the mood of The ABCs of Death, but it has fantastic cinematography, lighting, sound design, and costumes. In it, two young violinists compete against their will to impress masked aristocrats. It finds a unique way to turn music into a killer. With all its creepy atmosphere, I have no doubt this one would make a fine addition to to the final anthology.

2. M is for Mormon Missionaries (d: Peter Podgursky) (USA)

This short about two Mormon missionaries pestering a woman at home works so well thanks to fantastic, funny leads and a unique spin on the home invasion film. It took me two views to realize the clever depth of detail put into this one. The humor, the quirky visual style, and the subtle mind-fuckery of it won me over. This contest had a lot of effectively creepy shorts but this one balances the laughs and the brutality just right. Oh, and if you're not convinced yet - the female lead is Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, a genre staple known for appearing in her husband Stuart Gordon's films!

3. M is for Marriage (d: Todd Freeman) (USA)

Marriage is a concept many contestants used for this competition, but Freeman's short really nails the meat of marriage horror -  hatred, anger, and betrayal. It takes place during a very unique marriage counseling session wherein a woman's spousal hatred becomes manifested physically. The short tells a lot of story in just 3 handsome minutes, plus it's always great to see body horror represented!

  4. M is for Messiah (d: Nicholas Humphries) (Canada)

The idea is simple - a girl has been taken captive by tribesman for sacrifice. M is for Messiah tells that familiar horror tale in such an elegant way, with fantastic costumes and an undeniable Ben Wheatley-esque vibe. I cannot say much more about it for fear of spoilers, but this is one is very cool and worth your vote!

5. Me is for Meat (d: Wolfgang Matzl) (Austria)

I counted over a dozen entries that chose "meat" as their focus, but this Austrian entry ditches the boring cannibalism angle and delivers a creepy, cool animated short. Stop-motion animation ran away with the first ABCs of Death competition when Lee Hardcastle's claymation T is for Toilet took top prize, and if only M is for Meat could get some damn views, it would stand a legitimate chance! I don't want to tell you too much about the plot - just know that it looks a bit like a 90s TOOL video directed by David Lynch. Right now, Meat only has 56 likes which is downright criminal. Help it out!

6. M is for Munging (d: Jason Koch & Clint Kelly) (USA)

Full disclosure: this short hails from my hometown, and I had the pleasure of helping (however poorly) with it, but I absolutely would not have included it on here if I didn't genuinely believe it turned out great! From the cool exterior shots to the gorgeously grimy corpse, this one just looks like high quality. The plot is, well...you just gotta watch it. The only drawback is I think those unfamiliar with the term "munging" won't appreciate it nearly as much. Either way, it's a nasty, funny little movie that goes for your gag reflex.

7. M is for Mactation (d: Maria Ivanova) (Russia)

Here is another animated entry, though it's vastly different from Meat, both in style and story. This one involves a possessed girl and a desperate priest. I'm far too ignorant of art to even guess at what type of animation this is, but it is stunning! The whole thing was written, directed, animated, and sound edited by one woman, and the result is beautiful.

8. M is for My Name Is (d: Will Higo) (UK)

This is a simple tale about an addict attending a support group meeting. It looks sharp and has a great lead actor. I can see why some people might dislike the death portion of this short, but I think it's pretty damn clever considering the subject matter. This bleak little story of addiction has flown relatively under the contest radar, and it deserves a lot more recognition.

 9. M is for Mailbox (d: Dante Vescio & Rodrigo Gasparini) (Brazil)

This one has been dominating the contest for some time now, and with good reason - it's beautifully shot and dripping with Euro-horror atmosphere. In it, a Halloween trick-or-treater visits a creepy house. My only complaint is I found it a bit corny, particularly a "reveal" toward the end, and how that related to the choice of title. It just removed me from the mood a bit. Still, it's a gorgeous short and quality vampire movies are always welcome with me!

10. M is for Martyr (d: Jeff Stewart) (USA)

This is a darkly funny short with an intriguing premise. Without saying too much, a man is sacrificed by some sort of cult obsessed with eternal life. The cinematography, music, and quirky cast of characters really stuck with me. This is another entry (like Mormon Missionaries) that keeps things light without losing the creep factor.

Honorable Mention: M is for Maniac (d: Sebastian Khayat) (Germany)

This is an "honorable mention" because I watched it after I had already compiled my favorite list, but it's just so cool that I want to share it! It's a live-action motion comic from the perspective of a detective hunting a homicidal maniac. It definitely has shades of Sin City and the opening credits of Watchmen. The kills in it are wickedly unique, as well. Take a look:

If you have enjoyed these entries, PLEASE click on the titles and vote for them!

Now, what were YOUR favorites of the contest? Comment below!

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