by Ryan Rigley
Whether it’s the cult classic “Creepshow,” or more recent films such as “Trick ’r Treat” and “V/H/S,” it’s quite clear that horror anthology films are here to stay. The latest horror anthology, “The ABCs of Death,” is being billed as perhaps the most ambitious anthology film to date; with 26 different shorts and 26 different directors. Each director was assigned a different letter of the alphabet and then tasked with picking a word and creating a short involving death based on that word — directors such as Kaare Andrews, the “Spider-Man: Reign” writer and artist who signed on to represent the letter “V” for the “ABCs.”
“I had a big action movie that I was writing and directing with one of my heroes as Producer and it kind of fell off the tracks,” Andrews tells MTV News. “That’s when I stumbled upon the announcement for ’ABCs Of Death’ and I was like, ’this is perfect.’ So I got in touch with [the film’s producers Ant Timpson and Tim League] and let them know that I was a new father and wanted to decapitate my newborn child on film… They said, ’yes.”
“I was one of the last to come on board but before the letters were handed out, so I got to pick what I wanted,” continues Andrews on the pre-production phases of the film. “They asked us all for our top three letter choices and ’V’ was on my list.”
Andrews was fortunate enough to get a letter that he actually wanted, but how exactly did he decide on a word such as “Vagitus”? “Initially I had thought of V is for Vikings, or video games, or something like that because the words lent themselves to a lot of blood and carnage,” he says. “I had a cool idea for ’V is for Ventriloquism,’ but I wanted do a thorough search and make sure I didn’t miss any other great words. So, I turned to my friend Google and he showed me a list of V words I was not aware of… including ’Vagitus.'”
So what does Vagitus mean exactly? “If you had asked me what Vagitus was a year ago, I would tell you to go to the doctor,” jokes Andrews. “Vagitus is not what you may think it means, but rather, it is Old Latin for ’cries of a newborn child.’ This was perfect because I had a newborn child and it liked to cry… it also steered me back towards my initial promise of infanticide.”
Kaare Andrews, who is a renowned comic book writer and artist in addition to being a filmmaker, went on to discuss budgetary problems with his large scale short film.
“Before I even talked with Ant and Tim I was warned that the budget for each segment was insanely small,” explains the director. “For me as a filmmaker it was really interesting to see how the other guys (and girls) made use of their monies. Because I have some explosions and robots in my segment, I’ve been asked if I put extra money into my piece, but I strictly adhered to the budget.”
Having made many short films in the early stages of his directing career with little to no money, Andrews has become somewhat of an expert at making low budget short films look like big budget motion pictures.
“I built the robot in my basement, created all the props and did all the visual effects work myself (besides a stunning opening image by my buddy Trevor at Leviathon), Andrews reveals on how he worked with such a small budget. “It was great to get my hands dirty.”
Taking inspiration from a number of popular children’s educational books, “The ABCs of Death” is equal parts shocking, funny, and horrifying. “Marcel’s short ’D is for Dog Fighting’ and Nacho’s short ’A is for Apocalypse’ are two of my favourites,” says Andrews. “But there is really something for everyone here. I loved the gonzo shorts T and Z. And the segment featuring the masturbation death match was something I hadn’t seen before (maybe only because I have yet to vacation in Thailand).”
26 different sites spoke to all 26 filmmakers involved with “The ABCs of Death,” each of which is being posted online today. To check out the rest of the interviews, visit “The ABCs of Death” Tumblr page.
“The ABCs of Death” is now on VOD and will be released in select theaters March 8th.