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Laramie Movie Scope: The ABCs of Death

Toilet humor, death by fart and more

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 5, 2014 -- This is an experimental horror film. The project is to have 26 directors around the world make a short film about death. Each director is assigned a letter of the alphabet to serve as the theme of his chapter. Each director is given free reign to come up with a word, and a segment to match the letter.

Given the format, it is no surprise there are few hits and a lot of misses. What I found surprising is the number of different directors from around the world, despite the cultural differences, when given this assignment, were thinking about the same thing, toilets and lower bodily functions, like farting. Come to think of it, I have seen a few horror films where bad things happen in toilets, like in “Zombieland” and “Dreamcatcher.”

In the imaginative “F is for Fart” segment, a purported apocalyptic gas attack from the ass of god leads to a young girl to ask her teacher to kill her with farts. This lead me to wonder what could be so bad about divine farts in the first place. The basic idea is not unprecedented. In the movie “Seven” for instance, a man is killed by his own farts.

In this film no idea is too silly or outlandish to be included, and the fart chapter was one of the better ones. In another chapter a janitor licks sweat off a bench used by basketball players and it then killed by antlers weilded by a young boy wearing the decapitated head of a deer like a hat. I know, it made no sense to me, either.

When I came to the third different toilet chapter, I started fast-forwarding through this stuff, wondering what's up with this obsession with toilets? There is a woman attacked by her own turd in a bathroom, and an argument in another chapter about whether Elvis died on his toilet, or on the bathroom floor. According to one character, he died on the toilet and then fell on the floor.

Despite all this bathroom humor, including a gross miscarriage in a toilet, there are some clever, funny, imaginative chapters in this film, like two filmmakers complaining about how hard it is to come up with a movie idea for the letter “Q.” The chapter is called “Q for Quack,” and it is funny. There is also an interesting segment where a man is apparently murdered by his own time-shifting doppleganger.

According to the blurb promoting this film, these directors are “the world's leading talents in contemporary genre film.” This helps to explain why most horror films are so bad. It is also true, however, that a lot of good directors got their start in show business by making horror films. I don't think all these directors are going far in this business, but some are probably on their way up.

This film demonstrates above all, that there are way too many letters in the alphabet. Something needs to be done about this. I know a letter that descibes this film. This film rates a D.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)