Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
You'll notice that most of the filmmakers above are men, while many of their afflicted characters are women. I'll leave that to their respective shrinks, but I will point out that one of the better episodes, "E Is for Exterminate," comes from one of the few women contributing: Angela Bettis, best known for playing the title character in May (2002). "Exterminate" is a simple but nifty arachnophobic nightmare in which a guy is bitten by a spider in his apartment and spends the next week vainly hunting for it while it watches and waits, its point of view suggested with a blurred lens and electronic tones. Finally the guy swats and flushes the spider, but as he gapes in the mirror, little spiders crawl from his ear.
Considering all the gore, you have to admire an effort like Ernesto Diaz Espinoza's "C Is for Cycle," which has one bloody moment but turns mainly on a conceptual gimmick. A man is awakened by his wife to go check on a noise in their house, and when he ventures out into the backyard he encounters an ominous hole that seems to suck him down below ground; waking up, he goes back inside to find himself in bed and realizes he's traveled back in time and become the very prowler she feared. The doppelganger moments reminded me of some of the head games in Mario Bava's low-budget Italian classic Kill, Baby . . . Kill! (1966).Autoerotic) manages to put a little distance between himself and the project with "Q Is for Quack," a ludicrous meta-movie goof that opens with his initial idea for the segment—involving Christmas lights and a topless babe—coming apart at the scenes. He and screenwriter Simon Barrett decide they need an actual on-screen death to top everyone else, so they go out to the desert with a caged duck and a couple of revolvers and stupidly wind up shooting each other instead of the bird. The whole thing probably wouldn't be as funny if not for Mikhail Glinka's "Valse Fantasie in B Minor" being sampled immoderately on the soundtrack. "Dedicated to Mister Quackers the Duck," read the end credits for the segment. "May you find the peace in death that you could not find in life." Despite all the carnage racked up in the movie, Mister Quackers' was the only death that touched my heart.