The True ABCs of Death: I is for Improvise




Suggested Audio Candy:


[1] Gipsy Kings “La Cucaracha”

[2] The Dickies “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”

[3] Charles Bernstein “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

[4] AC/DC “Hell’s Bells”

[5] Ice-T “The Hunted Child”



This is something of a no-brainer for Keeper as improv is my middle name. As you all know I like to roll with the punches and so this suits me down to the ground. This letter will encapsulate the finest moments of horror at its most ridiculous. By that I refer to the dispatches that utilize either the surrounding environment or ludicrous weaponry consisting of household items and the like. You will not be witnessing any axes, machetes are a no-no and the chainsaw is out of fuel. You may, for example, get the odd spatula, rolled up broadsheet, or bag of marbles instead and thus I am proposing a pretty zany ride this time out.


The ABCs of Death was a mostly agreeable alphabetical stroll through the extinguishing of mortal flames and there are numerous entries which would qualify for this particular list. Noboru Iguchi’s F is for Fart segment; need I say more. The idea of flatulent far eastern Fräuleins firing fungal gas clouds into each other’s grateful faces is frivolous to say the very least but anyone familiar with Iguchi’s full-length fartsploitation flick, Zombie Ass: Toilet of The Dead, will already be aware of his fascination with the colon as a potentially lethal weapon. Apparently the average human passes wind around fifteen times daily and, yes ladies, that includes you. His gassy vignette lifted the lid on what schoolgirls do in their downtime and you could almost smell the raw sewage.


Our next example wasn’t maybe the most illogical The ABCs of Death had to offer but it did showcase thinking on your feet rather marvelously. Broken down to its nucleus, Nacho Vigalondo’s A is for Apocalypse was actually far less preposterous than anything our oriental friends could muster. A beleaguered wife decided that she could no longer cope with scrubbing bed-pans and treating rectal sores so decided to charge into her bed-ridden husband’s boudoir like a glue-sniffing Mrs Baylock and plunge a bread knife into his remote-control hand, thus scuppering his plans for a Columbo marathon.


With fingers dangling like T-1000, her significant other required a secondary assault as the painful looking flesh wound still left him one free hand for self-defilement. Enter phase two of her plan, same knife straight in the larynx. She then retreated from the room momentarily while hubby slumped back into his orthopedic pillow case and, when she returned, she did so grasping a saucepan filled with bubbling chip fat and threw it straight in his face.


However, sensing the life ebbing away from her stubborn spouse, it suddenly dawned on her that maybe she has acted a little hastily so she took a pew alongside her one-time soul mate and did him the service of sharing those fast-dissipating final moments with him before he bled out. I’m sure he loved that, its like having your kidney perforated by Jason Voorhees’ unsanitary machete and then joining him for a quick game of Chinese Patience before you croak.


Speaking of improvisation, how could I possibly exclude Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College from the festivities? John Carl Buechler’s travesty did precious little right and single-handedly ruined the series’ already fast plummeting reputation but came good courtesy of a sink plunger, of all things. The impish ghoulies may not have been particularly academic but they did have a reasonably assured career as plumber’s mates to fall back on, should they have flunked their mid terms. Enter some poor naked shower flower as she rued her decision not to flannel wash and ended up with a rubberized muzzle for her troubles. The film may have sucked on levels too multiple to mention but, for a fleeting moment, it sucked in the right way.

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Speaking of high art, those Rabid Grannies were a rancid pair of senior citizens weren’t they? Imagine having to give them a slobbery wet kiss every Sunday lunchtime and feel free to vomit in your clutch bags. In 1988, Emmanuel Kervyn supplied us with the ultimate pensioner’s porno and the starlets in question charged into battle foaming like two necrophiliacs at a wake. With lopsided areola tucked into their bloomers, lady gardens like half-eaten kebabs, and dentures safely stored away in tumblers of emu phlegm, these old fishwives had their knitting needles at the ready as they set out to teach the grandchildren why they should fear their elders. Rabies isn’t the most hospitable of ailments at the best of times but, when suffered by two decrepit termite-receptacles such as the Rabid Grannies, it was all the more caustic.


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There aren’t many propositions to dread more than a visit from the Rabid Grannies but what about the Killer Klowns From Outer Space? Stephen Chiodo’s circus act had nothing but improv in their repertoire and, I’m fairly assured, death by shadow puppet had never been done before. A posse of cowering civilians were consumed by one such silhouette in a devastating display of crowd control and they even had time to mould themselves some balloon animal sniffer dogs to help them track down the scent of their quarry.

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The Stuff was fairly benign in appearance but looks deceived as this malignant marshmallow fluff didn’t slide down particularly smoothly. Those saturated fats were a little too excessive for the most refined palette, resulting in outbursts of eroded regurgitation moments after that first spoonful was scooped. Once the lid was removed, there was only ever going to be one outcome, as attested by the hapless Chocolate Charlie as his face opened wider than Debbie’s thighs during a jaunt to Dallas.

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I have to come clean here, if my refrigerator resembled Ed Wood’s trophy cabinet and that delectably marketed sludge was sitting there practically licking my lips, I’d have worn it as a nosebag like a famished pony before you could say “watch out, it’s calorific” and fuck any repercussions. The devilish dessert from Larry Cohen’s audacious B-movie teased us into submission and, in that respect, it was job very much done.


Should I have required a tipple to wash it down and cleanse my palette, then Viper from J. Michael Muro’s low-rent classic Street Trash would have slid down a treat. This liquor of toxic hell waste performed an even more vicious number on your digestion system, stripping you down to your very marrow by way of melting your entire epidermis. A hobo’s solution to another night in the dumpster amongst all the human excrement and industrial wastage; Viper was a one-time only deal. Should you have poured yourself a tot then it would be at least an hour before anyone else could utilize the latrine.


Sam Raimi’s epic dark circus The Evil Dead is up next. Once regarded as a video nasty and branded unfit for social consumption, time has enabled folk who were hett up to reassess their damning indictions. There are two scenes selected for scrutiny; those being the infamous tree rape and Scotty’s ankle-lancing via stationary implement. Poor Scotty was such a loyal subject and took a fair few digs for the team but just couldn’t quite make it through that elusive third act. The final size ten to his groin was that wretched pencil. It dug itself in, snapped off, and quite possibly donated a touch of lead poisoning in the process. The Deadites were never the most artistically endowed of hell-bitches, and then had they stuck to their brief of just shading him in, poor Scotty would still be with us now, reloading Ash’s boomstick and massaging his shoulders for motivational purposes, with a dash of bromance.


Outside the cabin, we were treated to a routine tree-etching exercise and mere mention of this pastime brings flooding back memories of The Dude engaging in a little detective work at Jackie Treehorn’s beach condo. Alas, poor Nancy had the tables turned on her and felt the thorny extent of forest foliage fisting. Given a sound shrubbing, she had her ankles restrained as said wood made its way up her nightdress and straight to the mother ship. Once it reached her pleasure purse it left its generous deposit, that being a liter of joy sap straight to her ovaries. The scene wasn’t exactly the best advertisement for green fingers.


Jason Voorhees was rather adept at using his environment to clock up his tally. The fallen boy scout found a variety of different tools of dispatch as he whittled down campers engaging in anything even vaguely promiscuous. My chosen delicacy is from one of the lesser Friday films, Rob Hedden’s barely notable Jason Takes Manhattan, and featured a large hunk of searing coal being placed affectionately placed on the chest of a hapless boxer, who was soaking up the sauna rays after his big fight. This particularly hot potato proved a little tough to juggle and sank through his skin faster than a xenomorph’s cum necklace.

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It’s too long since I last mentioned my beloved Xtro and how can I mention improvisation without a tip of the Crimson Quill towards Harry Bromley Davenport’s fruity nut-fest. There were a platter of ridiculous moments but today kiddywinks it’s all about Action Man. We all had one, or a Barbie doll…or both! This life-sized action figure was called upon to rid a little cherub of his nemesis, a shabby old interfering gas-bag snake murderer. After gaining access to her apartment as only Action Man could, he refused her tea and crumpets and stalked the old dear through her living room. After a short game of hide and seek her dentures gave away her coordinates away, sensing the wind whistle through the toothless fissure in her face, he gave her a gentle dig with his bayonet through the sofa before returning to his cellophane.


J Lee Thompson’s superior 1981 slasher, Happy Birthday To Me, proudly wore the tagline “Six of the most bizarre murders you’ll ever see”. To be honest, they weren’t actually that outlandish, but one dispatch in particular really made me grab my ghoulies. A large weight was placed, none too carefully, onto the groin of a jock while he pumped iron, causing the considerable burden of the barbels to plummet down into his throat. Cue watery eyes and a considerable twinge in the mommy-daddy regions. Another rather bizarre offbeat demise entailed a winter scarf and a faceful of motorcycle spokes in mid-revolution. Plus, I believe it’s the only film to feature death by kebab, so that’s definitely three of the most bizarre murders I ever saw.


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Freddy Krueger was at a distinct advantage to his compatriots as he had an infinite supply of tools at his disposal. Poor Rod Lane thought he was safe in incarceration but his prison bed sheets got the better of him. Hoisted up in his cell; luckless Rod was tucked in a little too tight for his bedtime story. Meanwhile, Taryn from Dream Warriors met her maker in a manner which, let’s be frank, actually wasn’t that terrible. Whilst Keeper has never and would never partake in intravenous narcotics, Taryn must’ve felt like she’d fallen on her feet by receiving ten synchronized hits from Freddy’s personal stash. The rambunctious rebellious rock-chick then did a little Trainspotting of her own as she soaked in the ultimate high.


Earlier, Krueger put his puppetry skills to good use as he dangled Philip from the top-tier of the insanitarium by a number of fleshy strings. Said strings consisted of the bewildered teen’s entire ventricle network, plucked callously from his limbs as he guided him to a high ledge and cut away his lifeline.

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Marcus Miller had to think on his feet during one particularly mean-spirited one-way exchange during Matt Farnsworth’s The Orphan Killer. Actually, he thought with his feet, as he played Dance Dance Revolution on some poor fool’s head case. One solitary arrow flashed continually and it was blind bad fortune that the victims skull-cap was perched on the very same spot. While Marcus attempted to shatter his personal best, he also busted up his quarry’s cranium, as though lobbing a house brick in a cow’s vast pat. Vicious, unremitting, and outstandingly implemented, this was grade A brutalization.

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Sean Whalen suffered a fairly excruciating reprisal in Robert Hall’s solid indie slasher cum splatter flick, Laid To Rest. He was the recipient of a shit-load of tyre sealant through his ear canal which caused his head to burst like an over inflated balloon. Whalen received another bit-part for BJ McDonnell’s Hatchet III and, lo and behold, got taken out in similar fashion. This time he took a defibrillator pad to each temple, and pop went the weasel once again. It appears that filmmakers may have found his forte, that being having his shoulders raised. Well, at least its a gig Sean.


Takashi Miike has never had an issue with spontaneity and proved it with his 2001 cult classic, Ichi The Killer. Sexually repressed Ichi took exception to the Yakuza and, in one particularly agonizing instance, strung his victim up via multiple hooks through his back fat. As Ichi hoisted the screaming man up, he decided to take things to another level, pouring a pan of chip-fat onto the man’s spine and using it as a fleshy wok for his noodles.


German Martin Walz gave the world possibly the most unusual murder weapon in his 1996 B-Movie, Killer Condom. Only Troma were brave enough to distribute this in the United States and it actually fit their stable rather snugly. Proving that safe sex was not just a case of putting on a Jimmy Hat, the prophylactic punisher had a set of gnarly gnashers every vulva would fear. What next? A vagina with teeth? Sheesh!

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Next up is some good old-fashioned eighties comedy courtesy of Carl Reiner’s Summer School. An entire classroom of co-eds played a devilish prank on their supply teacher, using the practical SFX skills of two of their horror nut classmates to make their point. Each of them was made-up to appear slaughtered in a cocktail of inventive ways, using various items of stationary.


Many would pair Clive Owen with a carrot in the charisma stakes and, while admittedly he does need a little varnishing from time to time, he has made plenty of decent films. In Michael Davis’ OTT all-action hotch potch, Shoot ‘Em Up, he armed himself with one of his five-a-day and used it to silence endless streams of deadbeat scum. Jessica Rabbit would have likely considered this full-on bunny porn but to the rest of us it missed the mark a little too habitually. Nevertheless, after watching Croupier, if someone had informed me that he would go on to kill dozens of villains with a raw vegetable, I would’ve imploded with laughter so well done Clive!


Ron Jeremy had built his reputation, not on acting prowess, but the fact that he was gifted with an extraordinarily elongated length of gammon. Things had naturally begun to wind down for Ron and every day he looked a little more like Danny De Vito but the schlong was there to stay and, sensing the opportunity to squeeze a bit more out of his one true notable endowment, he let his member take center stage for Adam Fields’ One Eyed Monster. Kind of like The Hand with bollocks, his murderous meat decided not to fulfill its organ donation commitments and instead embarked on a penile rampage. As the rest of his shell withered like a polio-stricken arm, that defiant girth took its heinous revenge. If I were to choose my demise then I’d take Clive’s carrot any day of the week.

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Water is ordinarily regarded as a staple part of your everyday diet as your body absorbs it to replenish the skin and flush out the organs. The co-eds from Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever learned the hard way that filtered aqua from the refrigerator really would have been a more savvy choice. As they began to literally decompose before our eyes, Cerina Vincent decided to wash away her worries in a nice bath of tepid water. Bad move. Shaving her legs became a laborious task as layers of her epidermis peeled away beneath her razor. The price of vanity huh? A dash of stubble would surely have been the thinking woman’s choice here.



What about the old gas guzzler? Automobiles can have insatiable appetites for destruction, just ask Christine. This menstrual motor had grim designs on controlling Keith Gordon and dwindling down any of his adversaries in the process. More recently Blood Car and Creep Van have demonstrated once more that cars take shit off no man. Quentin Dupieux’ 2010 B-Movie Rubber took things to a new level of messed up when a spare tire decided it had designs on world domination. As it trundled across the desert, dancing with tumbleweed, this wheel of misfortune stopped off to make the occasional head pop like a primed pimple. It really was as ludicrous as it sounded but Dupieux hit pay dirt with his self-aware B-Movie, grabbing itself something of a cult following in the process.


In William Friedkin’s overlooked The Guardian, a tree took a stand against a bunch of hell’s angels. It took out the entire posse of road-blazers with its branches, eventually coming unstuck when the beleaguered Phil took a chainsaw to its trunk. It incited likewise shrubbery to take a stand against a humanity that harshly sawed its ancestors and Treevenge showed the lengths these green gargantuans would go in order to redress the balance.


After biding their time and allowing themselves to be made over with baubles and tinsel, said trees commencing their festive assault by wiping out all around them. They weren’t choosy either. Toddler’s skulls were trampled and dimple-cheeked brats were all recipients of the trees’ venge as they took back what was rightfully theirs. Jason Eisener built his stellar reputation on shorts such as this and quite literally wiped out an entire town as mother nature laid considerable smackdown on its persecutors. This was one case of bark far worse than bite.


After terrorizing trees, cantankerous carrots, antagonizing aqua, savage spares, Ron Jeremy’s detached dinkle, murderous yoghurt, the devil’s piss, sink plungers, saucepan contents, and granny bile, where do we possibly go from here? Well it may be straying from the horror path somewhat but how about Frank Marshall’s Alive for having to think on your feet? Ethan Hawke and his rugby chums were placed in a somewhat precarious position when their plane went down in the Andes and, with help appearing to be coming no time soon, the only feasible hope for survival was to whittle down the numbers and eat his teammates. Surely it would’ve been a fairer method to each donate a limb and heat up a mass broth. Still, they demonstrated how quick thinking could save a bad situation from further worsening. In that position, Keeper would wish for dermatitis and a flaky scalp to ensure I wasn’t on the day’s list of specials.


Back to the vegetables and this time it’s the good old-fashioned corn on the cob which proves its deadliness courtesy of Mick Garris’ flawed Stephen King adaptation, Sleepwalkers. This uneven fable faltered on more than one occasion and walked a fine line between downright entertaining and unintentionally hilarious. The scene in question involved overly suffocating mother Mary who required the blood of virgins to replenish her reserves. Known for shape shifting into a bipedal werecat of sorts, Mary snuck up on a law enforcement officer making an ill-fated phone call in her human guise. She then proved her resourcefulness by grabbing a nearby cob and ramming it straight into the back of the hapless cop. I’m not going to make the obvious pun, although make no mistake, it’s swirling around my mind like a tweaking piranha. Okay, you teased it out of me. It was a touch corny.


Lee Harry’s risible Silent Night Deadly Night 2 was barely worthy of mention although it was notable for one particularly ludicrous kill, this time via umbrella through the sternum. As if the punishment wasn’t severe enough, the wild-eyed antagonist proceeded to open said brolly up and shake it some. This would have had Gene Kelly heel-tapping in his grave.



At some point Leprechaun had to make an appearance. After all, the impish half-pint of Guinness found a whole melange of differing manners of execution as he endeavored to claim back that pot ‘o’ gold. Unfortunately for stunted Warwick Davis, his small man syndrome was paired with a pretty shocking tale of the tape. So he called upon his trusty pogo-stick to trounce his quarry. While one time spouse-cum-love-rat Brad Pitt was Cutting Class, Jennifer Aniston had her hands full fending off this little shit jockey. Warp forward to the turn of the millennia and Ice T has a lot to answer for as the New Jack Hustler played himself by entering the fray in Leprechaun in the Hood. As if that wasn’t agonizing enough, some bright spark decided to take it one step further. Thus Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood was spunked in our sorry faces.


Drugs are bad, m’ckay. If you weren’t already aware that white lines kill then Frank Hennenlotter’s Frankenhooker offered extra confirmation. Our beleaguered lead Jeffery disposed of a roomful of hookers with a stash of tainted crack which caused them to literally explode. I’m seriously not even making this shit up! One final improvised nod goes to Enzo Milioni’s giallo, The Sister of Ursula, which saw victims being well and truly shafted by a large wooden dildo. One can only imagine the splinters, must have been like getting fucked by Pinocchio with Geppetto egging him on in the background. It is with a heavy heart that we reach the end of our expedition into ad-hoc horror. Just remember, the next time you’re watching a Ron Jeremy skin-flick, make sure you secure your chastity belt.




Click here to read I is for Impervious



The Boulder Basher Interlude



This may seem irrelevant but I promise you that the following fable is perfectly in-keeping with our improvisation theme. It all started one fateful evening as my grandmother donated a pair of black shoes as a token of her affection. These weighty boulder-bashers as I unaffectionately referred to them were more hideous than one of Ratman’s stool samples and donated them to her dear grandson the evening before my first day of secondary school. How could she? Resembling two gargantuan blackened clown shoes, they were evidently constructed by grafting Romans, and proved virtually indestructible. Five motherfucking years I dragged those heinous Jurassic tap shoes to school like an inebriated AT-AT. Try as I may (and God I tried!) I simply couldn’t defeat them. I scuffled walls, left them out in blizzards, and even took a Swiss Army knife to the bastards, but alas no dice.


This heinous footwear robbed me of at least 47.5% of my street cred and spread farther the masturbation phase of my adolescence in one fell swoop. I could hear them snickering from the corner of my room at the dead of night, reminding my sorry feet of the next day’s ill-fated run-out. Like hand luggage at an airport, I carried them everywhere, and the Boulder Bashers will likely still haunt me on my death-bed. When my grandmother felt the Reaper’s icy pinch, I used them to store her ashes and they now sit on my mantle piece like a pair of battered dodgems. Based on a sadly true story, it’s all true up to the cremation. How’s that for improv bitch?






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