It's an insane concept that shouldn't work: Assemble an anthology film comprised of 26 shorts, each directed by a different independent genre filmmaker and centered around a specific letter of the alphabet. Oh, and each segment has to depict the final seconds of at least one person's life.

Despite its inherent riskiness, The ABCs of Death (available on VOD this Thursday before it opens theatrically on March 8) is a real triumph, albeit one with a few minor missteps. Not all of the 26 segments are successful, but when The ABC's of Death works, it's an unbridled, audacious, see-it-to-believe-it shot to the system. Amongst the ambitious project's many high-points are Ben Wheatley's "U is for Unearthed," Marcel Sarmiento's "D is for Dogfight," Timo Tjahjanto's "L is for Libido," and Jason Eisener's "Y is for Youngbuck," all of which hose rank alongside the best horror productions in recent years.

In honor of The ABCs of Death, we're keeping the spirit of life cut short alive by looking back at cinema's most unappealing on-screen demises. Ceasing to exist, no matter how it happens, isn't a good thing, of course—these fatalities, however, are the ultimate pits. Sit back, count your blessings (and breaths), and figure out how to avoid falling victim to The 100 Worst Ways to Die (As Seen in Movies).

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)