Composed of three disturbingly sensual and terrifying short narratives, unified by the twin themes of sex and death.
Out of the UK comes a pretty edgy anthology featuring 3 shorter pieces dealing directly with sex and death. The shorts feature some top notch story-telling elevating it slightly above others of its genre by not holding back on the erotically deviant content. I was surprised with the application of the 3 which features some pretty racy adult themes that you wouldn’t see in mainstream productions. Speaking of production, “Little Deaths” is simply well done and doesn’t ever feel like another micro budget project that we’ve seen recycled so many time over. It succeeds with some bizarre ideas that are unlike anything we’ve seen.
In the first of the 3 “House and Home”, we encounter a well-to-do couple who like to mix sex, pain, and pleasure into their bedroom game-playing. As the husband targets vagrants and those down and out, he indulges his and his wife’s urges by welcoming them into their home for a fine meal and chance to clean themselves up. The decoy of doing the “Lord’s” work appears to paint them as legitimate enough to strangers who take the bait and face the consequences of getting something for nothing. Viewers will love this piece that does a great job of a flip-around scenario filled with unexpected surprises around every corner. This, while keeping itself within the realm of highly graphical taboo situations provides a great treat in the way of paradoxal transformations. I simply can’t spoil all the fun here but it struck me as a piece that we “wished” the TV series “Fear Itself” would have introduced from time to time.
Now the 2nd of the batch “Mutant Tool” does what some of the best authors tend to pull. Bringing us into a situation without any information and letting us piece things together thru a slow build of visual and narrative elements. A covert operation is in effect that monitors the activities of a hanging body which they refer to as an “it” sporting a mutant penis. This penis which is actually revealed on screen secretes a fluid that is being used in the drug experimentation efforts by the doctor in charge. The doctor is trying his new drug on patients who fit the profile, but to do so has to keep a daily watch on the source of the pills per way of hired night guards. A retired prostitute begins to reactivate her former career a bit, when she begins taking the pill. The pill has a painful side effect that seems to be directly connected to the “hanging body” experiment himself. This leads to a dark connection with the mutant subject and its patients.
“Bitch” is a rather odd take on revenge and bizarre sexual fetishes. Our couple seems to delight in a room that houses a man-size dog house of which they carry out extra curricular sexual deviations. She has a phobia of dogs and the dog sex play acts somehow as a buffer to that effect. Much of this is hard to really get into on the whole of which seems oddly misplaced at times. The ending does wrap up the intention of the piece with a rather sweet sounding score overlayed on top. I believe viewers will make up their own minds here in a seemingly quirky revenge approach that leaves much up to the imagination.
Now on a whole, I will say there was just a bit “too” much penis in the film for me to sit comfortably. It’s of course not “all” penis, but in every short the director found some-way for one of the male actors to whip out his junk. On a whole, the anthology series runs pretty well delving into some weird and off the wall concepts for stories. I was relieved that it wasn’t “just” another “Tales from the Crypt” recycle of stories and actually took some chances in the dark and taboo areas. Directors Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson and Simon Rumley managed to put off a well intended collection of 3 misplaced pieces by packaging them into a cohesive whole edging more on the sexual side than horror. I’d say there is a stroke of brilliance that weaves in and out of the pieces. Just not enough to make the whole experience feel entirely in that classification.
Little Deaths (2011)