FEARNET Movie Review - Little Deaths


I've often felt that you can generally judge a horror anthology by the quality of its finest segment. Basically, a loyal horror fan will muddle through one or two passable tales if there's a promise of something nastily worthwhile on the other side. Even the finest horror anthologies (I'm thinking Dead of Night, Asylum, Creepshow, Twilight Zone: The Movie, and Trick 'r Treat, although feel free to choose your own), you often see a little bit of a "dip" in excitement from tale to tale.

The new horror anthology from Great Britain entitled Little Deaths solves that problem rather succinctly: it offers 3 straightforward horror tales, and each one works exceedingly well in its own right. As a whole, the flick stands as one of the most unique and challenging horror anthologies in quite some time. The title refers to term "la petite morte," which means "the little death," and is a metaphor for an orgasm. Now that you have that information, or already knew it, you have a good idea of the themes and ideas that are about to be tossed around in Little Deaths.

Basically, it's three dark horror tales that deal with human sexuality in some deeply unpleasant ways.

Story one comes from Sean Hogan, whom you may remember from a low-key creeper called Lie Still (aka The Haunting of 24), and it sets the stage quite well. It's the tale of a well-off, but clearly odd couple who invite a homeless woman home for dinner -- but they have some decidedly unkind plans in store for their unlikely houseguest. Hogan keeps the tone subtly creepy and slyly amusing, up to and including a finale you might see coming, but may find deviously satisfying anyway.

The second chapter springs from the clearly and creatively fractured mind of Andrew Parkinson (I, Zombie, Venus Drowning), and it almost defies description -- but I'll try: a sleazy call girl finds herself metaphysically connected to a vile beast that's being kept captive so that a mad scientist can harvest its vital (and very icky) fluids. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't completely "get" Parkinson's story, but as an abstract piece with material both starkly disturbing and absurdly weird, it's certainly something to see.

The third tale hails from the wonderfully dark reaches of Simon Rumley's imagination, and as anyone who's seen The Living and the Dead or Red, White & Blue can attest, this is a filmmaker who's powerfully unafraid to delve into dark corners that very few filmmakers even consider. His "Bitch" is about a couple who share a very strong (and very unbalanced) game of "master and servant." And let's just say that while the male half of the couple is the "dog" in this relationship. well, every dog does have his day. Punctuated by ice-cold cruelty and an unflinching eye on some strange sexual politics, Rumley's tale closes Little Deaths with an admirable punch in the gut that will certainly have people talking.

Admirably bereft of a pointless "framework" story, the three tales have little in common beside the obvious permutations of {sex + horror} -- but since each 25-minute piece would certainly stand alone as a solid horror short, there's no good reason to not enjoy them in one tight little package.