Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #294
Number of Views: One
Release Date: 25 February 2011 (Film4 FrightFest)
Genre: Erotic Horror Anthology
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Running Time: 94 minutes
Directors: Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson, Simon Rumley
Producers: Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson, Samantha Wright
Screenplay: Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson, Simon Rumley
Special Effects: Dan Martin
Cinematography: Milton Kam
Score: Richard Chester, Andrew Parkinson
Editing: Robert Hall, Jennifer Sheridan
Studio: Almost Midnight Productions
Distributor: Imagination Worldwide, Image Entertainment (United States)
Stars: Holly Lucas, Luke de Lacey, Siubhan, James Oliver Wheatley, Jodie Jameson, Daniel Brocklebank, Brendan Gregory, Christopher Fairbank, Rob ‘Sluggo’ Boyce, Mike Anfield, Scott Ainslie, Steel Wallis, Tom Sawyer, Kate Braithwaite, Tommy Carey, Amy-Joyce Hastings
Suggested Audio Candy
Metasylar “Final Part”
Sex and death. Let’s face it, the pair sit together rather well. Back in those illustrious eighties, a brace of mammalia and a flash of fur was considered the norm but, in truth, it stretches far further back to a time of petticoats and pearl necklaces. Hammer and Amicus loved themselves some titties and they were rather partial to an anthology also. It has come to my attention that certain tastes haven’t been catered for too much of late and it’s high time that shit changes. So when, during an interview with a dear friend, it was established that Little Deaths may have slipped under my radar I had my back-to-front strap-on strapped on and tightened to the penultimate notch. I was ready; feeling like catching up on my biology and faithful that my appetite for all that is erotic and macabre would be well and truly sated.
Sean Hogan and Andrew Parkinson may well be unknown to many of you but Simon Rumley is the man responsible for The Living & The Dead and Red, White & Blue; two films, neither of which I have yet seen, which have received their fair share of praise within the industry. Each bags themselves a segment and the brief is simple; sex, death and any exploratory common themes. Of course, when erotica and horror mesh, things tend to get a little freaky. How could they not with such over-industrious imaginations? We think nothing of a little forced bondage, not a jot of a dash of role-playing, and precious little about a genetically consolidated mutation with a schlong burly enough to keep a cottage chill out if placed behind dead-bolt. Bring that shit; we’re all friends here. We all have desires and, guess what, some of those are pretty stanky so do your worst guys.
Little Deaths is a curious little feature; all three efforts boast similar tones and piece together clinically but many will find it discombobulating and incoherent as that’s just the nature of the beast. This is designed with a particular demographic in mind; those willing to put in the legwork and let their mental wanderlust carry them into the darkest crawlspaces. There are plenty littered around; feeling disturbed and mildly unsanitary is par for the course here as it explores our breed at its most primal and light often can’t extinguish the blackness. That is the ultimate goal; to leave us scratching like scabby flea-bitten mutts and, by the time a submissive man-pooch cocked his leg up and pissed in the kitchen, I’ll admit to feeling a mild mental psoriasis. Sharing is caring so prepare for some mind-fuckery Grueheads. All hazmat suits securely fastened? Protective goggles down? Shall we?
House & Home
We slide in dry as the first segment assumes position without the helping hand of a wraparound. Instead the three tales are each connected by their cinematography. In the interest of tantra, I’ll provide mere foreplay as I don’t wish to rob another of the experience. A couple of salacious suburbanites Richard (Luke de Lacey) and Victoria (Siubhan Harrison) coerce seemingly down-on-her-luck Sorrow (Holly Lucas) back to their chamber, ply her with alcohol, and reveal their sinister ambitions to the girl through somewhat forceful means. After all, what’s a little light S&M between new BFF’s? House & Home is an enticing entrée which whets the appetite nicely and explores the class difference between those of grande bourgeoisie and the so-called bottom feeding dregs of society; throwing back some sobering answers.
The married couple is cold, barren and yearning while Sorrow is content with her life-choices and has the richness of real love in her heart. When it comes to the bite Lucas chomps down hard but it’s the build-up to the act which packs the formidable punch here, in particular, her nonchalance to any atrocities which befall her. She takes it in her stride and conveys a plethora of emotion through the blankest of gazes. As much as the chain is ultimately slackened, Hogan exhibits a surprising amount of restraint and leaves the mastication for our minds. As a result, House & Home is a rather tantalizing opener which teases but then leaves us percolating.
House & Home Rating: 7/10
If the appetizer is there to lubricate our minds then the aptly named Mutant Tool is there to fuck our eyeballs through their sockets and cum within our cerebral crust. If that sounds appealing then bear in mind the instrument of annihilation is precisely that; a weapon of mass destruction. This monster cock does enough purely by dangling to warrant a credit and is the kind of dong David Cronenberg skips rope on in his mind. Tethered behind a plastic sheet with a bucket amassing any discharge; the freak of nature has its own keepers, one of which, Frank packs his disoriented girlfriend Jennifer (Jodie Jameson) off to the physician where she becomes lab-monkey for a pioneering new drug.
Side effects vary from increased sexual appetite to bizarre jolting visions; and the twain meet with regularity. Every time Jodie suffers an episode our mutant involuntarily dances with itself and the pail fills a little more. If this isn’t making a blind bit of sense right now, that is entirely intentional I assure you. Mutant Tool is right at home in Little Deaths as, aside from French translation la petite mort meaning orgasm, it also denotes the post-orgasmic state of unconsciousness that some women have after sexual experiences. There’s nothing petite about the morts Jodie is experiencing and, with each labored breath, she becomes more inexplicably joined with the filthy little secret behind the curtain. Still confused? Then watch Parkinson’s barmy entry for yourself as it is backed up with answers, none of which are pretty.
Mutant Tool Rating: 7/10
Our third and final vignette features yet another off-kilter couple, Pete (Tom Sawyer) and Claire (Kate Braithwaite). The pair is locking horns in a power struggle of sorts; behind closed doors Pete plays bitch and really gets into character. Shit, the dude even has his own kennel. In public the pendulum swings and he gets to live out his alpha fantasy. This fluctuates from shielding Claire from harm when dogs pass as she has an irrational fear of canines, to threatening to snuff his significant other’s lifeforce where she’s seated in a populated bar. Either way, she’s the bitch right up until home time and then the lead changes hands once more.
Primary colors are used to highlight dominance and submission and the more that Tom sees red, the closer he comes to redressing the balance. Progressively the two worlds collide and eventually the colors bleed together; culminating in a denouement which is truly horrific without needing to resort to visual stimuli. We have five senses, six if we’re Haley Joel Osmont, but hearing is the one which will be paramount here. While the eyes can’t discern the ears still burn and Bitch turns us into its bitch unapologetically. On this evidence, Rumley’s mind is a fairly shadowy locale and this is perfectly poised at the tail end as it leaves you needing that post-coitus smoke which I’m assured was the intention.
Bitch Rating: 7/10
Little Deaths is not, and I stress, NOT for everyone. The title alone (a term for orgasm), should give that away from the offset. It doesn’t pander to its audience, neither does it offer an easy ride. In that respect, it’s actually a lot like intercourse. Occasionally awkward, sporadically stimulating, and frequently intoxicating; it may well leave you breathless but could just as easily leave you stone cold depending on your predilection and how much you hand yourself over to its care. Once it’s over, it leaves a blood-red rose on your pillowcase and bolts for the door, leaving you vulnerable and feeling a little used. Again, I’m positive this is intentional. Alas, for all its kinks, Little Deaths never quite delivers its namesake.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10
Grue Factor: 3/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: Sex and death both have decent representation but all three directors practice remarkable restraint, thus allowing our minds to wander. There is flesh; some bloodied and some clammy. But the real debauched shit exists mostly in our minds and any film which can fuck your head so effectively is worth lubing up for in Keeper’s book.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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