Dir. Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson, Simon Rumley 90 mins
UK Release: 5th August 2013
Every time an anthology gets released I emit an audible shriek of excitement simply because it’s one of my favourite types of horror film. I feel the format suits the genre as more often than not, 30 minutes is the perfect length of time for a macabre tale. With Little Deaths my anticipation was turned up to 11 simply because two of the directors featured were behind the camera for a pair of movies I thought were phenomenal – Sean Hogan’s The Devil’s Business, and Simon Rumley’s Red, White & Blue. Add Andrew Parkinson into the mix (Dead Creatures) and we could well have an anthology to fawn over. Let’s see how it turned out.
Richard and Victoria are in bed. Richard is attempting to become amorous but Victoria, head in her book, rejects his advances. The next day we see Richard parked in his car watching a homeless couple, a pair which our middle-class suburbanites seem to have been keeping an eye on recently.
Indeed, the following day Richard approaches Sorrow, one half of the couple and tells her that him and his wife enjoy helping the homeless whenever they can and he invites her to his house for a hot meal and a bath. Richard insists that he and Victoria are people of Faith, and tells Sorrow that they take it very seriously. That night as Richard brings Sorrow into their home, both he and Victoria begin to act quite sinister and religious conversation dominates their agenda. With our fanatical couple plying her with wine, it’s not long before Sorrow passes out, but what diabolical scheme do Richard and Victoria have planned for her?
House & Home succeeds because it rejects the conventional route to which it lulls the viewer into expecting. Fifteen minutes spent with our psychopathic couple and you think you have it all worked out, but impressively Sean Hogan throws a curveball that both suits the story and provides a satisfying conclusion for us gore hungry observers.
Parkinson’s short begins in what appears to be a research clinic of some kind, and we find a patient being grilled to what is deemed an unsatisfying conclusion by those doing the interrogation. We then meet Jen (Jodie Jameson) who has been given a supply of hash and coke by her boyfriend Frank (Daniel Brocklebank) with the intention of supplying. In doing so she gets mugged, and upon returning home her unsympathetic boyfriend seems to be losing patience with her.
Meanwhile, we see Frank supplying Dr. Reese (Brendan Gregory) with an unnamed substance, and the doctor insisting that he must supply more. In the same conversation Frank asks for help for Jen to ease her addiction issues, and before we know it Jen is receiving some counselling from the aforementioned Dr. Reese. He supply’s her with some medication that he states “may have side effects”. We’re then introduced to Dr. Reese’s
research facility and an experiment that involves Nazis, a restrained mutant and the manufacture of a drug. It’s this drug that Jen is using, but how sinister are the side effects going to be, and what of this symbiotic relationship with the creature that is chained up in the research facility?
Mutant Tool is an excellent short, and as with most stories that revolve around Nazi orientated experimentation, all belief must be suspended to get the most out of it! Of the three, this may well be the one film that could have done with an extended running time, simply because it’s quite an ambitious story and some of the exposition seems a little rushed. That said, it’s still a great watch with excellent direction and special effects
on what must have been a limited budget. A special mention too for Jodie Jameson who as Jen turns in a great lead performance.
In Bitch, as we meet Claire (Kate Braithwaite), we ascertain she has a fairly mundane secretarial job and as we follow her home from work we also see that she exhibits a paralyzing fear of dogs. She lives with her boyfriend Pete (Tom Sawyer) with who she appears to have an almost schizophrenic relationship with. One minute she’s abusive towards him, the next she’s attempting to lure him into the bedroom. The one thing they do share together though is a fetish for Pete behaving like a dog, on the contrary to Claire’s real life disdain for the animal. One night we see Pete come home, take his clothes off and put on his dog mask before he walks around the apartment on all fours and cocks his leg to urinate on Claire’s underwear.
The next morning Claire realises what he’s done, and subjects him to act of depravity that involves nudity, Pete on all fours, and Claire with a strap-on. Welcome to the world of Simon Rumley.
Bitch is a powerful piece of work driven by two very strong characters indeed. Before you see it, it may be worth checking out Rumley’s other work as that would prepare you for the direction the filmmaker takes as well as an introduction to the themes that he frequently touches upon. My favourite part of this short was a lush four minute arrangement that preceded that final shot of the film, and shot which coupled with some horrific sound effects was the perfect way to end this anthology.
As Andrew Parkinson says himself on the extras for Little Deaths, how many are actually any good? The answer is quite simply more and more, especially of late as a new breed of filmmakers breathe new life into this format –
V/H/S, ABCs Of Death, Chillerama and now Little Deaths. It seems this new horror generation are actually showing how anthologies should be made. With Little Deaths, the gratifying part is undoubtedly not just that it’s home grown, but also that it raises the bar yet higher, and drives another nail into the increasingly dated admission that horror anthologies are not much cop.
8 out of 10
· Directors Commentary**
· Behind The Scenes**
· Theatrical Trailer**
· Also Available From Monster Pictures**