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John’s Horror Corner: Little Deaths (2011)

December 29, 2012

MY CALL:  More about sick sexual themes than horror or death, this anthology presents a perverse trio of unlinked shorts that I hesitate to recommend to anyone other than fans of the torture-porn or Tokyo Gore Shock subgenres.  It’s just for people who want to be shocked by the appalling.  [B-/C+IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH:  If you like this for what it is, then aim for The Human Centipede films.  Otherwise, some fun, decent or clever anthologies include (in order of release date) Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Creepshow 2 (1987), Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie (1990), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Campfire Tales (1997), 3 Extremes (2004), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), The Theater Bizarre (2011), V/H/S (2012), and the upcoming The ABC’s of Death (2012) and The Profane Exhibit (2012 or 2013).

The French word for orgasm translates into “little death,” clearly the etymology of this title.

This British anthology is about the most perverted I’ve seen.  Not for gore, torture or murderous means, but such from the darkest and most sexually depraved recesses of the fragmented mind.  These tales feature rape, masturbation, psychological abuse and BDSM…and images of full frontal nudity (male and female), urination, mutant genitals, vaginal bleeding, ejaculation and semen, with many of these themes and elements present in more than one of the shorts.   The “horror” themes seem minor; rarely supernatural and serving more to “end” the short stories instead or drive them.  This is clearly an inappropriate film which should not be taken lightly, not be presented to minors (or even most adults), or really recommended at all lest you be someone with cinematic tastes favoring shocking extremes.

Unlike more thoughtful anthologies, the three short films of this movie are not linked by an over-arching concept or storyteller.  They are simply presented one after another, each of them with shock-value-driven themes and lousy endings.  Below, I present a synopsis and critique of each short film.

House and Home–written and directed by Sean Hogan (Summer’s Blood writer)

Richard and Victoria Gull are an upper-middle class British couple that appear equal parts caring and cold.  Posing as religious do-gooders they lure homeless people into their homes for a kind meal, a bath and a night in a warm bed.  After luring a young woman (intriguingly named Sorrow) to their home for dinner, they drug her and take turns doing, ummmm, things to her.  MY CALL:  Sure, it opens and endures with a solid, sick but well-done, shock-schlock cinema appeal.  But it’s ending degenerates into something overly simplistic as if the writers, or perhaps the director, got lazy and dumped some gaudy scene on us that relied on gore as a crutch rather than a cinematic device.  [B-/C+]

Mutant Tool— written and directed by Andrew Parkinson (Venus Drowning, Dead Creatures)

Jen is an ex-prostitute, a drug dealer and an addict looking to kick her bad habits–all of them.  She seeks medical assistance from a shady doctor who prescribes a new, very promising drug that has its share of side effects including hallucinations and increased “sexuality.”  However, the doctor is more concerned with experimenting on his patients than helping them.  MY CALL:  After a quick, cheap opening shock, this story really doesn’t go anywhere until the very end, when an inanely ridiculous twist ending is shoved in our face.  Depending on your taste, you might even get a laugh out of it.  [C-]

Bitch–written and directed by Simon Rumley (The Living and the Dead, The ABC’s of Death)

Pete and Claire share an interesting relationship.  Claire is a psychologically abusive domme who weaponizes her sexuality against Pete.  Claire also has an irrational fear of dogs even though she has Pete behave, live and “dress” as a dog for her domination pleasure.  MY CALL:  The ending is quite sick and was likely intended to represent some manner of poetic justice.  I would suggest that, outside of a little shock value, this venture failed while still being the best ending of the anthology’s shorts.  However, a fine job was done setting a depressed mood (from Pete’s perspective) using blue-tone soft lighting and gritty film.  Their relationship was depicted very effectively and, beyond the aim of this film, told an interesting story on its own.  [C+]

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  1. John’s Horror Corner: The Theater Bizarre (2011) « Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death (2013), and a guide to its short films | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner [INDEX] | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Old School Horror Corner: The Uncanny (1977) | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: V/H/S 2 (2013), another mixed bag horror anthology that’s worth a look for the adventurous | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Horror Corner: ABCs of Death 2 (2014), and a guide to its short films and directors. | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), a great horror anthology featuring mummies, killer black cats and amorous gargoyles. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Tales from the Crypt (1972), a truly classic horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: The Vault of Horrors (1973), not quite living up to its Tales from the Crypt prequel, but fun nonetheless. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. V/H/S Viral (2014), another found footage horror anthology with a couple of cool short stories | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: Creepshow (1982), a classic, campy, nostalgic horror anthology from Stephen King and George Romero! | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. 3 Days until Halloween! October Pick #5: Trick ‘r Treat (2007) | Movies, Films & Flix
  13. John’s Horror Corner: A Christmas Horror Story (2015), a holiday anthology complete with zombie elves, evil spirits and Santa fighting Krampus! | Movies, Films & Flix
  14. John’s Horror Corner: Deadtime Stories (1986), a wonderfully campy horror anthology with diverse effects and dark fairy tales. | Movies, Films & Flix
  15. John’s Horror Corner: Southbound (2015), five linked tales form this decent horror anthology with angels of death and the worst broken leg ever. | Movies, Films & Flix
  16. John’s Horror Corner: Holidays (2016), an excellent horror anthology with some shockingly good horror shorts. | Movies, Films & Flix
  17. John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), really not the best horror anthology, with a variety of perverted themes. | Movies, Films & Flix
  18. John’s Horror Corner: After Midnight (1989), a decent horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  19. John’s Horror Corner: The Willies (1990), a hokey kid-friendly-ish horror anthology starring Sean Astin. | Movies, Films & Flix
  20. John’s Horror Corner: Ghost Stories (2017), a horror anthology for beginners. | Movies, Films & Flix
  21. John’s Horror Corner: The Field Guide to Evil (2018), a horror anthology about folklore and mythology from around the world. | Movies, Films & Flix
  22. John’s Horror Corner: Dark Tales of Japan (2004; aka Suiyô puremia: sekai saikyô J horâ SP Nihon no kowai yoru), passable for a Japanese TV movie horror anthology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  23. John’s Horror Corner: Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989), a wonderful horror anthology series that keeps it light. | Movies, Films & Flix
  24. John’s Horror Corner: Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), a Lovecraftian horror anthology loaded with disgusting gore and slimy tentacle monsters. | Movies, Films & Flix
  25. John’s Horror Corner: All Hallow’s Eve (2013), the brutal gory horror anthology that spawned Art the Clown. | Movies, Films & Flix
  26. John’s Horror Corner: XX (2017), the horror anthology led by women in horror. | Movies, Films & Flix
  27. John’s Horror Corner: From a Whisper to a Scream (1987; aka The Offspring), a lower budget horror anthology with some zany-gory special effects. | Movies, Films & Flix
  28. John’s Horror Corner: Campfire Tales (1997), an underrated and often forgotten horror anthology with an awesome cast. | Movies, Films & Flix

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