Horrific Sex without the STDs
Anthology of sex based horror tales
My heart usually drops when I hear of an anthology. Quite often, they are lame, or one segment sinks the whole attempt. Even worse, bad narration or some other silly thread holds many together. Rarely, in the case of UK’s FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1974), everything seems to click. However, this trio of shorts, also from the UK, may have put the anthology back on the watch list.
First we have “House and Home”, written and directed by Sean Hogan, which focuses on a couple that loves to bring home the homeless for some forced S&M. Featuring the lovely, and creepy in her own way, Siubhan Harrison as Victoria Gull, we instantly get caught up in the powerful wife, henpecked husband marriage that is not as hackneyed as we’re accustomed to. The story is dark, rich, and disturbing, which ultimately leads to a very satisfying and equally disturbing finish.
The truly odd one of the bunch is Andrew Parkinson’s “Mutant Tool” about a mad scientist continuing a bizarre Nazi experiment that is far removed from pleasant. Though fantastical, the grittiness of the story and its characters, mainly Jodie Jameson as Jen the prostitute who can’t escape her life, makes certain the disturbing element continues to reign.
“Bitch”, the final installment from Simon Rumley, definitely serves as the most poignant due to its reality-based foundation. Again, S&M comes into play, though this time consensual, but with a fetish that leads to a very harrowing end. Once more, actors keep the story hard, sharp and riveting with the fabulous Tom Sawyer (no lie) and Steel Wallis. In addition, this ending alone should have moviegoers talking for some time.
Though “Mutant Tool” is the weakest of the three, due to a somewhat convoluted plot for such a short venture, it easily surpasses the bulk of horror spewed out all too quickly.
The common thread is sex and violence when it comes to story, but another key component is the keen photographic eye of cinematographer Milton Kam, who has forty-two films to his credit, including THE LIVING AND THE DEAD (UK, 2006) and RED, WHITE & BLUE (2010). Each segment is dark, though one can easily capture everything that happens before the camera. This is special because there are no jarring transitions between each segment, though they do not all look the same. The most distinctive is Kam’s use of blue coloring for the final short, which further enhances that particular story’s theme.
The filmmakers and actors accomplished something wonderful with a low budget, proving once again that it’s not the money, but the will to produce quality. Though many may point to elements of misogyny, which automatically comes about from three male director/writers, all the female roles are strong and they do not come lightly to screen or story by any means.
This is definitely worthy of a rental, especially since UK’s up and coming young actors are showcased. We can only hope to see more of Sawyer and Willis, as well as the rest in future endeavors.
As for LITTLE DEATHS, this translates from “la petite mort”, French terminology for an orgasm. For horror fans, this movie just might bring them that coveted release they are looking for thanks to three intriguing tales far removed from the cliché-laden miasma that often chokes them.
4 out of 5 stars