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UK Fango correspondent Jay Slater has entered the world of fright filmmaking, and has done so as part of an exciting project: LITTLE DEATHS, an omnibus feature containing segments by three notable British filmmakers: Simon Rumley, whose brutal RED WHITE & BLUE is currently touring the festival circuit; Andrew Parkinson, the man behind the Fango Video releases I, ZOMBIE and DEAD CREATURES; and Sean Hogan, who helmed THE HAUNTING OF #24 and co-wrote last year’s SUMMER’S MOON. Slater, one of the project’s executive producers, passed on a bunch of exclusive pics, and he and the directors talked it up as well.
LITTLE DEATHS, which is currently in the editing stage, was shot on the RED ONE hi-def camera by Milton Kam, the DP behind RED WHITE & BLUE and Rumley’s previous THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. Unlike most anthologies, this one has no framing device linking its stories: Hogan’s “House & Home” (pictured here), Rumley’s “Bitch” and Parkinson’s “Mutant Tool.” “It was the film festival lifestyle that got us together,” Slater says of the project, on which Canadian veteran Pierre David, Doug Abbot and Ivan Clements also serve as executive producers, with Samantha Wright producing. “I had met Parkinson and Hogan at Fantasporto and Rumley at Fantastic Fest, and as we all live in London, we meet up on a regular basis. About two years ago, we were all in a London pub, and it suddenly hit me: We could all work together on a film—an anthology by Britain’s leading horror directors. It seemed to click, and everything fell into place. It’s a highly interesting project inspired by creativity from people who know the genre inside out. They all put 100 percent into it, and are die-hard horror fanatics who live and breathe it with an unequal passion. Suffice to say, we make a great team.”
The filmmakers also felt no restrictions in tackling provocative material in their segments; “House & Home,” for example, focuses on a perverted yuppie couple who target homeless girls as participants in their disturbing, kinky activities. “I’d been wanting to write something about sexual power games for a while,” Hogan tells Fango. “I’m always interested in obsessive, extreme characters, so that subject matter seemed like a good fit! After having done a subtle, suggestive horror film last time round, I wanted to go to the opposite extreme and make something where I could throw blood and various other bodily fluids all over the walls. I’d also had an experience where a script of mine was produced but watered down quite heavily, so I was definitely in the mood to make something quite intense and uncompromised.”
He didn’t want to be gratuitous about it, though, and aimed to have the graphic sex and violence serve his narrative. “Extreme content doesn’t bother me at all—I grew up on a diet of video nasties!—but I find extremity for extremity’s sake increasingly dull,” Hogan notes. “Horror movies can pretty much show you anything these days; the question is, why are they showing it to you? There’s a world of difference between the SAW movies and MARTYRS, for instance: One is a franchise based around nothing more than a series of elaborate torture setpieces, the other is actually about suffering, which is a lot more interesting. LITTLE DEATHS may end up being a fairly extreme movie, but that came about in a very organic fashion. It deals with a kind of psychosexual underworld, a collection of characters with very twisted psyches. And if you’re going to cover that kind of subject matter, you may as well be honest and up-front about it. The trick is to do it at a budget level where you have enough freedom to be relatively fearless. This was a tricky film to make even on a low budget, but it might never have been done had the cost been any higher.
“The only real responsibility you have is to tell your story honestly and as well as possible—you can never please everybody anyway,” he continues. “But LITTLE DEATHS, for better and for worse, is absolutely the film we wanted to make. We fought very hard to keep our independence, so any audiences watching it can at least be assured that it’s a very personal, idiosyncratic kind of horror film, which can be a rarity in this day and age.” And that includes its treatment of the carnality at its core. “A lot of horror movies seem to be very scared of dealing with sex as anything other than something horny teenagers do just before they get killed! It’s a big taboo area for the most part, and we figured that’s exactly the kind of subject matter the genre should cover. So the three stories are very sexually confrontational in many ways, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of reactions they provoke.
“We certainly got a lot of interesting responses to the script! Some people condemned it as borderline pornography; others thought it was so extreme it was funny! But reading it on the page was one thing; filming it was quite another. I don’t know if it’ll ever be as shocking as the kind of pictures a reader can conjure up in their head. But I would say that there are probably one or two things in there that have never been seen in a horror movie before.”
Stay tuned for more exclusive LITTLE DEATHS comments and pics in the coming days!
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