“Little Deaths” is a psycho-sexual horror anthology with three narratively unrelated but thematically linked segments.
In writer/director Simon Rumley’s segment, titled “Bitch,” Kate Braithewaite and Tom Sawyer play Claire and Pete, a couple in a sado-masochistic relationship. When Claire’s sexual games become more than he can bear, Pete puts in motion a series of events that will give his girlfriend a taste of her own medicine.
“This was a story that I had conceived back when I was 19 at university,” Rumley explains. “I was in bed with my girlfriend at the time, who was naked. A spider fell on her and she completely freaked out. I started writing a short story about a younger Gothic couple who were in an abusive relationship and the guy gets back at the girl by tying her up and pouring lots of spiders on her.”
Rumley never quite finished the story but always kept it in the back of his mind. When the opportunity to contribute a segment to “Little Deaths” came along, he decided to change the spiders to dogs, which he thought would be visually more climactic. However, while the experience will undoubtedly haunt viewers, that was not necessarily the case for Rumley.
“I mean, it was an idea that I had had for quite a long time,” Rumley explains.. “It had been in my mind for 20 years, which is quite disturbing in and of itself when I think about it. The shot with the gravy was certainly one that did stick with me, though. When I wrote that, I thought that it was pretty grim. And when we shot it, it looked pretty grim, as well.”
Rumley – whose filmography includes such cult horror flicks as “The Living and the Dead” and “Red, White & Blue” – is no stranger to the short film format. In fact, one of the filmmaker’s favorite parts of making “Bitch” was the opportunity to work with many of the people with whom he collaborated on his 2006 short “The Handyman.”
Moreover, Rumley will return to the short film format for his next effort, a segment in “The ABC’s of Death” – a 26-chapter horror anthology in which established directors and emerging new stars from all over the world will each interpret a different letter of the alphabet that represents a word to act as a springboard for a short story about death.
“It is basically about a woman who is struggling to survive,” says Rumley, noting he was assigned the letter “P” and therefore chose to tackle Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. “She has three children and one of their birthdays is coming up and it is about how she manages to buy presents for the kid. There is no dialogue in it whatsoever.”
After that, Rumley intends to move on to “Stranger,” a chase-flick he calls a cross between Steven Spielberg’s “Duel” and Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” about two venture capitalists who find themselves in a dangerous situation in China. After that, he will direct “Skin,” a revenge thriller written by Adam Alleca about a young woman whose face is essentially ruined by a plastic surgeon.
“Little Deaths” (NR – 94 minutes) is now available on DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley.