Way back in high school, my drama class did a performance of Much Ado About Nothing. From that play I learned the term “to die in your lap”. That line comes from the French term la petite mort, which means “the little death”. During the Renaissance, I think it was, the French (those romantic devils) believed that when you had an orgasm, you died briefly, thus the little death. So, when I picked up Little Deaths, I automatically figured it would be dealing with sex and death. It does. But you’ll most likely die from boredom.
Little Deaths consists of three stories: ”House and Home”, “Mutant Tool”, and “Bitch”. The first entry is about a wealthy couple who invite a homeless girl into their home. They clean her up, give her clothes, and feed her. Their good intentions and religious spouting aside, they find it fun to tie her to the bed and rape her. That’s how the couple get their rocks off. I don’t want to spoil the ending to this one, but it’s not really that surprising once it comes.
“Mutant Tool” is the weirdest, and considering what the third story covers, that’s saying something. A former drug addict and prostitute is given a new medication. That medication is made from the secretions of this person held prisoner at the pharmaceutical company. They milk this dude dry to get the meds, you know. For the poor recovering ex-prostitute, it has some trippy side effects. The pill links her to the prisoner, and she feels his pain.
The last story, “Bitch”, is about another urban couple with their own set of problems. The faithful husband is cuckolded, and must endure humiliation from his wife at home and in public. Yet, he likes it, even when she has him dress like a dog. Yes, he dresses like a dog, complete with leash, and has his own doghouse in a room in their apartment. They even enjoy pegging. Google it, with the filters off. When the wife goes too far, the husband formulates a plan of revenge, involving real dogs because his wife is terrified of them.
Little Deaths is so cold and clinical by the end that it’s sleep inducing. Nothing is shocking, which was the overall aim. It’s a few years too late. If it had been released in the mid- to late 1990s, maybe then it would have had more of an impact. With the Internet, we’ve all seen more shocking sexually themed material. We’ve all seen better. Most modern thriller and horror novels are edgier.
Little Deaths is not scary, thought inducing, or arousing, even in a forbidden taboo kind of way. It’s not even repulsive. To riff on my high school days, it’s a whole lot about nothing.
2 out of 5