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Petite Mort, La Print E-mail
User Rating: / 6
Written by Ray Casta   
Friday, 19 November 2010

Directed by: Marcel Walz
Written by: Marcel Walz
Produced by: Thomas Buresch
Cinematography by: Andreas Pape , Marcel Walz
Music by: Michael Donner
Special FX: Olaf Ittenbach
Cast: Manoush, Inés Zahmoul, Anna Habeck, Andreas Pape, Annika Strauss, Magdalena Kalley, Thomas Kercmar
Year: 2009
Country: Germany
Language: German
Color: Color
Runtime: 72 min

How exactly can a film like "La Petite Mort" fail?  Presented by Ryan Nicholson (creator of "Torched", "Gutterballs" and "Hanger"), "La Petite Mort" is directed by the sick, demented mind of "Tortura" creator, Marcel Walz and features special effects by one of the ultimate masters of gore, Olaf Ittenbach!

The film follows three friends, Dodo (Anna Habeck), Simon (Andreas Pape) and his blind girlfriend Nina (Inés Zahmoul) as they set sights on Mallorca, Spain for their summer vacation.  Unfortunately, their flight gets delayed.  To kill time, they decide to sightsee throughout Frankfurt, Germany.  After they get mugged, they stop at a downtown club called "Maison de la petit mort" for a drink.  The club appears to be dreary, drab and sleazy.  To her disgust, Dodo makes her outright distaste of the club known.  She happens to offend two women who help run the establishment: Dominique (Annika Strauss) and Angelique (Magdalena Kalley), the twisted daughters of Madame Fabienne (Manoush), who owns the place.  However, this is absolutely not your average club or bar.  It is a front for a profitable torture business.  Madame Fabienne's methods are cruel and torturous.  Under her rule, Dominique and Angelique help inflict excruciating pain and suffering against Dodo and her friends for making a mockery out of them and their sexuality.

"La Petite Mort", the title of the film, is a French translation for "the little death" -- a metaphor for orgasm.  As a "spiritual" release comes with orgasm, sex and death are linked.  Marcel Walz uses the title to its full advantage, implying the sex and death theme to its extreme.  These victims do not understand the world in which Madame Fabienne and her daughters occupy.  Like the Nina character, they are "blind" to pain and pleasure.  In a sequence where Madame Fabienne does her own form of "acupuncture" to a helpless victim, she ponders how another can judge a person by their sexual desires and preferences.  In her world, she is in total control.  Therefore, she cannot understand what it is like to be submissive -- a victim like Dodo whom she welcomes to her house by penetrating her arms with sharp needles.  Dodo and her friends are now in another world.  No rules apply.  They have no control over what will happen to them.  Their nasty degradation and torture is filmed, such as the "Maskhead"-esque sequence where the daughters put on costumes themselves are dress up Nina as a mouse, and put a mouse trap on her tongue.

What happens to the victims in "
La Petite Mort" ultimately satisfies the gorehound in us.  Although the movie is not as major of a gorefest you may hope for, its graphic violence stays sadistic once the tone is set.  With Olaf Ittenbach's incredible gore effects, no CGI is needed and nothing is kept from us as the victims are brutally tortured and dispatched for the pleasure of sadists.  Madame Fabienne is perfectly played by the fabulous Manoush, who is in complete control of her character throughout.  This is only business for her, and she runs everything like a high-powered executive at a booming corporation.  Her daughters are played by the beautiful Annika Strauss and Magdalena Kalley -- and they will do anything their mother says.  They are loyal servants, and can be every bit as cruel as their mother.  The victims make us feel the pain they're experiencing as they re-enact every bit of fear and terror effectively.  A standout of the cast is the most over-the-top role, played by Thomas Kercmar.  His perverse character Freiherr von Breitenau is a regular, a high paying customer of Madam Fabienne.  Maniacal, he is like a kid in a candy store as his fantasies come to life.

Not without its share of flaws, "La Petite Mort" could have surely done without the erratic jumping images which occur primarily throughout the scenes of violence.  The cinematography is too good for this method to be applied during these particular moments, which come across as overdone and unnecessary.  It makes it seem as if the filmmakers were rushing too quickly to wrap everything up.  At a brief 72-minutes, the movie truly deserved a more satisfying conclusion.

Despite its shortcomings, it is quite difficult for a horror film like this to fail.  With extraordinary talent at his disposal, Marcel Welz follows up "Tortura" with a movie that accomplishes what it initially set out to do.  Depraved and nasty, "
La Petite Mort" is precisely the type of film that we gorehounds like!


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