Wednesday, June 3

A Classic in Retro: Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)

Reptilian #620?

A.K.A. The Incredible Torture Show
Directed by Joel M. Reed
88 Minutes / Vestron Video VHS from 1984 / Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen (Filmed in GHOUL-O-VISION)

This is what happens when you have a dingy basement, a charismatic Lugosi-like "magician" lead, a midget, power tools, basic carpentry skills, a few liters of bright 3M blood, and a seemingly endless supply of "actresses" willing to get completely bareass on-camera. Let gore pioneer turned advertising mogul H.G. Lewis wonder about the set and hire John Waters for an hour. The result would resemble something damn close to this classic shower-afterward gem.

Though no, the actuality is the sublime product of a reluctant director/writer. The one aspect that strikes me every viewing are the solid performances. Everyone either displays a level of competence well beyond the need or gets the complete stupidity of it all--queue the dancing, blowgun wielding dwarf and bountiful titties.

Seamus O'Brien as Master Sardu plays up the Price Guignol factor to the hilt, being the cheapjack plaster holding this trash together. According the IMDB, he was stabbed to death a mere year after this film's completion in a robbery attempt. Little person Luis De Jesus giggles his way through the runtime as Ralphus--Sardu's devious righthand littleman. The actor got his start in The Anal Dwarf as, you guessed it, the Anal Dwarf and oddly went on to be an Ewok in some little known sci-fi trilogy. Everyone else stayed on the low-end of the spotlight or made their only fateful appearance here.

Did I mention the naked ladies? No sexual antics are to be witnessed, except some corpse manlove, but a cavalcade of flopping breasts and dark pubic hair await you. The "effects" are just barely; spurting molasses thick and vibrantly as our nubile girlies scream in terror over dismembered limbs, gouged eyes, and head crushing.

This is exemplary prime era exploitation, equally memorizing and "too much", with enough dirty after-the-fact history to make one yearn for a lesson. This now twenty-five-year-old Vestron VHS looks surprisingly great, but I still can't imagine seeing this finely aged cheese fully restored. Hopefully Troma will unveil a Tromasterpiece Collection special edition DVD someday. This endearing utter waste of film stock deserves explaination.

Film: 7.5/10
VHS Picture: 7/10
VHS Sound: 6/10

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