Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)
By: Devon B. on June 14, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Joel M. Reed
Starring: Seamus O'Brian, Louise de Jesus, Niles McMaster, Viju Krim, Allan Dellay, Dan Fauci, Ernie peysher, Lynette Sheldon
Screenplay: Joel M. Reed
Country: USA
AKA: The Incredible Torture Show

One could easily assume that the inclusion of feral, naked, cannibal women in a film is a guaranteed way to offer cheap thrills. Bloodsucking Freaks is in existence to prove there is exception to this rule.

The film was originally called The Incredible Torture Show, but when Troma picked it up for distribution, they retitled it. I am all for accurate retitlings, and there is indeed a freak of a man who sucks bloody bits of brain from a girl's head, but the original title is more appropriate. Many mistakenly think the original title was a reference to the characters' suffering, but actually the title was citing the suffering the audience would endure while trying to watch this putrid film.

As usual, the film has an intro by Lloyd Kaufman, here only labeling himself as the 'president of Troma,' evidently having briefly toyed with the idea of dropping the 'creator of the Toxic Avenger' bit from his title.

Bloodsucking Freaks is about a Grand Guignol theatre in New York where women are tortured for an audience. For real. The audience naturally thinks it's just a show. There is some other nonsense about an abducted critic to the show and a ballerina who's gone missing, but to pretend there was anything more to the story than nude women being tormented would be misleading.

Bloodsucking Freaks was helmed by people previously involved in the sex film industry. Perhaps after getting used to their audiences wanting to see as much as possible, when they went into the horror genre, they took this same approach of leaving naught to the imagination. The result is nearly an entire film of naked women being tortured…horribly. No, not horribly tortured, the effects just look horrible. The film made Stanley Wiater's list of the most disturbing horror films ever made. I've never been overly disturbed by the movie, simply because it's impossible to take anything serious in a film where the now titular bloodsucking freak sings opera while unconvincingly drilling open a girl's head. Or where a dwarf, actor Luis "The Anal Dwarf" de Jesus, uses a severed head as a sex toy. Luis evidently had another go at a decapitated cranium, albeit much more explicitly, in an porno film a few years later…not the kind of behavior one expects from a man who played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi.

Curiously, Bloodsucking Freaks has an R rating for 'medium level violence,' while another, much tamer Troma film I got for review at the same time (Legend of the Chupacabra) is rated R for 'high level violence.' Oh, those wacky people at the OFLC, always keeping you guessing what they're thinking!
Bloodsucking Freaks is presented at 1.33:1. The film has specks, scratches, grain, and sometimes there's a haze near the top of the screen. The image is a little soft with some trailing, but it's sharper than VHS releases. It IS a 30 year old, low budget film, though.
The audio is a two channel English track, which I assume is the original audio. It didn't appear to be remastered at all
Extra Features
The menu for Bloodsucking Freaks is VERY hard to read. This is one of the earlier Stomp Troma releases, so the coming distractions section is merely crossed out, as is the Troma Intelligence Test. There are the usual general Troma extras: The interactive Tour of Troma; the Aroma du Troma clip set to Motörhead's 'Sacrifice;' an ad for a book by Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma; public service announcements number one and two; an ad for the Troma site; and of course, the Radiation March.

For the film specific features, there's a rather small still collection, and interviews and a commentary hosted by horror up and comer Eli Roth. The interview section is Roth, merely labeled as a 'licensed cinematician' as this was before Cabin Fever, interviewing members of the cast and crew for about four minutes. The commentary is Roth on his own. He gives tons of info on the film, but a lot of it is facetious. Regardless of the joking stuff, Roth either did heaps of research, or is WAY too interested in this film. There are a few short stretches of silence, but the commentary remains interesting and fun throughout.
The Verdict
Bloodsucking Freaks has heaps of nudity and gore, but it's all so over the top, it's just silly and eventually gets boring. It may be sadistic, but it's also tongue in cheek. Yes, there are similarities to Wizard of Gore, but this is nowhere near as fun.
Movie Score
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