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BLOODSUCKING FREAKS(aka: THE INCREDIBLE TORTURE SHOW) (director/writer: Joel M. Reed; cinematographer: Gerry Toll; editors: Joel R. Herson/Victor Kanefsky; music: Michael Sahl; cast: Seamus O’Brien (Sardu), Luis De Jesus (Ralphus), Viju Krem (Natasha de Natalie), Dan Fauci (Sergeant John Tucci), Niles McMaster (Tom Maverick), Alan Dellay (Cresey Sielow), Ernie Pysher (The Doctor), Saiyanidi & Helen Thompson (Sardu’s Assistants); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alan C. Margolin; Troma; 1976)
The point of this crappy exploitation film is to be revolting, and if you’re not revolted by it you might be a sicko.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

If you will, a horror gore cult classic, created for viewers with a predilection for trash. Director-writer Joel M. Reed(“Night of the Zombies”/”Blood Bath”/”G.I. Executioner”) keeps it crass, grindhouse proper and torturous. The actors give uninteresting wooden performances, while the splatter story is poorly accomplished and the weirdo tale of cannibalism and an act of brain sucking seem nothing more than depraved entertainment. The point of this crappy exploitation film is to be revolting, and if you’re not revolted by it you might be a sicko.

In New York’s SoHo neighborhood, a third-rate oddball stage magician, Sardu (Seamus O’Brien), runs the Theater of the Macabre. The entertainment includes various acts where nude women are tortured onstage. They were kidnapped in a van and drugged. The audience acts either disapproving or applauds the depravity. Though the audience assumes it’s merely acting, a peek behind the scenes reveals that the gore is real as orchestrated by Sardu and his dwarf assistant Ralphus (Luis De Jesus). The evil show biz folks torture and dismember the women vics for their own pleasure, as well as run a profitable ‘white slavery’ operation.

The plot involves the kidnapping of hostile stage critic Sielow (Alan Dellay), who is dismissive of the show and refuses even to review it after being in the audience. The critic is kept locked up in the theater’s basement cell with scores of drugged women prisoners. Sardu also has Lincoln Center ballerina Natasha (Viju Krem) taken to the theater and enslaved through drugs, and as a zombie made to dance at a theater performance while her football player boyfriend (Niles McMaster) and the ‘on the take’ detective sergeant (Dan Fauci) try to rescue her.

It’s not only revolting because of its lack of scruples, but is witless, senseless and vile. It features such atrocities as a woman guillotined and her severed head giving head to the evil dwarf, another woman having all her teeth pulled out by a pervert doctor (Ernie Pysher) before he puts a power drill to her noggin, a woman stretched apart on an X crucifix, women used as dartboards and a woman having her hand cut off with a hacksaw. There are these and other gross horrors to muse over and nothing redeeming about such sleaze, in a film whose venal aim is to go to the top of the list of poor taste splatter/shock films.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”