Blood Sucking Freaks
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|Blood Sucking Freaks|
Movie poster for Blood Sucking Freaks
|Directed by||Joel M. Reed|
|Produced by||Alan C. Margolin|
|Written by||Joel M. Reed|
Luis De Jesus
|Music by||Michael Sahl|
|Edited by||Joel R. Herson|
|Distributed by||Troma Entertainment|
Blood Sucking Freaks is a 1976 exploitation-splatter film. Shot under the title Sardu: Master of the Screaming Virgins, it was retitled The Incredible Torture Show during its original theatrical run.
Master Sardu (Seamus O'Brien) runs a Grand Guignol-style theatre with his assistant, the midget Ralphus. They present grotesque sadomasochism shows depicting torture and murder. Unbeknownst to audiences and critics, the events depicted are real, not staged; the tortured participants are kidnapped victims forced into sexual slavery.
Theatre critic Creasy Silo incurs Sardu's wrath by mocking his pretensions of art. Sardu responds by kidnapping and torturing Silo, hoping he will give the show a positive review, and by kidnapping ballerina Natasha DeNatalie to force her to participate in shows and lend them some artistic legitimacy. Natasha's football-player boyfriend Tom Maverick and corrupt policeman Detective John Tucci try to find Natasha and unravel the mystery of Sardu's operation. Sardu ultimately gets his comeuppance at the hands of his former captives.
- Seamus O'Brien - Sardu
- Viju Krem - Natasha Di Natalie
- Niles McMaster - Tom Maverick
- Dan Fauci - Sergeant Tucci
- Alan Dellay - Creasy Silo
- Ernie Pysher - Doctor
- Luis De Jesus - Ralphus
- Alphonso DeNoble - White Slaver
Blood Sucking Freaks would go on to achieve minor cult-classic status due to its ability to slip between being a serious horror film with sexual overtones and a campy send-up of gore films. The violent deaths of lead actors Seamus O'Brien (stabbed to death in his apartment by a burglar) and Viju Krem (shot on a hunting trip) after the film's release also contributed to the film's notoriety.
Depictions of violence
Some of the torture methods depicted fictionally in the film include the use of thumb screws, a skull crushed by a vise, amputation at the wrist by a bone saw, the amputation of fingers by a meat cleaver, electro-shock, suspension, the extraction of teeth, the portrayal of an electric drill through a skull with the brains sucked through a straw, the amputation of feet by a chainsaw, stretching on St. Andrew's Cross, caning and subsequent decapitation by guillotine, as well as brainwashing, whipping, darts, and quartering.
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Critical reception for the film has been negative.
TV Guide panned the film, awarding it 0 / 4 stars calling the plot "flimsy" and "[an] exercise in total gross-out". Rob Wrigley from Classic Horror.com stated in his review on the film, "If anything makes it tolerable, it is that it is presented as comedy rather than tragedy. Unfortunately, it falls flat far more than it amuses. One could complain about the misogyny of it all. Or its willingness to offend everyone possible. Or even the vibrant, sardonic performances of the principals. But that is giving the film more credit than it deserves". Wrigley also criticized the film's acting.
Scott Weinberg from eFilmCritic.com panned the film stating in his review, "When people use the term 'bottom of the barrel', they often forget about the UNDERSIDE of the barrel, which is where poorly-made dreck like this belongs. It offers absolutely NOTHING in the way of entertainment, and I think you're a cruel little nutcase if you talk someone else into seeing it," also calling it "The nastiest, filthiest and just about WORST thing you will EVER SEE".
The Encyclopedia of Horror says "the film is deliberately tacky and tongue-in-cheek (but distasteful enough nonetheless), in the spirit of Herschell Gordon Lewis." The film was also the subject of a campaign by Women Against Pornography.
It is considered to be one of the most controversial films of all time by Filmsite.org. It currently has a 29% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 7 reviews, with an average score of 3.88/10.
- New York Times
- "Bloodsucking Freaks Review". TV Guide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- Wringley, Rob. "Blood Sucking Freaks (1976) | Classic-Horror.com". Classic Horror.com. Rob Wrigley. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- Weinberg, Scott. "Movie Review - Bloodsucking Freaks - eFilmCritic". eFilmCritic.com. Scott Weinberg. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- Milne, Tom. Willemin, Paul. Hardy, Phil. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Horror, Octopus Books, 1986. ISBN 0-7064-2771-8 p 313
- Filmsite.org- "Most Controversial Films of All Time"
- "Blood Sucking Freaks (Bloodsucking Freaks) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 March 2019.