Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blood Sucking Freaks (1976)

Throughout my short time here on planet Earth, I have seen many a flick. My earliest memories of video store rentals was at the Farm Fresh grocery store in my little city of Suffolk near the eastern coast of Virginia. The rental store was located in the middle of the store where they sold books and magazines. They had a big table in the middle with binders full of women……I mean binders full of artwork for the VHS rentals. They would take slipcases and flatten them down and slap them in so you could see the artwork and read the back. The slipcase had a library number on it so you could tell the clerk which movie you wanted. A very odd way to do it but I guess since shelf space was already nonexistent this method seemed like the obvious choice.

I remember flipping through one day and coming across Blood Sucking Freaks. It was on the Vestron Video label which kind of turned me off at first because I hadn’t caught a good horror flick on their label at that point. I loved the artwork and it just beckoned me to rent it. I surely had no idea what my VCR and I were in for!
Sardu, master of dinner etiquette

Blood Sucking Freaks was originally let loose in the theaters in 1976 under the title “The Incredible Torture Show” and really is an homage to Herschell Gordon Lewis’ “The Wizard of Gore (1970)”. The films stars Seamus O’Brien as Sardu. Sardu runs the local Grand Guignol theater which specializes in S&M style performances along with bloody torture shows. He also runs a white slave trade through the theater as well. He keeps his basement well stocked with wild women in a cage. Sardu is assisted by Ralphus, a demented midget played by Luis De Jesus. 

I think you're gonna need braces!
The performers for Sardu’s shows are not actresses but actually kidnapped women that are tortured and killed on the stage in front of an unsuspecting audience. Sardu’s “arch nemesis” is Creasy Silo a theater critic who is not impressed with Sardu’s “magic show” and refuses to write about the theater so that others will not seek out the theater for curiosity.  Sardu decides to kidnap Silo so that he will give the theater a good review and to put the icing on the cake also kidnaps New York City ballerina Natasha DeNatlie. His plan is to brainwash her and make her perform which will add some much needed credo to the theater’s name. Natasha’s boyfriend Tom Maverick teams up with Detective Tucci to find Natasha and find out what is really going on within the theater. The plot sounds pretty interesting right? Well for the most part it is but the kicker is the exploitation, simulated torture, deranged behavior and cheap splatter effects.

nummy eyeballs!
Our first peek into the madness starts right from the get go as a naked woman is delivered to the theater in a crate and she is suspended by chains. She is used in the next show having her thumb crushed with thumb screws and then her head crushed with vice placed around her head. Another woman is whipped and has her hand sawed off. To top that off Ralphus gouges out her eye and eats it. Just a taste of what to expect from this nasty…….pun intended.

Nifty one sheet.
There are many more scenes of torture and out right nastiness to keep the gorehound happy. A doctor is called in to examine one of the actresses and for payment he is given one on one time with one of the kidnapped women. He gropes her naked body while she is tied to a chair. He then proceeds to pull out all her teeth so that she doesn’t attempt to bite. He then shaves her head, drills a hole in the top and inserts a glass tube and sucks out her brains. Other atrocities include chainsaw amputation, decapitation via guillotine and the head’s mouth violated…ahem, human dart board and more! Oh goody! 

The effects work is amateur at best which is fine because of the nature of the film. It really ranks up there with Lewis’ cinematic wonders like Color Me Blood Red (1965), The Gore Gore Girls (1972) and Two Thousand Maniacs (1964). Even though the effects are cheap and the acting wooden, the underlying theme is still pretty sleazy and well that is the point.
Producer Joel M. Reed is proud.

...and Ralphus approves.
Troma Entertainment distributed the film theatrically after its original run. They were responsible for re titling the film to Blood Sucking Freaks. Troma also re-released it to home video under this title as well in a “Director’s Cut” both on VHS and DVD. I didn’t see a difference between the Vestron Video version I used to rent back in the day and the Troma VHS but I could be missing something. All the depravity seemed to be there! Fun times for all. Make sure you gather the whole family around when you sit down with this one.

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