Sardu, master of the Theatre of the Macabre, and his assistant Ralphus run a show in which, under the guise of 'magic', they torture and murder people in front of their audience. But what the punters see as a trick is actually real.
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In New York's Soho district, the master of ceremonies Sardu runs the Theater of the Macabre, which specializes in acts where people are tortured and dismembered. The audiences dismiss it as fakery but the gore is real. Behind the scenes, Sardu and his dwarf assistant Ralphus torture and mutilate women for their own pleasure, as well as sell girls they have abducted into slavery. When the critic Creasy Silo contemptuously dismisses the show, Sardu has him abducted and tortured. At the same time, Sardu also abducts the ballerina Natasha Di Natalie and determines to break her will in order to make her agree to perform in his new show. Written by
"Bloodsucking Freaks", the alternate title for this sick bit of cinematic sleaze, is not that accurate since there's really only one blood sucking freak in this thing. "The Incredible Torture Show", now THAT'S a better summation of what goes on here. Seamus O'Brien plays Master Sardu, a master of the macabre who puts hapless victims through unspeakable acts of brutality, content to have his audience think it's all just special effects and trickery. He's assisted by the demented Ralphus (Luis De Jesus) and assorted other cretins, and abducts ballet dancer Natasha D'Natalie (Viju Krem) so that she can be a part of his theatrical antics; critic Creasy Silo (Alan Dellay) also becomes a part of the act. Meanwhile, Natasha's boyfriend Tom Maverick (Niles McMaster), a football player, tries to track her down with the help of a sleazy detective, John Tucci (Dan Fauci). Even knowing that "The Incredible Torture Show" is clearly made with its tongue in its cheek, it's obviously going to have a somewhat limited audience. Yet these hardcore exploitation devotees are likely to be satisfied with what they see here. There ain't much in the way of story, just a lot of nasty, nasty depravity (and enough female nudity to make some viewers VERY, VERY happy) that ultimately becomes a little numbing. Still, there are some undeniable highlights, as heads, feet & hands get severed, teeth get extracted, a lady is electrocuted, etc. One's gotta love that one "doctor" character (Ernie Pysher) who goes to great pains to torture one victim; this guy is such a nut that even Sardu and Ralphus think, "This guy's too crazy, even for us!" A strong indicator of this movie's tone is when good old Sardu is having a meal that's precariously balanced on the back of a babe who's obliged to play the role of table, yet humour is added when he snarls, "Don't you DARE ruin my dinner!" O'Brien gets into the grim and goofy Grand Guignol spirit of writer / director Joel M. Reed's concoction, hamming it up quite nicely, as does the diminutive De Jesus. Fun gore effects abound, and the cage full of naked wild women is a Hell of a nice touch. In the end, Reeds' sense of bravado has to be admired, as he goes just as far as he can. The result is a truly trashy bit of insanity certain to give its audience some appreciative chuckles. Seven out of 10.
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