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.
After her brother is accused of murdering four people, his sister, desperate to prove his innocence, goes to a psychic for help. The price they ask, however, is far more than she expected, ... See full summary »
A biker comes upon a girl with a flat tire and offers her a ride home. He winds up at a drug party with the girl's sister, then follows her to a turkey farm owned by her father, a mad ... See full summary »
Brad F. Grinter,
A TV talk-show hostess and her boyfriend investigate a shady magician whom has the ability to hypnotize and control the thoughts of people in order to stage gory on-stage illusions using his powers of mind bending.
Udo Kier is a witch hunter apprentice to Herbert Lom. He believes strongly in his mentor and the ways of the church but loses faith when he catches Lom strangling Reggie Nalder to death for... See full summary »
Investigators search for soldiers' missing bodies, and hear unbelievable rumors about zombies. Dismissing those rumors they set out to investigate. After two men are found dead, CIA ... See full summary »
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
Troma had the film cut to gain an "R" rating, then shipped the unrated print to theaters telling them it was the R rated version. Eventually it was discovered when a woman complained the film upset her child. Eventually the MPAA sued Troma for improper use of the "R" logo. See more »
When Ralphus begins sawing the girl's hand off in the 'dismemberment' scene, the saw is to the inside of the shackle. When the camera view changes, the saw is to the outside of the shackle. See more »
[torturing a girl on the rack]
This will go far beyond every STRETCH of the imagination.
See more »
There's something wrong here, even for an exploitation film
Anyone whose tastes run towards exploitation films kind of knows "the drill," the recurring themes, methodology, and clichés of the genre. We embrace them, and an exploitation film which effectively "plays the game" can get away with a multitude of since which would be unforgivable in mainstream cinema (bad acting, bad writing, bad production values, etc.).
By those standards, "Bloodsucking Freaks" should be hailed as a masterpiece of the genre, and, judging by its enduring cult popularity, it is. Still, there's something about this film which limits the viewer's ability to enjoy it for what it is, and, thus, limits itself. At first, it's hard to put one's finger on exactly what it is, but I think I've finally worked it out. Simply put, filmmaker Joel M. Reed made a film whose spirit is as mean-spirited and diabolical as what we see up on the screen.
"Bloodsucking Freaks," as often as not, plays its numerous horrors for laughs. (Indeed, Sardu and Ralphus occasionally come across as a kind of nightmarish stand-up comedy act.) The trouble is, the intention behind the humor is anything but good-natured. Any viewer with any kind of decency at all can't relate to the motivations behind what they see, and this diminishes the fun of watching this movie to a great degree. For exploitation fans, there is a fine line between brutal and unwatchable, and there are many times during which "Freaks" sinks below that line. And so while this film is an absolute must-see for fans of the genre (although how many such fans have not seen this movie?), it's not going to be one of the films in their collection which can be revisited often.
20 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?