Lives up to its notorious reputation
7 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Rating highly as a prime piece of raw'n'revolting 70's grindhouse sleaze, gleefully wallowing in the utmost depths of depravity with a certain jolly mean-spiritedness that's both fiercely funny and genuinely appalling in equal measure, this infamous cult splatter shocker delivers exactly what it promises in its foul tale of merry sadist Master Sardu (marvelously essayed with lip-smacking hammy brio by Seamus O'Brien) and his theatre of the macabre where he presents a "faked" Grand Guignal stage show depicting extreme acts of torture and depravity. Writer/director Joel M. Reed definitely gives the audience their grubby money's worth: brain sucking through a straw, dismemberment, snarling nude cannibal gals locked in a cage, nipple electric shock, a white slaver ring, gay necrophilia, fried eyeballs, grisly teeth extraction with pliers, vicious S&M whippings, a harsh'n'hateful misogynistic streak, oodles of bare female flesh, and one of the most repulsive examples of forced fellatio ever committed to celluloid are all present and accounted for. Moreover, the cast attack the blithely base and tasteless material with unfettered aplomb: Diminutive porn stud Luis De Jesus has a fiendish field day as Sardu's savage dwarf assistant Ralphus, Dan Fauci contributes an amusing turn as meddlesome blackmailing Sergeant John Tucci, Alan Dellay makes for a perfectly obnoxious jerk as uptight snob critic Creasy Silo, and lovely blonde Viju Krem is suitably sweet and fragile as fetching abducted ballerina Natasha D'Natalie. The authentically grubby New York City locations, Ron Dorfman's basic cinematography, a hilariously cruel sense of spot-on pitch-black gallows humor (this fine fetid flick is essentially a remarkably dark satire on the seamy underbelly of show business), and Michael Small's alternately jaunty and shivery synthesizer score further enhance this gloriously ghastly atrocity's considerable uniquely gross and repugnant charm. Absolutely essential viewing for sick cinema buffs.
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