Bloodsucking Freaks

First, a little background. In 1975 Joel M. Reed wanted to make a low budget S&M flick. He filmed The great Torture Show in SoHo on a budget of about a buck and eighty cents. The film was a flop. Later it was purchased by Troma (of Toxic Avenger fame).  They changes the title to Bloodsucking Freaks. Troma trimmed the film, and submitted it to the MPAA. It received an R rating. Troma then shipped the unedited version (that was deserving of an X rating) to theaters with the R attached. the MPAA sued and won. Then Troma managed to get anti-pornography groups to protest theaters showing the film. Troma made a fortune from a film that would  otherwise have vanished into obscurity.

So, what is this inflammatory movie about? Simple, Sardu (Seamus O’Brien) runs a grand Guignol show in SoHo. Along with his partner Ralphus (Louie DeJesus) he tortures and kills women on stage. This is what Sardu does for fun. For money he trades in white slavery, selling women to Arab countries. But, what Sardu longs for is artistic respect and good reviews. Toward that end he kidnaps and tortures a drama critic. He also kidnaps the famed dancer Natasha Denatalie, and forces her to perform in his show. Her boyfriend (a football player, modeled after that guy who did the pantyhose commercials) comes searching for her, and everyone dies a horrible death. Along the way we see dreadful acts of violence (mostly perpetrated against women). A “dentist” played by Ernie Pysher pulls all of a girl’s teeth, so that she wont bite. He then shaves her head, drills a hole in her skull, and sucks out her brains through a straw. Herschel Gordon Lewis would be proud. So would Mel Gibson. The plot is, of course, just a thin string to hang the scenes of gore from. It makes little sense.

This film is photographed like a cheap porn and has all the finesse of a snuff film. The sets are as cheap as possible. Even Plan 9 From Outer Space had better production design than this turkey.

The acting is preposterous (despite the appearance of real actors like Seamus O’Brien who appeared in real movies like Marathon Man, and had a long career on Broadway). Not a single real emotion is ever shown. Ralphus hams it up, and the rest of the cast groans through their scenes.

On a side note, Louie DeJesus went on to have a career in porn. Most notably in films like Let My Puppets Come, which may be the most bizarre thing ever put on celluloid.

This film is disgusting in every possible way. It is misogynistic, anti-humanity, and badly made. It does manage some humor, although one cannot be sure if the laughs were meant by the film makers or not. I suppose it could function as lop-sided satire, but I can’t tell what it is meant to be satire of.
Really though, Blood Sucking Freaks is misogynistic on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. There is barely a moment in the film that isn’t difficult to watch.

This film is meaningless gore. Actually, it ranks just above The Passion of the Christ. I cannot recommend it. But, I must say that it just possibly doesn’t matter what I think. This movie seems to stand outside criticism. In that way it is a bit like -Pink Flamingos. See it if you must.