Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)

aka The Incredible Torture Show
Article 2759 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-26-2008
Posting Date: 3-3-2009
Directed by Joel M. Reed
Featuring Seamus O’Brien, Viju Krem, Niles McMaster
Country: USA

A magician specializes in the torture of women in his Soho theater act. However, the tortures are real, and he is a white slaver. To get revenge on a critic, he kidnaps a ballerina in order to force her to perform in a sadistic ballet he has written.

The most sickening and repellent film ever made? I can’t say, but if it isn’t, it will do until the real one comes along. I’m not surprised the movie has a cult following; any movie with this much bad taste, sadistic violence, and exploitation of women is bound to have its admirers, especially if it presents itself as some sort of black comedy as this one does. A number of horror movies have had to endure the accusation of misogyny over the years, but if I had to choose a movie where that accusation is most likely to stick, this is the one; almost every woman in the movie only exists to endure humiliation and torture (usually while they are completely naked) for the entertainment and applause of men. In a sense, it hardly matters that the special effects are usually very bad; the sheer level of nastiness combined with the glee of those perpetrating it is cringe-inducing. I suppose movies like this can be useful if they produce a catharsis of some sort, but, to my mind, this one doesn’t. And as far as black comedies go, I didn’t get one laugh from this one. To me, this one is just a descent into sad degradation.


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