|Blood Sucking Freaks|
Movie poster for Blood Sucking Freaks
|Directed by||Joel M. Reed|
|Produced by||Alan C. Margolin|
|Written by||Joel M. Reed|
|Music by||Michael Sahl|
|Editing by||Joel R. Herson
|Distributed by||Troma Entertainment|
|Running time||91 min.|
Blood Sucking Freaks is a 1976 horror-exploitation film. Shot under the title Sardu: Master of the Screaming Virgins, it was retitled The Incredible Torture Show during its original theatrical run. Film distributor Troma Entertainment retitled the film Blood Sucking Freaks (sometimes spelled Bloodsucking Freaks) upon their acquisition of it. The film is based on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Wizard of Gore.
The plot centers on an S&M/Grand Guignol-style theatre run by Master Sardu and his midget assistant, Ralphus. In keeping with the Grand Guignol-style, the theatre puts on grotesque shows about torture and murder. What neither the audiences nor the critics know is that the shows are not staged but real. Moreover the naked women who appear to be tortured, dismembered and even killed during the performances are not actresses but kidnapped victims who are made into slaves.
Theatre critic, Creasy Silo, incurs Sardu's wrath by mocking his pretensions of art. Sardu responds by kidnapping and torturing Silo in the hopes that he will give the show a positive review, and by kidnapping ballerina Natasha DeNatalie in order to force her to participate in shows and thereby lend the shows an increased level of artistic legitimacy. This leads to the second major plotline of the film, in which Natasha's football-player boyfriend Tom Maverick and corrupt policeman Detective Tucci try to find Natasha and unravel the mystery of Sardu's operation.
As the film progresses, we learn that Sardu is involved in white slavery and keeps a group of naked, almost feral, women in a cage in the basement of the theatre. The film intercuts between scenes of Tom Maverick and Detective Tucci attempting to find Natasha DeNatalie and scenes of Sardu and Ralphus torturing their captives and attempting to brainwash DeNatalie and Silo so that they will participate in the theater productions. As is common in the genre, the film ends with Sardu getting his comeuppance at the hands of his former captives.
Though many have criticized writer/director Joel M. Reed for the depravity of the film, the impetus for the film came not from any interest of his own in sadomasochism, but from the fact that patrons of an actual S&M theatre were expressing interest in putting up funding for such a film. Reed had been shopping another project that he felt was more appropriate to the times, the main plot being a rock star that is stalked by an insane groupie, but he wasn't able to attract funding for his project. 'Blood Sucking Freaks' would go on to achieve relative cult-classic status due to its ability to slip between being a serious horror film with sexual overtones, and a campy send-up of slasher films that were beginning to become horror film standards, evidenced by John Carpenter's classic horror film Halloween that would be released 3 years later.
A section of the film is used in the Grindcore band Torsofuck's song 'Pussy Mutilation'.