Blu-ray Review: Bloodsucking Freaks (1976) – Extreme Uncut Collector’s Edition

Bloodsucking Freaks BR CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Joel M. Reed

Starring: Seamus O’Brien, Viju Krem, Niles McMaster, Dan Fauci, Alan Dellay, Louie de Jesus

There are certain films that, by their very nature, make it very hard to rate or recommend to people, even if they are such notorious titles that people should actually see before they condemn or condone them. Bloodsucking Freaks is definitely one of those films as is at once both irresistible and repulsive in its pure grindhouse sleaze.

Apparently there is a story but you really won’t care. Sardu (Seamus O’Brien) is the master in the Theatre of the Macabre, a Grand Guignol-style show where Sardu and his dwarf assistant Ralphus (Louie de Jesus) torture and kill people in front of a live audience who all believe it is illusion and acting. What follows is Sardu proving to his critics that everything they witnessed was real, so cue lots of limb dismemberment, thumbscrews, head-in-a-vice, teeth extraction with pliers, humiliation and every woman in the film being naked for most of the film.

Now available for the first time on any format in the UK, the film was originally distributed by Troma, which should tell you all you need to know about the level this film operates at, and really is a grindhouse purist’s wet dream, with Troma-centric supplementary material that will definitely be of interest to fans. If it were made today Bloodsucking Freaks would be mentioned alongside such delights as A Serbian Film or Grotesque, such is the extreme voyeuristic nature of its content, but it was made in 1976, when special effects were cheap, production quality was low and it was a little too early to sit alongside the likes of Cannibal Holocaust or any number of Italian splatter films. The satire and humourous tone help make the gore and sexual depravity more bearable and Seamus O’Brien – who was murdered a year after this film was originally released – may not be able to act but something about his overbearing presence and campy delivery suggests he may not actually be trying to. It’s a dirty and grotesque film with very little to offer those not prepared to accept its extremities and the blackly comic place where it all comes from, but for those with a strong stomach and a twisted sense of humour it is one of those bizarre cult films you really should see. Make your choice.

Bloodsucking Freaks

Special Features: Audio Commentary by Hostel director Eli Roth, an introduction by Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman, original trailer, Tour of Troma featurette, interviews with cast and crew, Aroma du Troma featurette, Radiation March short film, two Troma public service announcements, Lloyd Kaufman’s autobiography promo video, booklet notes by Calum Waddell, reversible sleeve incorporating original artwork and a limited edition slipcase.

UK Release Date: 21st April 2014

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