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Year of Release: 1976
Also Known As: The Incredible Torture Show, Heritage of Calilgula, The House of the Screaming Virgins
Running Time: 88 minutes (1:28)
Director: Joel M. Reed
Seamus O'Brien ... Sardu
Luis De Jesus ... Ralphus (as Louie de Jesus)
Viju Krem ... Natasha Di Natalie
Niles McMaster ... Tom Maverick
Alan Dellay ... Creasy Silo
Dan Fauci ... Police Sgt. John Tucci
Ernie Pysher ... Doctor
Bloodsucking Freaks is the seventh in a series of reviews I've chosen to write as a tribute to Joe Bob Briggs for his lifetime of dedication to B, Drive-In and Exploitation movies. It was his Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In column and host segments on Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and Monstervision that inspired me to write with what limited ability I have. Thanks for everything Joe Bob, we all 'preciate what you do.
Regarding the ordering of these 12 tribute reviews, I'll be counting down the first 12 horror movies that Joe Bob reviewed back in '82 and '83. Less the titles I've already done up to this point. By the time I decided to do this, I'd already done some of those first 12 titles, so call that a blunder on my part. Bloodsucking Freaks, technically speaking, was the 10th horror movie Joe Bob reviewed in his Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In column, and the 27th overall.
For anyone that might be curious, the non horror titles (or titles that I may have done previously) between Bloodsucking Freaks and my next review were: The Sword and the Sorcerer (#26), They Call Me Bruce? (#25), One Down Two to Go (#24), Fighting Back (#23), Malibu Hot Summer (#22), Dragon on Fire (#21) and Ten Violent Women (#20).
Bloodsucking Freaks is a grand guignol tale of horror set in a New York theatre of the macabre, where the audience gets sex, violence, and cannibalism! No one can remain unmoved by the intense scenes of carnage--from the human dartboard to the infamous brain sucking scene. Bloodsucking Freaks is guaranteed to turn stomachs! This movie has made every top ten disturbing film list, so be sure to see what people protested against back in 1975.
Bloodsucking Freaks, the movie that reminds us that the only thing better than havin' a good woman at home to cook your dinner after a hard day at work, is usin' that same woman's nekkid backside as the world's sexiest TV tray. As an added bonus, you can use 'er boobs to hold the remote control if they're big enough, but I don't imagine I'm really gonna have to convince anyone about the greatness of any woman that'll work this hard to satisfy 'er man. That kinda woman's a keeper, but enough about that. Normally this is where I'd talk about the movie's biggest detractors or advocates, but a screwed up movie like this warrants a minor tweak in the formula. Only the sickest, most twisted fucks could ever truly love it, and only your unbelievably prude girlfriend from high school that you eventually dumped for the girl that'd go down just to spite her controlling father can genuinely hate it, so I think something different is in order on this one. Lets talk about who FEARS it. A major element of what, for want of any better term you'd have to call the plot, is a powerful critic's refusal to review The Great Sardu's exhibition de exsanguination cause he thinks it's too derivative of The Wizard of Gore, an because he has the unprecedented foresight to realize that if he acknowledges the show, morbid curiosity will compel at least part of his audience to see it. What usually happens in this situation is a buncha wimps get butt hurt about a nipple bein' exposed or too many heads becomin' detached an so they picket the movie. Naturally, it becomes a huge success, due in no small part to these potatoheads who're so separated from reality that you could easily confuse their IQs for those of the detatched heads that caused the uproar in the first place.
Now, who do we know like that? Who do we know that're so far off the crazy scale that even the abortion clinic bombers an the scientologists have to scooch their chairs away? Yes, of course, those charming folks at Westboro Babtist. I'd like to think it doesn't take an IQ much higher than that of mustard to realize that if the news outlets would stop wastin' air time they could be usin' to discuss more important things, like whether or not Alex Trebek is wearin' pants behind the podium on Jeopardy, that these idiots'd prolly just die from ulcer implosions. It is this basic level of comprehension regarding human behavior that, unfortunately, we'll prolly never reach as a society on account of us all havin' a boner for drama that would destroy people like this. These asshats were the ones in school that'd spend the entire recess period tryin' to get ahold of the football so they could throw it over the fence an end the game, an they never seemed to mind that their actions were generally the precursor to somebody callin' out "dog pile on dick lick," at which point the fat lineman from both teams'd squash 'em til they could taste their own spleens. The unfortunate reality is that we've got way too many CNNs and not nearly enough Alan Dellay's, but if we work hard enough we can make a difference. It's not too late. If we all work together to make sure these people know they're about as relevant as a microphone at a Miley Cyrus concert, together, we can make 'em shrivel into little dried up sardines an die. Only you can prevent boorish ires.
But I repress. Now, a lot of people're prolly gonna try tellin' you all kinda disgustin' horrible things about Bloodsucking Freaks, an I just want you to know that most of those things are completely accurate, so you'll wanna make sure an see this one at least once. What we've got here is the greatest movie ever made that combines the plots of Ilse: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks and The Wizard of Gore, and that features a midget makin' love to a severed head. I'd imagine most of the sissies with weak stomachs're prolly gone now an that's by design, cause I wanna make sure that only the culturally elite are allowed to bear witness to the wisdom I'm about to impart from a movie so sick that Troma was willin' to buy the rights an treat it like one of its very own. Really warms your heart when something like this finds its forever home, don't it? Anyway, this first thing is one that I've always suspected but hadn't been able to verify before now. Meat just tastes better after it's been rubbed on nekkid boobies. So the next time you've B-B-Q'd up some rib eyes, drop one of those suckers into your girlfriend's cleavage an leave it there for a couple minutes. You'll be glad you did. Might wanna let it cool a minute first though, some women tend to get a little resentful about havin' a grease fire ignite their bra an once they're able to put it out they're pretty likely to use the B-B-Q tongs like forceps an shove the meat fork up your rump roast. Not that I had to learn that the hard way or anything, I just don't wanna see anyone get hurt. Second, ballet dancin' has a very proud heritage, an it's not the kinda thing you can force somebody to do without killin' at least three or four people in ways that'd make Josef Mengele puke first. I think the reason for that grisly prerequisite is that these dancers tend to be trained by embittered evil little gay guys who're still mad about bein' born men, so by the time they're ready to dance professionally they've got a pretty high tolerance for cruelty. An third, while a nekkid woman's behind will work as a dart board in a pinch, never play for money. Cause once the first person scores a bullseye it's damn near impossible to keep the board stationary.
This is the kinda stuff that really endears you to a movie like Bloodsucking Freaks, an I learn something new every time I watch it. But sometimes you're left with more questions than answers when dealin' with things of such a spiritually enlightening nature. Take Star Wars for instance. You're blown away when you find out that Luke an Leia are the offspring of Darth Vader. But that brings up some other questions like; how come Vader never got weekend visitation rights, an does this mean he now owes 18 years of back child support on 'em? Nobody ever goes into this kinda stuff, it's like they don't even wanna address it as a relevant plot point. Well, Bloodsucking Freaks also has one of these type situations. I mean, I'da never though to use a severed head for self gratification purposes, but then a question arises about whether or not you're gettin' head. I've given this a lot of thought, an I don't think you can reasonably claim to be gettin' head when it's severed cause you're havin' to do all the work. So then I went back to basics an came to the conclusion that, in all manners of sex, you're either givin' or you're gettin', right? But that's no help because to be givin' head, it's a requirement that YOUR head be doin' the work, an that's not the case here, so that's no good either. There is an exception to this rule but it doesn't apply in this situation, we in the professional community call it the David Gale Clause. But that's completely different 'cause in that case the severed head is ALIVE. Then, makin' even less sense than either of those two situations, is the notion that he's actually sexing the head. The head would have to be alive, like in the David Gale Clause scenario for this to even be considered. Cause if the head ain't alive, it's essentially no different'n a flesh light or a dildo. It's a prop, nothin' more. So at this point I'm thinkin' this is gonna have to be categorized as masturbation, but I'm still not 100% sure on this. You guys know I'd never deliberately misinform you an that I hate to give out information that's speculative, but Joel Reed won't take my calls ever since I showed up at his house dressed like Ralphus an begged to be cast in the long awaited sequel, so an informed hypothesis is the best I can offer at this time. I'll be sure to provide an answer the moment it becomes available, but in the meantime, if anybody has something definitive on this I'd sure appreciate it if you'd explain it to me. An lets be professional about this an use email this time, with citations, don't just write it in sharpie on the cross you've set on fire an placed in my yard. Least I think that's what those guys in ghost costumes were doin'.
The movie begins with a couple guys that're filthy enough to get a guest shot on Duck Dynasty haulin' a crate in their van that they no doubt live in down by the river. You ever wonder how these guys with beards like the cast of The Hobbit can spend so much time around burn barrels without havin' 'em go up like a Texas fertilizer plant? I'm sorry I'll try to keep on track here, these things just come to me. So anyway these two guys that look like Mars from The Hills Have Eyes haul this crate into a theater where the stage master Sardu (who looks like a cross between Fu Manchu an Fuad Ramses) is standin' around lookin' real pleased with 'imself. Then his midget assistant, Ralphus (Ralphus looks a lot like Luis Guzman if he'd been crushed down to dwarf size by The Tall Man), hauls the contents up outta the box with a chain an a winch an decides to put the woman's fingers in a C clamp an tighten it til they snap like Bo Jackson's bat after a strike out. Meanwhile, Sardu's out on stage providin' a little disclaimer to the audience about the fact that his show may cause psychosis, nausea, the weirdest boner, or the desire to join organized religion. So then Ralphus brings out another nekkid pork chop an starts tightenin' the metal tourniquet on 'er head til she starts leakin' strawberry preserves out of 'er ears an starts resemblin' a resident of planet Remulak. While this is goin' on Sardu's fieldin' comments from the audience, an while most people seem to enjoy his artistic vision, the local critic (Creasy) stands up an tells 'im his magic tricks're not only second rate but that he's already seen Montag the Magnificent do all this crap before. As you can imagine, Sardu's a little bit P.O.'d, but he's a professional an redirects the focus back to the stage where Ralphus' strapped a woman to a work bench an proceeds to saw off 'er hand an then eat one of 'er eyeballs. After the show, Sardu stands outside the door askin' for donations for the actors, but when Creasy comes out he not only refuses to donate to help with the actress's replacement eye surgery, but he tells Sardu he's not even gonna review the show cause if he does he may have to come to terms with the fact that nobody actually takes his advice an that somebody may come to watch future performances. This guy's a textbook example of why Joe Bob Briggs finally had to step up and assume the mantle of film critic. These stuffed shirts JUST DON'T GET IT. So anyway, now Sardu's real P.O.'d. He tries to calm down with some supper, only his nekkid TV tray keeps threatenin' to spill his wine glass every time the candles drip wax down 'er butt crack an eventually he's left with no recourse but to kick 'er across the room. Cripes, what kinda woman makes it outta college without havin' hot wax dripped on 'er labia? What're they teachin' kids these days anyway?
So after Ralphus gets back from feedin' the left overs from the performance to the nekkid cannibal cat women in the dungeon Sardu tells 'im to go take a sack of ball bearings to Creasy an drag his carcass back to the theater. Next thing we see is Creasy marvelin' at the level of skill required to paint a Campbell's soup can at the museum when this fox comes up to 'em an flashes 'er assets. This gives Ralphus the opening he needs to stick a pygmy blow dart right in Creasy's carotid artery an pretty quick Creasy wakes up on the set of the latest Saw sequel where Sardu tells 'im that he'd better take back his hurtful words or else he's gonna hook up jumper cables to some chick's suckle knuckles. Creasy's not about to violate the code of the critic (that's where you admit to likin' something that yuppies might find unsophisticated an risk havin' to look up their nostrils for the rest of your career) just cause some broad got 'er mammary monocle's cooked til they started lookin' like burnt pepperonis, so Sardu gives 'er some more juice til she agrees to be in his production of Hair an explains to Creasy that he's got everything a man could need. Except mainstream approval, Creasy points out. Then Sardu has to go cement a deal with Yasser Arafat to keep the white women flowin' into the middle eastern herems so Highrolla Cockamamie an Malamar Jalopy won't run outta actresses for their camel shows. While Sardu's wheelin' an dealin' with Yasser, Ralphus's over in the shippin' department tapin' Uhaul boxes shut, only the cargo keeps tryin' to escape an he ends up havin' to slap jack 'em so they'll quit kickin' all the packin' peanuts all over the floor. I'm thinkin' they're either gonna have to put some air holes in these boxes or start shippin' only blondes. They don't freak out quite so much cause their brains're used to not gettin' any oxygen. Then Sardu goes downstairs to the dungeon an whips the cannibal cat women into submission so he can stash the Arab money in the crawlspace, only before he can get out one of 'em bites 'em an he has to tell Ralphus to starve 'em if they're not gonna get with the program. Sardu was lucky this time, a lot of security guys at male strip clubs run into this kinda situation an get swarmed under. Then Sardu gives Creasy some vittles an after he's about halfway done, informs 'im he's eatin' one of the interns that didn't work out, but Creasy gives 'im his "is that the best you've got?" look an tells 'im he's seen Beaches three times before goin' back to his tenderloin.
Then Sardu tells 'im he's gonna perform a ballet for his next show an that he's gonna put in a budget request with Ralphus to get a big name star that'll put more butts in the seats like Universal always thought they were doin' with Jack Arnold. Elsewhere, that big name star (Natasha) is layin' in bed with 'er sweaty boyfriend (Tom) tryin' to pretend like the fact that he ain't worn deodorant in about six months doesn't make 'er stomach churn like butter in Amish country til she realizes she's late for 'er rehearsal an splits. I'm not entirely sure what was goin' on before we panned over, but is it considered a dine an dash if you leave immediately after oral sex? Prolly not important. So anyway, Natasha's in the dressin' room gettin' ready to go on stage when Ralphus peeks outta the locker behind 'er an hits 'er with another pygmy blow dart an then celebrates with a happy dance that looks a lot like what happens when a woman's only got about three seconds left before she wets 'erself. Later on, Natasha's director calls Tom wantin' to know why she never showed up an Tom gets this look on his face like he just realized he's got Mike Brady's haircut. Elsewhere, Sardu starts braggin' to Creasy 'bout how he's got Natasha an how once he can get his hands on a record of Swan Lake an a turntable he's headed for the playwright hall of fame. Creasy just looks up at 'im like Greg House anytime somebody suggests that it might be Lupus an explains to 'im that nobody with any talent would wanna be in his play an that people're gonna realize that either she's bein' coerced or that she's at least too kinky to make it as a Disney Princess an drop all their stock in 'er. Only problem is that Natasha doesn't wanna dance for Sardu, so he has Ralphus bang symbols next to 'er head til she starts havin' flash backs to the time she was on the Gong Show. Meanwhile, Tom's callin' the fuzz, only there ain't nobody at the station cause they've all gone over to The Village People concert to beat the crap outta Victor Willis so Tom has to leave a message. Meanwhile, Natasha's health's startin' to go south, so Sardu has to call in "the doctor" to get 'er on the mend. So once the doc prescribes about six gallons of Pedialyte Sardu asks what he owes 'im. The doc's a humanitarian, he's a HEALER, he doesn't need any money, though the blonde whose drapes don't match the carpet he wouldn't mind havin' a look at. So the doc makes like Corbin Bernsen in The Dentist an pulls out all 'er teeth so she can't bite off what's left of his wang (that's a lesson you learn the hard way) an... yeah that's pretty screwed up, but it's off camera at least. Then he shaves 'er head til she looks like Demi Moore in J.I. Jane an takes out a Makita power drill an goes to town on 'er head while singin' the chorus of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro til he strikes oil an pulls out a drinkin' straw. Hey, don't be judgin' people, doctorin's thirsty work.
Sardu an Ralphus're pretty grossed out. I mean, pullin' out all 'er teeth was one thing, but damnit, that was THEIR power drill an now the bit's been worn down so flat that it looks like Kate Moss's bust line so Sardu tells Ralphus to get rid of the doc. So Ralphus takes 'im down into the dungeon an introduces 'im to the crazy nekkid cat women who proceed to tear the doc apart worse than Joe Pilato in Day of the Dead an then they rub the doc's internal organs all over their John Cougar Melons an eat 'em. Then Ralphus goes back upstairs an he an Sardu celebrate with a game of darts, which is a lotta fun, but sometimes when your board is painted on a nekkid woman's ass it gets tough to liberate the darts from 'er butt cheeks. Elsewhere, a detective from the police force finally shows up to talk to Tom. It's bad enough that this guy looks like Brent Spiner with Patrick Stewart's haircut, but the guy's also crooked as the dentition at a Merle Haggard concert an so it's gonna cost Tom $10,000 to get 'em to investigate. Back at Chateau Oubliette, Natasha still don't wanna dance for Sardu, so he straps another nekkid slice of cheesecake on the rack an starts separatin' 'er legs til she looks like a yoga instructor. She still won't do it, but Sardu can see she's startin' to crack, so he keeps the pressure on an brings in another subject (just assume the women are always nekkid, it'll save me alotta time) whom he sticks in a guillotine. Then Ralphus makes 'er open 'er mouth an he puts the rope that's holdin' the blade up inside an then Sardu's nekkid dominatrix goons start goin' all Sandman on 'er hiney with a Singapore cane. It's a good thing Sardu didn't put Amy Winehouse in this thing or they'd be spankin' 'er til they couldn't lift their arms. But this particular girl just isn't into it an pretty quick she ends up squealin' just enough that the rope slips out an she loses 'er head. Shoulda used Poly-Dent, never woulda came out. Then Ralphus starts gettin' real friendly with the severed head... if that was me I think I'd wait a minute before doin' that, but Ralphus likes to live on the edge. So once Ralphus finishes up an enjoys a Virginia Slim, he heads back upstairs where he an Sardu enjoy a game of Backgammon wherein any time you score, you sever a finger from your chained, unwilling doubles partner. Eventually Ralphus wins an the two ladies lose any reason to ever own a catcher's mitt. Sardu suspects Ralphus cheats, but I was watchin' an I think Sardu's just bein' a sore loser, an besides, he ain't half as sore as the dart board. When the game's over, Sardu goes to check on Creasy only to find he's on a hunger strike. A real hunger strike, not like Fiona Apple. So Sardu has Ralphus force feed 'im Handi Snacks cheese through a tube with a funnel attached so he'll be around for openin' night.
Meanwhile, Sardu's just about had it with Natasha's resistance an produces 'er on stage rival from a burlap sack an gives 'er a five second head start while Ralphus revs up the ole Husqvarna 344 with the 18" bar an you'd be surprised how quick a guy that's hoverin' around 4' 3" can catch up to a woman that aughta be pretty fast even before somebody started chasin' 'er with a buzz saw. Shortly thereafter, Ralphus returns with the victim's feet, an fearin' for her career, Natasha finally caves. Elsewhere, Detective Spiner's finally figured out where Natasha's gone an tells Tom about 'er finally catchin' 'er big break in Sardu's upcoming play in the role of the Sugar Bum Fairy. So while Ralphus shaves Creasy so he won't look like he's been hangin' out in a Dempster dumpster for the last few weeks, Sardu heads the detective an Tom off at the front door an tells 'em they can't see Natasha cause she's over in wardrobe figurin' out which dress she's gonna wear for the three seconds before she tears it off an goes into 'er bourree. So the detective has to wave his gun around an threaten to stand outside the front door an tell all the patrons there'll be no nudity if he don't produce Natalya like right now an Sardu realizes he's been seized at the base of his snarglies. So he brings Natalya out an she tells Tom an the detective about how she's gonna make it after all an throws 'er bra up in the air. Not really, but she's real excited to be part of the show an besides, she used to have to show a lot more than this to much uglier people an she urges the guys to come watch the show that night as she walks 'em out. But when she starts to get a little too far away Sardu blows his dog whistle an she comes crawlin' back like Maggie Roswell (only literally) til she gets up on his pantleg an starts makin' out with his Gucci loafers. You should see 'er fetch the paper, it's the cutest thing. But anyway, then the detective comes back an tells Sardu he knows about his murder rap sheet an Sardu promises to cut 'im in for part of the white slave traffickin' money so he'll go back to his desk. God damn crooked cops, what is it with these guys an their desire to destroy the small business man? This's even worse than what they did to Drayton Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Then the detective convinces Tom that the least they can do for Natalya is to go watch 'er get show off 'er jigglers in public to show their support, so they head over to the theater where the detective heads backstage to get his kickback offa Sardu. Sardu descends back into the cannibal catacombs an beats back Michelle Pfeiffer, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether an Eartha Kitt til he can get ahold of the scratch an pass it to the detective. With the cash in hand, the detective then rats out Sardu to Tom just as Natalya comes on stage, yanks off 'er modesty, an proceeds to form a one woman kickline right in front of Creasy til he finally admits there are five lights. I wouldn't dream of spoiling how this train wreck ends, you'll have to see for yourselves.
Alrighty, well, you're prolly wondering how anybody with any sense of decency could watch something like this and not be thoroughly appalled at its rampant misogyny. First of all, where've you been up to this point? I think it's pretty obvious that I have no sense of decency. But in all seriousness, it's just too hokey to get butt hurt about. For one thing, half of the cast was made up of porn stars, so the idea that this was somehow some kind of affront to their personal dignity is laughable. This was an easy pay check for a silly movie that didn't require them to get sticky with somebody for 8 hours straight, and I think it's pretty clear from the bad acting that has a tendency to slip out with some regularity that everybody was having fun. Sure, it's in bad taste. It's got a lot of problems, but this is hardly the kind of thing worth getting bent outta shape about. Though that fact seems to have been lost on the MPAA, as the movie was given the dreaded X rating. That's something that's generally considered to be the kiss of death for a horror movie, although Bloodsucking Freaks has such a high volume of nudity that there's really no way around it. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to be saying in the reviews I've been looking at, this thing is in no way softcore porn. The Director's Cut, which you'd assume would be the worst of the lot, features no sex scenes at all, save the severed head scene where all you see is Ralphus' face. The tooth extraction scene cuts away before you see anything, so lets be clear, there's no porn here. Excessive, gratuitous nudity does not equate to porn. Interesting reasoning on those people. You suppose it's the number of different nekkid people, or the duration for which they're nekkid that makes 'em say that? And more importantly, does that mean that if you stand around nekkid long enough that you've become pornographic in nature? That word they keep using, I do not think it means what they think it does. Anyway though, back to that MPAA thing. Troma did get the original print cut so they could secure an R rating (makes you wonder how much the total running time dropped), but they secretly sent out the X rated version to all the theaters and ended up getting sued by the MPAA. Only Troma would do that, you've gotta give 'em credit there, that took guts, and an inability to look very far down the road. Apparently, it was discovered when a woman who complained about the movie after it upset her child. Read that again, her child. She took her child to see this, and apparently it's everyone else's fault that the kid was traumatized. I don't much care if it was advertised with an R rating, look at the promo poster lady. Cripes, what kinda moron takes their child to see something like this? But I suppose that's all in the past, what really matters isn't all the controversy surrounding it. The question is, is it any good?
The plot, such as it is, is pretty decent. Though it borrows greatly from Ilse: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks and Herschell Gordon Lewis' The Wizard of Gore, that's a pretty interesting and compatible pairing of ideas. The downside is there isn't much you haven't seen before if you've seen those two movies, with the notable difference that Bloodsucking Freaks really kicks the disgusting stuff up a notch. So much so that it almost busted Joe Bob's vomit meter. Though the fact that it sticks much closer to simple repulsion via nasty effects and stays away from discomforting, mean spirited rape scenes helps it a great deal. The acting, is piss poor. That's to be expected (though not excused) from all the nekkid pork chops, but nearly everyone in the entire cast is terribad. Luis De Jesus has to be the worst of the lot as Ralphus when it comes to speaking lines, and yet, Ralphus still manages to be the most interesting character in the movie. More so than even Sardu. And it bears mentioning that De Jesus' PHYSICAL acting is actually really good and entertaining. The happy dances, riding the nekkid girl in cowboy attire, and always looking like the world is his oyster, you can't help but like the sick little bastard. Viju Krem (Natasha) and Niles McMaster are unincredible as well, though Alan Dellay (Creasy) and Dan Fauci (the detective) are less terrible than most. The only one with a shred of genuine acting talent, thankfully, is Seamus O'Brien as Sardu, and I think it's safe to say that he probably has an easier time than most because his character is so over the top. Unfortunately, O'Brien was stabbed to death the year of its theatrical release when he attempted to prevent a thief from robbing his apartment. I think he had enough talent to move on to what could have been more meaningful roles. Here's the list of who matters and why: Luis De Jesus (Return of the Jedi), Niles McMaster (Alice Sweet Alice), Alan Dellay (Night of the Zombies, Amityville II), Ellen Faison (Dawn of the Mummy), Ernie Pysher (The Eyes of Laura Mars), Alphonso DeNoble (Night of the Zombies, Alice Sweet Alice), Illa Howe (Blood Bath), Rita Montone (The Children, Maniac), Carol Henry (Maniac), Jennifer Stock (God's Bloody Acre, Shriek of the Mutilated). De Jesus is in Troll 2 territory, so be warned. Seriously though, he was a porn star, whaddya expect?
The special effects are really hit and miss. Some people will tell you they're all garbage, but they're letting the less impressive ones overshadow the ones that aren't all that bad. The pan of fryin' eyeballs is pretty bad, the severed feet aren't all that hot either, and the biggest problem is one that's shared by a lot of horror movies from the 70s/80s, which is just the fact that the blood is too vibrant. It's strange though, some of it is alright, and some of it's silly. Most of it's silly, to be fair, but it's as though they used two different solutions and not only thought that was okay, but that the one that looked like something out of a Chef Boyardee can was the better of the two. On the other hand, the severed head isn't that bad, the severed fingers are okay, the FIRST eyeball that Ralphus eats isn't bad, and the guts that the cannibal cat women pull outta the various guys they get ahold of are actually really good. I suspect that they're probably too good to actually be something somebody made when the budget was so low, and are likely to have been real animal organs. Which is fine, that's exactly what you should do when you know you can't afford to try to make them yourself. So the special effects are hit and miss, but I've seen much worse. The shooting locations are perhaps the high point. The theater setting is a fun, under utilized one, and the dungeon below is particularly good. I'd imagine it was probably just the basement of somebody on the crew but it looks really good. I think any Jigsaw victim aughta be proud to wake up in a room similar to the one used in the movie. There's not a whole lot of variety, but the important locations are particularly good and that's what really matters. The soundtrack is definitely an interesting one. It's one that probably didn't require much original composition skill or much of a budget, and that is due in part to the fact that the plot centers around Sardu's belief that what he's doing on stage is art. So what they did was to use a lot of classical music (or minor variations thereof) to give it a satirical artsy fartsy aristocratic type of atmosphere that really seems to work for it. And probably did so on the cheap. I thought the soundtrack worked rather well in helping to achieve what they were going for. The unfortunate truth is, even with those nice touches in various departments, its original title; The Incredible Torture Show, fit much better. That's all it is, textbook exploitation. But I'll give credit where credit is due and say that you don't see many movies that're this disgusting that're as old as this one. We're pushing the 40th anniversary on this, and when you take into account that repulsing people was the whole idea, it not only succeeds but stands up VERY well, so long after the fact. This one was way ahead of its time. So if an obscenely high breast count, torture and general nastiness are enough for you, by all means, check it out. Anyone that has to cover their eyes during A Nightmare on Elm Street would do well to avoid it.