Severin Films brought a bit of controversy to themselves recently by releasing the Blu-Ray version of the most exploitative movie, to some, that actually has sexploitation and dwarfsploitation attached to the legendary status of this flick, which brings claims that are more outrageous and offenses with each passing year, and yet garnishes more viewers from the criticism. The Sinful Dwarf hails from Denmark, while filmed in England with an English speaking cast, and yet truly has some of the seventies European sleaze factors multiplied by five, as hints of disturbing images cross the screen to offend rather than entice. The movie actually finds itself very hard to classify and not easily pigeonholed, while IMDb slates the genres as Adult, Crime, Horror and those truly do fit, it goes deeper, to a sleazy underside of the film market, perhaps to the disc/ taping trading at convention show that seek the more underground material. In addition, the flick goes by the American title Abducted Bride in which the more x-rated scenes found themselves exorcise from the finish product, and yet viewing scenes intact won’t shock anyone of then and now. Director Vidal Raski (his only credit ever) delivers a twisted and stays just an inch to the right of becoming completely perverted and unwatchable, yet implements a bit of WIP (women-in-prison) sadistic to challenge the viewer.
Screenwriter William Mayo, with his only film credit (a common occurrence with much of the cast and crew), it almost follows the eerie path of either infamous taboo of a snuff movie or the forgotten trade loops in the porn industry), as he presents a straightforward storyline of kidnapping women and having them become unwilling sex slaves. The business, presents a cover story of a boarding house (not a motel) and a bizarre mother Lila (Clara Keller) and her disturbed son Olaf (Torben Bille), they use heroin on the victims making them into docile victims. Note, this is not a Psycho (1960) rip-off, while a few tidbits referenced the film, in the passing glance it has absolutely nothing in common with Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Raski’s film wastes no time to trying to offend in the beginning of the movie, an outdoor scene involving Olaf enticing a young girl who’s playing a version of hopscotch and with mechanical toy poodle. He lures back to his home and gullible to follow up the scariest room next to the basement the attic, and taken victim for sick games of physical torture, during the abduction Olaf plays it quite well, honed skill and tact. However, a little more on this opening scene, in a moment, meanwhile the film quickly transcends and has the introduction of a newlywed couple Peter (Tony Eades) and Mary (Anne Sparrow). The rents a very cheap room and once in the room jump into bed for a quick romp, ruin by terrible sound, dreadful lighting and awkward camera placement, the x-rated version is no better, in fact worst as the scene drags longer. Peter searches for a job, while his wife stays at the rundown house and she feels uncomfortable both with odd sounds from the attic and with Lila and Olaf, who seems too strange fascination for Mary, and even has little peepholes to look into bedrooms, for his jollies. Bille’s performance really takes the oddness to another level, as he takes enjoyment in kidnapping, drugging, and teasing the victims with his cane as extension of penile penetration. Lila finds the “johns” to use the girls and collect 100% of the fees for them, the true exploit of labor and sex, and as the victimization occurs she entertains herself singing show tunes, drinking vodka, and sharing memories with her friend Winnie (Gerda Madsen, passed on in 1986, but starred in the legendary Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)). Peter successful finds a job coincidentally with Lila’s drug connection, Santa Claus (Werner Hedman, passed in 2005) who owns a toy store that Olaf marvels over especially looking under the girl dolls’ dresses, and taking home heroin filled toys, like a trusted elf. Mary investigates the odd sounds in the attic, a typical no-no in any horror movie, and it always in something dreadful occurring herein no different, she becomes another drugged victim.
Bille (who passed in 1993) truly owns the movie, he translates the creepiness of his role to the full effect, with a maddening grin, and devilish predator skills, and child-like kindness for his toys, although many times some toys find themselves in compromising sexual positions. As previously mentioned the opening scene, might have gone worse, as the actress portraying the ‘young girl’ who’s abducted, appears as a 18-year-old woman, the director could have gone in the other direction and implied the child sex slaves, thankfully that did not happen, smart move on part of the filmmakers. It is bad enough the horrors exist in society and a few dramas and horror genre cover the material such as The Afflicted (2010) paraphrases Theresa Knorr’s lives, but The Sinful Dwarf, will give some perplexing images on the screen, which some warn might ruin your brain. The movie features three sex slaves, who mumble, moan and otherwise pose modestly naked, never journey the path of perverse sexuality when alone, aside from the drugged and chained.
Raski provides excellent moments of the mother and son’s depraved actions to hurt others for the financial benefit, and simulates sexual intentions with the audience by zooming into the scene as a form of sexual arousal, especially when Olaf behaviors incur a drooling madness. The movie contains premium grindhouse elements and incorporate every vice, and inappropriate action into a twisted mixture of viewing, to disgust and upset the most seasonal viewers, aside from those who watched Faces of Death (year?). The movie, does barely use the plot to hold everything together, up to the ending which ends a bit abruptly when it comes to Lila, and then again, it is after all exploitation.
This movie contains, everything from many exploitation markets, a virtual shopping spree of offensives, and tallies the endless deviant behaviors in a form of a Christmas want list for Santa, and not the one in this flick. The question of entertainment does arise, the worth of it, and for many of the curious will rent it, and others will seek out the purchase, either way if one does have an option of the film when finish they need to check for a pulse or a conscience. Now, as for living to the hype and controversy that runs into the aging of the movie, and it still might offend, especially those of absolute political correctness, referring to the title and the treatment of women, but remember the genre of sadistic perversions running amok. Lastly, as reviewer and radio host of a horror podcast I found the movie to truly push the boundaries of good taste and live up to my standard for the horror genre “The Extreme has a Lasting Impression” and this movie achieves that with gusto.