Blood Sucking Freaks (1976)

The Incredible Torture Show (1976)

Joel M. Reed’s notoriously explicit Blood Sucking Freaks (AKA The Incredible Torture Show) is a cinematic homage to Herchall Gordon Lewis’ drive-in classic The Wizard Of Gore which tells the story of an eccentric maestro who performs feats of torture and mutilation in front of a live audience. However, Blood Sucking Freaks is legendarily more gratuitous, more explicit and more brutal than The Wizard Of Gore. It was so explicit in fact, that Blood Sucking Freaks was infamously ‘banned’ (refused to be rated) shortly after its release in the United States after campaigns and protests from a group of political activists called Women Against Pornography. As it stands, Blood Sucking Freaks is a monstrous cavalcade of misogynistic torture and sexual exploitation. This film is possibly the dirtiest, the nastiest, most perverted film that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, at the same time, Blood Sucking Freaks is possibly the most uninteresting, shoddiest and downright unentertaining film I have ever seen.

Blood Sucking Freaks prides itself on being an infamous Porn & Torture film, and that title is well deserved. The film takes incredible pleasure in showing shots of naked women being maimed, mutilated or brutalized in multiple different ways. There is no end to the brutality that is shown onscreen: cannibalism, necrophilia, sadistic/masochistic pleasures, everything is fair-play for Sardu and his band of female slaves. Blood Sucking Freaks has the reputation of being one of the first films that really went above and beyond when it came to tasteless torture, and unerotic pornographic content. the film went on to become very inspirational for future sex and violence films such as Hostel, House Of 1000 Corpses, and The Driller Killer.

However, Blood Sucking Freaks may be shocking, but it isn’t entertaining in any possible way, the film contains nothing of substance that makes the film interesting or exciting. Blood Sucking Freaks sports a paper thin plot, uninteresting characters, ear-bleedingly bad music and terrible acting from everyone involved. The script for Blood Sucking Freaks was written in one day, and that fact is clearly evident as the film contains nothing of substance, just scene after scene of unerotic nudity, shoddy special effects, and Seamus O’ Brien (who plays Sardu) doing his best impression of a terrible Shakespearean actor. After watching the first few scenes of shocking content, I became exponentially bored. I just wanted to movie to do something, anything of substance. I wanted to film to offer a twist in the plot, an interesting character, or a scene of brutality that was actually convincing, but the film doesn’t deliver on any of those premises. Blood Sucking Freaks just meanders on until the film’s brutally bizarre climax, which in all honesty, is incredibly underwhelming as the film blew it’s entire shock value on the first 30 minutes of screen-time.

All in all, Blood Sucking Freaks may be one of the most iconic banned films of the ‘porn and torture’ genre of film, but the film offers nothing of interest. Nothing about the film makes it stand out: torture films would go on to get better as the years go on, Jess Franco was making better pornographic films at the same time Blood Sucking Freaks existed, and the film pales in comparison to the film that came before it: The Wizard Of Gore, which is a much more enjoyable slice of splatter horror. In the end, I believe Blood Sucking Freaks is simply an unenjoyable mess of a film with barely any redeeming values. It is a film that can easily be skipped for something of better substance. Even for hardened gore-hounds like myself, Blood Sucking Freaks pales in comparison to other porn and torture films such as Ilsa: She Wolf OF The SS, Caligula, or even Island Of Death. Blood Sucking Freaks should have died of obscurity, but because of it’s infamous ‘banning’ by the hands of Women Against Pornography, it has gained an odd cult following I don’t believe it deserves.

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