Sinful Dwarf, The

Discussion in 'High Def' started by rkellner, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. rkellner

    rkellner Active Member

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    [​IMG]


    [​IMG] Reviewer: rkellner
    Review Date: October 19, 2016

    Released by: Severin Films
    Release date: 2/23/2016
    MSRP: $22.00 (Buy now at Amazon and help support the site)
    Region Free
    Progressive Scan
    Codec: AVC, 1080p
    Full Frame 1.33:1
    1973

    “Dear eyeballs, I am sorry,” he said to himself as he hit play on the BluRay player remote…

    This is not the first time that I have had the back of my eyes seared by the experience of watching The Sinful Dwarf. As I mentioned in a previous review, after the explosion of the internet and the proliferation of well researched websites that shone a light on the darkest recesses of weird global cinema, especially in the horror genre, I started a Must See List. Within the first decade of DVD releases, I had crossed most things off the list, but along with rarities like Hausu, and Thundercrack (both with too good to be true BluRays now) there were a couple oddball items of lore that I didn’t think were ever going to be released legitimately. I mean, what respectable, or even disrespectable company is going to put out The Sinful Dwarf, let alone the full hardcore XXX version of it? That all changed in 2009 when the good folks at Severin unleashed upon the world what can easily be called “the greatest dwarfsploitation film ever” (good lord, what was its competition?), Denmark’s 1973 oddity The Sinful Dwarf.

    A copy ended up in my hands, and I did what any respecting person would do when in possession of such potentially dangerous cinematic craziness…find people to inflict it upon. I think there were a half dozen people at my house that night, drinking beers to prepare ourselves for whatever the hell “dwarfsploitation” was, let alone whatever the hell the PINNACLE of it was.

    Well, we watched it. Minds were blown. There were a lot of things that could not be unseen. One person may have had PTSD. I don’t think certain people watched a movie at my house for years to follow.

    So, here I am in 2016 about to watch a REMASTERED HD version, and the hardcore XXX version nonetheless, on a far superior setup than I used to have a couple promotions ago. Should the Sinful Dwarf be watched on a 120inch screen upscaled to 4k? Can the brain and the eyes handle it?

    The Story

    inline Image The film starts off with a warning for what to never do in this situation. A “young girl” (played by an childlike actress who appeared other underground Danish pornos of the time) is approached by our title character played by former child TV host Torben, who shows her a toy mechanical poodle. This was obvious good enough to convince her to follow him to the seedy hotel where he lives. He then takes her up to the attic (nope, still no warning signs here), knocks her out, and then she awakens as a slave in an unknown brothel with the other heroin addicted whores. See, that’s what happens kids.

    inline Image Soon after that, a young but completely broke married couple Mary, played by Anne Sparrow in her only credited role and Peter, played by Tony Eades in his only credited role until 1993, desperate for a room to stay in, decide stay the night in the same hotel. Despite every warning sign imaginable after meeting the staff, they decide that this is safe place to stay for awhile, and promptly get it on. The next day, while Peter goes off to find work, he leaves his insanely attractive wife to wander around the hotel alone. Suspicious of noises that she has been hearing out of the attic, she decides to snoop around and stumbles upon the sex prison where kidnapped, heroin addicted young women are being kept against their will for cheap sex. As another valuable lesson to the viewers for why you should never put yourself in these scenarios, she is promptly abducted, tossed in with the other girls, and shot up with heroin.

    inline Image Honestly there is not much of a plot here. In between this setup and the absolutely hilarious finale, there are numerous scenes of John’s being with the women, multiple scenes of Torben’s mother getting drunk with her elderly friend and singing really terrible songs, and conversations on the phone with “Santa” her heroin dealer who stashes deliveries in teddy bears from his workshop. Yup, this stuff just writes itself.

    inline Image The opening credits include the line Introducing Torben as “The Dwarf”… and I want to take part of this review to acknowledge just how freakin’ weird this guy is in this film. I mean like vintage Charles Manson odd. Calling Torben the best asset in a cheap softcore/hardcore exploitation film called The Sinful Dwarf is a bit of a given, but my god, every shot that this guy is in is just taken to the next level by his depraved, insane character. You can’t take your eyes off of the way he moves, the way he gives a child like delivery of lines, his crazy teeth and well, other nasty bits that you probably don’t want to see anyway. You could read into some subtext here of what happens to children of neglect and abuse, and how they grow up to crave affection in strange ways…but what the heck am I talking about? This is The Sinful Dwarf. That sort of academic thought was obviously never considered when making this trash-terpiece.

    inline Image The default version on this disk has the onscreen title of Abducted Bride which is the unrated US theatrical release of the film. There is also the hardcore version called “The Dwarf” under the XXX option on the menu, which has (more) hardcore inserts. It is easy to tell what scenes are added due to their degraded video quality. The mind reels for anyone who wanted to see a sexy picture called Abducted Bride back in the day and got this instead. At least with a title like The Sinful Dwarf you at least had an inkling to what you might be getting yourself into.

    inline Image The concept of making this a hardcore film just baffles the imagination, as does most of what is on screen here really. First of all, the theatrical cut is halfway pornographic as is with the amount of full frontal nudity and sex on screen for a fair amount of its running time. It’s just that everything else outside of those flesh filled scenes is just so damn, ummm, “mood killing”. Torben’s odd as hell visage and maniacal laughing and bugged out eyes, multiple cringe worthy musical numbers with his elderly mother, and some sadistic violence to round it out are not exactly things you want to see…really ever, but ESPECIALLY as segues between the naughtier parts of this film. However, their inclusion just makes this film all that much stranger and truly powerful and disturbing.

    Along with fellow mondo XXX rated euro-sleaze classic “They Call Her One Eye/Thriller: A Cruel Picture, I can honestly say, they don’t make ‘em like they used to. However whether that is a good thing or not is up to you to decide.

    Image Quality

    inline Image Obviously this was never going to be reference material as it is an extremely low budget affair. Compared to my old DVD, this new 1080p MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 pillarboxed transfer is an improvement in color and resolution…but lets be fair, this film still looks pretty shoddy even after an upgrade. I have seen 16mm film look pretty good on BluRay. Some of the remastered early HG Lewis films, which are of this budget level, look pretty good in fact. This…not so much. Colors are decent, the print is relatively clean with some elements of debris and hair on the edges, but it is a fuzzy, drab, slightly out of focus, low resolution affair. The transitions to the hardcore footage will be pretty obvious for more reasons than the randy fuzz guitar soundtrack kicking in. Taken from a tape source, it is of lower quality, much darker, and oddly seems to have a totally different color scheme. As a word of advice for viewing this film, for those who are comfortable doing so, picking some more exaggerated picture and color schemes on your setup will certainly help. But let’s be honest, did we need The Sinful Dwarf in Criterion worthy HD? Nope.

    Sound

    The soundtrack here is passable and presented in a DTS-HD 2.0 Mono soundtrack. The dubbed voices sound just fine as well as the oddly dissonant flute soundtrack by Ole Orsted which comes across well here and pairs with the visuals to give this entire film a surreal, off kilter feeling.

    Supplemental Material

    The Blue Balloon - A 71 minute XXX feature made by the Danish producers of The Sinful Dwarf. It also stars Lisbeth Olsen who was the redhead mistress in the attic in Sinful Dwarf. This was a collaboration with Vinegar Syndrome who provides the transfer from a rare 16mm print. The film looks very strong, but does have some debris and vertical lines. For a rare Danish porno from the 70’s, I can only assume this is a definitive presentation. The content of this is far more explicit with 100% less dwarves and more of the content that the raincoat crowd would come to expect. However the plot is in the same league as the feature film with a young girl being abducted and forced into prostitution with some weird, uncomfortable scenes thrown in.

    The Hottest Show in Town scene - Apparently featuring a young Torben in a graphic dwarf on dwarf sex scene in a carnival setting. I watched it so you don’t have to.

    The Trail of Torben - A hilariously worded video essay on the making of the Sinful Dwarf, or more correctly lack of any real or truthful information on those who made it. The narrator goes through the multiple dead ends that Severin encountered while trying to piece together the spotty history of the eponymous character of this film played by Torben Bille, who passed away in 1993, and anyone else who may be able to talk about the filming of it. The nine minute mini-documentary briefly covers Torben’s work with children’s television (?!?!), X rated James Bond spoofs, and his work with other Danish films post-Dwarf. Basically, no one wants to really come out of the woodwork and claim that they were part of the making of The Sinful Dwarf, largely because many of the actors, actresses, and even the director himself were (wisely?) using pseudonyms on the film…and well, they may have seen what they filmed.

    Harry Novak: Sulten of Sinema - A great six minute biography of Harry Novak covering his early production and distribution days (Kiss Me Quick, Blood Feast) of nudie cuties and his company BoxOffice International Pictures which tore up the box office sales at the local grindhouses with their mix of provocative sounding titles and believe it or not, surprisingly decent films that actually delivered the goods that they promised in their salacious trailers! In the 60s and 70s, Novak started doing great business by distributing regional horror fare like Axe and Rituals to local drive-ins as well as pseudo sex-horror hybrids. The piece concludes with some thought provoking take home message about how these pioneers of their days brought these underground genre topics into the mainstream and now they proliferate within our favorite TV shows.

    There are also a decent assortment of trailers and radio spots

    Final Thoughts

    Ok, so this is a near impossible film to grade. Is it a good film? Oh hells no. Do the makers of the film show technical flair and does it have a well developed story structure? Not even close. Is the quality of the print nice and up to par with other BluRay releases of the era? Not a chance. However, if you are the sort of person that seeks out the most bizarre stuff ever lensed, is this a must see title? Without any question. Will you ever forget the first time that you see this crazy “dwarfsploitation” classic and will images from it haunt your mind for years? Without question.

    Rating

    [​IMG] Movie - A++ (on the Dwarfsploitation/Exploitation Scale)
    C- (under any other sane reviewing model)

    Image Quality - B-

    Sound - B

    Supplements - A+


    Technical Info.
    • Color
    • 1 Disc
    • DTS HD 2.0 Mono
    Supplements
    • The Blue Balloon - A 71 minute XXX feature
    • The Hottest Show in Town scene
    • The Trail of Torben video essay
    • Biography of Harry Novak
    • Trailers and radio spots
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2016
    maskull, Workshed, indrid13 and 2 others like this.
  2. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    Really nice job with all the reviews rkellner.
     
  3. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    This was an awesome read. I'd pick this up if I were younger and more stoned but alas, your review will have to take me back there in my dreams. Or is that NIGHTMARES?

    (One note: looks like some text was clipped here: 'The Hottest Show in Town scene - Apparently featuring a young Torben in a graphic dwarf on dwarf sex scene in a carnival setting. I watched it so you don’t have to.')
     
  4. rkellner

    rkellner Active Member

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    [QUOTE= looks like some text was clipped here: Apparently featuring a young Torben in a graphic dwarf on dwarf sex scene in a carnival setting. I watched it so you don’t have to.

    nope...that was all that I had to say about that feature. Glad you guys are liking these.
     
  5. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    There's an extra 'scene' in there, though, after the title.
     

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