Review Date: March 14, 2009
Released by: Severin
Release date: 3/31/2009
Region 0, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1
I’ve seen Linda Lovelace fellate a dog, Long Jeanne Silver put her stump leg in orifices unimaginable and thanks to The Sister of Ursula
last year, a woman raped by a wooden phallus that also happens to be a religious figure. I’m not sure if that’s an admission of guilt or a testament to the versatility of the cinema, but that’s some disturbing shit. Destined to be another notch on the depravity belt is Severin’s The Sinful Dwarf
, which promises a “towering achievement in graphic depravity” as it chronicles the exploits of a horny, sadistic little person. Why I’m using political correctness in a paragraph involving bestiality and dwafsploitation, I’ll never know. But here it is, another demented porno from the fine folks at Severin, fresh from the closet of a janitor at the Danish Film Institute. Does Denmark’s leading motion picture repository have good taste?
Think of all the twentysomething women you know who can be found on the streets playing hopscotch. Now, think of all the dwafs you know who walk robotic toy poodles while on the prowl for flesh. Dozens of matches, right? So The Sinful Dwarf begins, with Olaf (Torben Bille
) taking the blonde naïve back to his mother’s boardinghouse to make the title anything but a misnomer. She looks at his toy dog, and he unleashes the wrath of the cane, pummeling her with his walking stick. She’s not the only one, either. He’s got a storage area filled with lush, naked women. But wait – the guy can hardly walk, how on earth is he able to contain so many fit women without even the slightest shackle? Heroin. Yes, our little person is also running a heroin ring out of the building, and he’s got all his strumpets hooked.
He doesn’t work alone, though. His mother, Lila Lash (Clara Keller
), a former stage dancer unable to leave the past behind her, runs the entire operation. She dresses up in outrageous costumes and cakes on colorful makeup while the dwarf spies on boarders through a conveniently placed peep hole. So how exactly does this corrupt little business stay afloat, then? Well, it turns out bedding coked out blondes is quite the commodity in Denmark, and many men pay to come and have their way with the talent. For us, the viewer, that means a lot of shots of men’s bare asses thrusting into almost comatose twentysomethings.
Enough with the asses though, what about our pint sized leading man, Olaf? Well, it seems he’s set the bar too high when he sets his eyes on a new boarder, Mary (Anne Sparrow
). The bombshell blonde is in town on business with her husband Peter (Tony Eades
), and while waiting for his arrival, mistakenly wanders into Olaf’s attic of immorality. Olaf beats her, chains her up, shoots her up, and puts his cane in places he shouldn't, but that doesn’t stop her from calling out for her man. Peter’s gone to the authorities to try and find her, and Olaf is having a tough time keeping business and pleasure separately. Oh, the sins this little dwarf is about to commit…
The Sinful Dwarf
is a film that couldn’t possibly live up to its title, but honestly, this one hardly even tries. The high-concept is all there, a masochistic, sex-crazed dwarf using a cane to make up for his other “shortcomings”. Unfortunately, though, like many other high-concept seventies pornographic fare, the film hardly delivers on the exciting premise. It’s still ultimately a series of sex scenes strung together with the novelty du jour. The dwarf walks around a bit, shots of boarders having sex. The dwarf goes into the attic, shots of nude women writhing on the bed. The dwarf looks through his peep hole, a couple has sex. It’s a shame, really, that Olaf is reduced to the story mover, because it’s really Torben Bille’s intensity that makes up the strongest portions of the film.
A much better film could have focused entirely on Olaf – his relationship with his mother, his loneliness, his perversion. With all the scenes with his mother as performer and all the others with him as voyeur, the relationship between viewer and performer really could have been explored and pushed to new boundaries, especially considering the dominance-subservience hierarchy that comes part and parcel with having a little person as the lead. Sadly, though, not only does the film ignore any such thematic constructs, but littler Olaf hardly even speaks! What a missed opportunity to push your most novel performer aside for more shots of naked people doing what they’ve been doing since Adam & Eve. I want more dwarf, dammit!
There have been several examples of horror and porn crossed, with Jess Franco’s work certainly the majority, but The Sinful Dwarf
comparatively delivers much less on both genre spectra. The pornography is all soft-core, and again poorly staged shots of guys asses and backs giving it to passive recipients. Come on, that’s no fun! If you’re going to focus so much on the sex, then at least mix up the scenarios a bit. Where’s Lila for some mature loving? How about the detective seduced by one of the addicts? Hell, they own a boardinghouse, you’d think there could be a nice sample of different kinds of lovers that would check in. And again, what about poor little Olaf? Certainly doing more than just watching or groping would have upped the depravity the title so openly promises. Instead, all the sex we get here is as George A. Romero would say, Vanilla.
Okay, so forget the boring sex, what about the horror? Well, uh, what about it? Really, this dwarf’s sins are pretty tame. A few beatings with a cane, some needles and a whole lot of watching. There are a couple of deaths during the climax, but otherwise it’s all no vacancy when it comes to gore or grue. The lighting, like in most pornos, is to expose rather than stylize, and the result is bland, or at least as bland as watching a demented dwarf could possibly be. Not scary, not sexy, and not really all that sinful, The Sinful Dwarf
is a novelty that works better as a poster and a title than it does an actual film. Rather than big bangs, the film only offers a few tiny delights.
For a film discovered in a janitor’s closet I suppose it looks okay. There isn’t any turpentine residue, at any rate. Compared to Severin’s usual standards, though, this progressive, 1.33:1 full frame transfer is certainly lacking. The overall picture is fuzzy and soft, with some scenes worse than others, but every one lacking in detail. There is a layer of grain that presides over the entire picture. The coloring is off at times too, notably at the 1:24:21 mark where the film suddenly switches to a blue daylight tone inside. Still, anyone seeking out a movie about a sex-crazed shrimp probably isn’t looking for high-def visual quality, either. As a lost oddity it’s good enough the film is delivered intact and watchable, but don’t expect much else.
Like most of the captives in Olaf’s harem, this disc’s got mono. English is the only audio option, and that seems to be what all the actors are speaking, despite it being a Danish production. The dwarf’s voice sounds particularly bizarre, as if a few octaves lower than it should be. That’s no fault to the transfer, though, which comes through clear if thin and with a slight hum.
This is the kind of movie where you want to see just how the hell they went about marketing it, and it’s interesting to see how the Americans treated, re-titling it to Abducted Bride
, as if we really care about the vapid blond over the little menace! We get the American trailer, a couple radio spots and an easter egg TV spot. In addition, there is a ten-minute tongue-in-cheek “The Severin Controversy” featurette looking at the traumatic effects of the film. There is a funny reenactment of discovering the title on DVD shelves, and then a few hit and miss interviews with film fanatics who talk about how the film has scarred them. The whole piece is fronted by John Severin himself, and even if it doesn’t succeed in stirring up controversy, it’s at the very least a nice, light, entertaining extra. Not bad, but where’s a modern day interview (or hell, I’d take vintage) with Torben?!
The greatest sin of The Sinful Dwarf
is that it pushes the novel concept of a sex-crazed dwarf to the periphery in favor of bland soft-core sex sequences. The scenes with the dwarf doing depravity are certainly standout, but they are so tame and far between that fast forwarding becomes a necessity. You don’t want to linger on the visuals anyway, which are fuzzy and full frame. The sound is complete and acceptable, and the short Severin featurette is mildly entertaining. Still, the extras does like the feature and neglects the big star, Olaf the Dwarf! There are few horror-porns that live up to their high-concept, and once again, this is a film where the title, erm, dwarfs the final product.
Movie - C
Image Quality - C
Sound - B-
Supplements - C
- Running time - 1 hour 35 minutes
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English mono
- "The Severin Controversy" featurette
- Theatrical trailers
- Radio spots
- Easter egg