George Carlin said it best: I don’t like people for extended periods of time. I’m alright with them for a little while, but once ya get up past around a minute, minute n’ a half, I gotta get the fuck outta there. And my reason for this, my reason is one that you may share possibly–I have a very low tolerance level for stupid bullshit.
I can therefore scarce overstate my utter hatred for the detestable bit of celluloid that calls itself Bloodsucking Freaks. In fact, I’m still not altogether against scrapping this post entirely rather than allowing this movie’s presence in Castle Blogferatu. Still, at the quasi-behest of a friend and unfortunate reader of Your Humble Narrator’s blog, I’ll give it the ol’ college try–Up Miskatonic! Represent! Go Cephalopods!
So, where oh where does one begin? Well, Master Sardu runs this third-tier off-off-off-Broaday Grand Guignol kinda show. He kidnaps people, mostly women that are then dismembered and/or killed on stage. Trust me–it only sounds gory. There’s also a poorly developed sex slave subplot that literally does zero to move the story along. That’s pretty much it from the plot department except for maybe Sardu’s illusion of making the big time.
Problem #1 I suppose is that this waste of 91 minutes commits not one but two of The Cardinal Sins. First is the 8 Deadly Words: I Don’t Care What Happens To These People. I seriously don’t. Second, and the most unforgiveable, is that it’s just flat-out, straight-up stupid bullshit.
To say this movie has not aged well is like saying someone standing in the path of a tsunami may experience moisture. It has not only aged like milk, but milk left in a car. With the windows up. In direct sunlight. In Florida. In August. Lots of full frontal female nudity, many bare breasts, all of which presented with the tantalizing sensuality of a medical exam. Objectification, misogyny, cannibalism, torture, human trafficking–just a laugh riot for the whole family.
Alternative sexualities are stereotyped and demonized. Black women are little more than servants. And there’s even an unfortunately characterized person of restricted growth, Ralphus (Luis De Jesus), who looks disturbingly like the love child of Hervé Villechaize and Robert Hegyes (Juan Epstein from Welcome Back Kotter). Before hitching his wagon to this star vehicle, De Jesus appeared as The Anal Dwarf in the movie of the same name. Next stop? Fame. Ironically, Ralphus is probably the most entertaining character in this godawful two-bit carnival sideshow.
Sadly, considering this in the garish light of day, I gotta admit there are some quirky little charms scattered throughout this little waste of time. For the most part, the “humor” is in severely bad taste which is fine. I’m a big fan of dad-level sex, violence, and dismemberment jokes, and a one-liner here and there even manages to elicit a wee chuckle:
RALPHUS: Master? About my billing…
SARDU: I thought you gave that all up when you left the William Morris Agency.
The “practical effects” are laughably cheap as well. The gore is a caricature at best, and the stage blood could easily be mistaken for cheap nail polish. I could do just as good a job in my own kitchen. Possibly better. That said, it’s for sure this flick does not take itself seriously. Shock for the sake of shock only works, however, when it’s, y’know, shocking. Shock for self-aware laughs only works when there’s irony.
So while one might be tempted to suggest maybe Joel M. Reed pulls off just a little self-awareness, it’s not done in a way to make Bloodsucking Freaks clever or interesting. Think of it as The Benny Hill Show meets Hostel, but with no budget, no irony, and no sense of humor. I felt like a needed a shower after this. Not in a gritty, grindhouse, Ilsa: She Wolf Of The SS kinda way. Not in an I feel defiled Irréversible kinda way. More like a covered in bird shit High Anxiety kinda way.
Now, if John Waters or Rob Zombie were to get a hold of this…
BODIES- seriously who gives a rat’s ass?
Free with Prime & Shudder, for rent on Apple TV, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play