Jan 11, 2019

IMDb: Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)
Director: Joel M. Reed
Stars: Seamus O’Brien, Viju Krem, Niles McMaster

In 1976 Joel M. Reed wrote and directed a horror comedy that would change the way the horror community looked at gore and exploitation forever. While there were many films prior that definitely were an inspiration, Bloodsucking Freaks is one of the most mentioned films of all time on the top ten lists of numerous genre fans.


Somewhere between 1970 and 1973 the world was introduced to The Wizard of Gore, Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, and The Sinful Dwarf. All of these films have been given various releases over the years. The works of Herschell Gordon Lewis, of course, tend to be the cheapest and most well known. Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood was recently given an obscure Arrow release and The Sinful Dwarf comes around every once in awhile from Severin Films. I have mentioned and/or covered many of these films in the past. If you are unfamiliar with this genre, the links may help you to decide whether or not this film is worth the purchase for you. While I feel like many of the films, as well as certain remakes, need improvement, I appreciate what they did for film history.

If anything, the previously mentioned films at least led to the creation of Bloodsucking Freaks. As this film opens, it screams The Wizard of Gore. It seems to be blatantly stealing the story-line. It even does what HGL did for the splatter genre, by taking torture on stage to the next level. Once you make it through the brutal opening of this film, it never slows down. While its predecessor has a few slow points (and an awful remake), this film manages to hold the twisted viewer from start to finish.

When Troma put out the director’s cut of Bloodsucking Freaks, they had to know that they had hold of a special release. This is definitely a company that puts out a lot of garbage, but their gems are awesome. This film is one of those gems; in fact, it is the gem. This is by far my favorite release from Troma Films. As a label, I usually just get their stuff because they are cheap, hoping that I will find a diamond in the rough. This film, however, is a classic in many respects.

Aside from a gory splatter classic that pays homage to HGL, this is also a film that improves upon many played out exploitation story-lines. The misogynistic torture and defilement in the scenes will remind you of many films from Salo to Hostel. So while this film used others for inspiration, there is no doubt that it inspired tons of filmmakers in the future. Even your more obscure sexploitation (dwarfsploitation?) films get some time in the spotlight with this film. It does everything that The Sinful Dwarf should have done, and manages to build in a story where¬†SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell fell short.

This is the one guys. This is the film that will get new fans of the disturbing and disgusting involved in the classics. It is also one that the “experts” can refer back to multiple times in a year. This is an affordable film that will do great things for the collector of any horror genre. It will quench their thirst for blood, boobs, and brutality across multiple horror and exploitation sub-genres.


Originally Published: September 19th, 2016