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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Sinful Dwarf (Blu-ray)
The Sinful Dwarf (Blu-ray)
Severin // Unrated // March 1, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted March 2, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Sinful Dwarf:
You want to get touched deeply, sonny? Move along. BUT, if you want to feel the need to scrub your eyeballs with a brillo pad, then Severin's got a deal for you, in the form of this bottom-of-the-barrel sleaze show you've read about, you've heard about, and you prayed couldn't possibly be real. Yep, it's The Sinful Dwarf; fundamentally horrific, aesthetically repellent, psychologically innocuous and figuratively the patent holder to the OTHER little blue pill, Argaiv, or the cure for the common erection. Somewhere down the line, some drunken fool was taking the piss, wondering whom he could bamboozle with this awful idea. Experience it now, but don't expect to respect yourself in the morning.

Lila Lash, (Clara Keller) a scarred, drunken scumbag, has had a hard life. Her sad coping mechanism involves using her creepy dwarf son Olaf (a nightmarish Torben Bille) to lure ostensibly developmentally disabled hotties (check out the 20-something gal in pigtails inexplicably playing hopscotch in the street if you doubt me) into a pathetic life of drug-addicted, low-rent sex-slavery. Using a cheap mechanical puppy, the demonic-looking Olaf gets stupid girlies to follow him home, where they're quickly tied up and hooked on the heroin before being turned out. Concurrently, viewers are immediately turned off and confused by a lengthy titles sequence featuring bizarre music and stark images of lame wind-up toys aimlessly wandering about.

Nutjob director Vidal Raski gives viewers hope early on, by conjuring an air of total dread. An innocent couple, down on their luck, must choose to stay in slaver-pimp Lash's affordable boarding-house-cum-death-brothel. As long as luckless Mary (Anne Sparrow) and Peter (Tony Eades) can put up with the unexpected noise of moronic Johns humping catatonic, dead-eyed junkies in the squalid room next door, then they may be OK. However, their painful innocence and newlywed ways ensure that, at least for a little while, we're pretty invested in them, feeling the pain of their impending doom.

But soon enough we're forced to watch Lash do a bad, lengthy Carmen Miranda impression for her boozed-up friend, and our faith in (in)humanity is sorely tested. Mary is so sweet, and of course we wouldn't wish on her any bad fate, but what's Lash to do other than slap Mary down on a dirty mattress, allowing a leering Olaf to spy on her through a hole in the wall while various dopes stumble in to lay some pipe at a steep discount. On the face of it, The Sinful Dwarf is pretty slimy. It makes Forced Entry look like Sleepless In Seattle.

Scrape some mold off that mattress, however, and you'll find a movie of gonzo lunacy both distasteful and startlingly lightweight. Olaf's leering petulance and cruelty is hard to stomach. Simpering and glaring, he makes you regretfully want to smack him around a bit (shouldn't abuse the height-challenged, you know). But for Torben Bille's exploited station, the movie goes all limp and pointless when it needs to get even worse. At any rate, The Sinful Dwarf here comes in two versions, the soft-core US version, and the XXX version, (which is extremely tame by today's standards) both of which will have you taking a vow of celibacy while wishing for extreme cinema that doesn't ultimately play out like a bunch of disparate sleazy ideas cobbled together without much bite, and with the misguided notion that things need work out in the end.

As an exploitation 'classic' lacking the market share such things deserve, The Sinful Dwarf ought to be seen by fans of the weird stuff. Whether it marks you either in the crotch or in the soul, as such movies should, is entirely subjective. I've seen worse. I'd probably not screen The Sinful Dwarf again, but will grant this extras-larded sickie a Recommended rating nonetheless.

The DVD

Video:
Severin Films has loaded up a hotshot of hopeless exploitation here, in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. 1080p Full HD resolution does precious little to make the US Soft-core Version (titled The Abducted Bride, cracking title, that) or the Strong International Version look all that great. My supposition is that Dwarf was shot on 16mm. (Maybe 8, perhaps even 4.) And it shows. Understanding that it certainly won't (and shouldn't) get better than this, the image is pretty soft, lacking in fine detail, and relatively washed out. There is film damage here and there, nothing too major though. The 'Strong' parts, added back into the print, have completely different color timing, blues predominate, and show more film damage. They are also a little bit crisper than the rest of the movie. The notable extra feature included, The Blue Balloon is rife with film damage, but enjoys nice film grain, and natural colors. It looks better, and is in fact a better overall movie, than The Sinful Dwarf.

Sound:
English 2.0 Audio is fine for what it is, a way to get Torben Bille's hideous cackling into your ears. Otherwise, it is a pretty standard presentation. Dialog is pretty clean, and doesn't show too much damage or distortion. Ole Orsted's twisted score lands a choice spot upfront in the mix, representing the best, most disorienting aspect of the movie. (OK, Bille is the most disorienting aspect, but the music is damn good nonetheless.)

Extras:
Severin delivers a decent dose of extras for you freaks. This single-disk Limited Collector's Edition comes with Two Versions of the Movie, both the US version, (titled The Abducted Bride) and the Strong International version, (with a very few extra, stomach-churning Adult scenes) which has been sequestered on an area of the disk known as 'XXX World'. Sharing space in this world is the ultra rare Danish skin flick, The Blue Balloon, which deserves a review of its own. Less sensationalist, Balloon turns out to be better acted, more distressing, more arousing, and more shockingly intimate. It's superior to Dwarf in every way, it's just missing the sideshow hook to get hopped up, geeked out losers such as myself into the seats. On its own, Balloon earns a Recommended rating.

The extras don't stop there, however. Also in XXX World is a short clip from another dwarfsploitation sex show, The Hottest Show In Town, purportedly featuring a young Torben Bille, and definitely featuring a few minutes of some little people getting naked and banging. In addition to Trailers, a TV Spot, and a Radio Spot, you also get the ported over featurette The Severin Controversy outlining the "lasting effect" of The Sinful Dwarf. A pair of 7-minute featurettes, The Harry Novak Story and The Search For Torben dig into the backgrounds of both figures, respectively. Not a bad haul for such a misbegotten movie.

Final Thoughts:
As an exploitation 'classic' lacking the market share such things deserve, The Sinful Dwarf ought to be seen by fans of the weird stuff. Whether this mind-bending, sex-slavery 'n' sin feature marks you either in the crotch or in the soul, as such movies should, is entirely subjective. I've seen worse, but few so fundamentally wrong-headed. The Sinful Dwarf, in this extras-larded sickie version, is Recommended for reprobates.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

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