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  • The Sinful Dwarf

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 27th, 2009

    (out of 5)

    Frankly, if you need any information beyond the title of this release, then it probably isn’t for you. It’s The Sinful Dwarf, man! But if you really must know more, be it on your head. Mind-bogglingly stupid and broke newlyweds Mary and Peter (Anne Sparrow and Tony Eades, actors of an ineptitude that passeth all understanding) check in to the boarding house of retired (and scarred) burlesque performer Lila Lash (Clara Keller) her son Olaf (children’s show host Torben Bille), the titular sinful dwarf. Mary hears noises in the attic, but Peter won’t listen to her. He should, as Lila and Olaf keep a harem of women up there as prostitutes, ensuring their submission through forced injections of heroin. Now they have their sights set on Mary…

    Whatever you fear or hope about a film with this title, the reality will likely exceed your imagination. “Exploitation” is almost too tame a word to describe the spectacles here, whether we’re talking about incessant close-ups of Bille’s sweaty, greasy, drooling, leering face, or Keller’s disturbing Marlene Dietrich impersonation. If you don’t need a shower after watching this, you aren’t human. In other words, it’s sublime.


    I first saw this opus on VHS back in the mid-90s, and somehow, that’s the format that seems the proper one for a cesspool of moral turpitude such as this (and I say that with love). This is a film that should be discovered, filmed in a layer of dust, its jacket bleached blue by the sun, in a forgotten corner of a video store you feel a little weird about even setting foot in. So it’s actually rather reassuring to see just how raw the damn thing still looks, even on DVD. The image is fullscreen, and very grainy. There are moments where the picture is so soft that the faces of anyone in long shot become pink smears. The colours vary from the stronger-than-this-deserves to being suffused with red, looking for all the world like the grindhouse flotsam it so undoubtedly is. I’m not even sure how to rate this thing: it looks like crap, but so it should.


    The mono marches right along beside the video. It’s clean enough to make out what people are saying, but there is just enough distortion to reaffirm the sleaze. Bille is well night incomprehensible, but enough of his dialogue gets through to make one squirm. There is no attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and nor should there be.

    Special Features

    The Severin Controversy: An amusing featurette where a bemused John Severin interviews two friends who claim that their lives were blighted by their initial viewing of movie in the 90s. It’s all very silly, but rather funny all the same.

    Theatrical Trailer: Under the title Abducted Bride. The print is in pretty rough shape.

    Radio Spots: Two of them, 30 seconds and 60 seconds long.

    Final Thoughts

    Not only does this have the Greatest Title In Movie History, and for that reason alone belong on the shelf of any self-respecting connoisseur of the depraved, but it boasts what might be the most hilarious jacket copy I have ever read, which is worth the purchase in and of itself.

    Posted In: 1.33:1 Fullscreen, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital Mono (English), DVD, Horror, Mature, Severin Films, Suspense / Thriller

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