Written by: George Pacheco on March 3rd, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Denmark / USA, 1974
Director: Vidal Raski
Writers: William Mayo, Harlan Asquith
Cast: Torben Bille, Anne Sparrow, Tony Eades, Clara Keller, Werner Hedman, Gerda Madsen, Jeanette Marsden, Lisbeth Olsen, Jane Cutter, Dale Robinson, Ben Haley, Ted Neumann, Peter Gaumont, Richard Wilder, Steve Brace, Richard Dalton, Berni Weiss, Jens Nilsen
BluRay released: March 1st, 2016
Approximate running times: 93 minutes (Abducted Bride – U.S. Theatrical Release), 96 minutes (The Sinful Dwarf – XXX Version), 72 minutes (The Blue Balloon)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (All Films)
Rating: NR (Abducted Bride – U.S. Theatrical Release), XXX (The Sinful Dwarf, The Blue Balloon)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (All Films)
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
The Sinful Dwarf is one such film, a palpably sleazy exercise in exploitable excess which has been endowed here with enough extras to justify once again diving down this Danish rabbit hole of horror. The film is shrouded in mystery to this very day, as much of the film’s cast only participated in this film, with much of the others either sadly passed on or otherwise involved with Denmark’s adult scene and thus not too keen on reliving their exploitation glory days.
As such, watching the film is still quite the experience, as director Vidal Raski-a likely pseudonym, but again, a mystery-crafts a tale of abduction and abuse chock full of disturbing imagery. The clear star of the show here is Torben Bille, the titular dwarf who runs a halfway house/hotel alongside his troubled mother, but who also hides a sinister secret: the duo are in the habit of abducting young women, drugging them into a stupor and utilizing them as sex slaves. Bille’s performance is sinister and magnetic as he traps and tortures the young women with a seemingly endless amount of glee.
Raski’s film gradually builds upon this premise with the arrival of a young British couple to the hotel, played by Tony Eades and Anne Sparrow, who gradually become suspicious as to what’s going on upstairs. Neither of these actors would be credited with anything after The Sinful Dwarf, while much of Torben’s captive slaves would work with the sex and softcore industry on the side. Sparrow’s character gets too close to the truth, of course, and it’s from there Raski severely ups the ante in terms of nudity, violence and even some hardcore sex, depending on which cut you view.
Nearly everything about The Sinful Dwarf feels dirty, and the film’s sometimes relaxed pace only adds to the sticky sensibility which permeates Raski’s picture as one which is destined, if it’s not already, to be a cornerstone of essential viewing for any fan of the exploitation genre.
Severin Films presents to different cuts of The Sinful Dwarf here on their Blu-Ray disc, both of which are presented full frame, in varying degrees of quality. The HD cut titled “The Abducted Bride” is the unrated re-release American version of the film, and looks the best of the two. There’s more definition and clarity to the colors, edges and skin tones, although the film itself is definitely soft and shows its age. This is a marked improvement from Severin’s older DVD issue of the film, and represents the best this film will likely look, unless a mint print is miraculously unearthed.
There’s also a separate cut simply titled “The Dwarf” which represents a shorter Danish version of the film. This print is a bit softer, but still excellently scanned, and also presents the hardcore scenes sourced from a darker, separate source. These scenes are not inserts, but rather different takes utilizing the performers who otherwise worked in Denmark’s sex industry during this time. Both cuts feature strong audio quality, particularly with the film’s bizarre musical score, sourced from random library cues and a small bit of composed soundscape.
Extras here include original trailers and radio spots, alongside a number of small featurettes detailing the difficulty Severin had in tracking down information upon the film, as well as a short retrospective on The Sinful Dwarf distributor Harry Novak. There’s also a complete bonus feature contained here, as well, thanks to an assist from Vinegar Syndrome. It’s a XXX roughie from the producers of The Sinful Dwarf titled The Blue Balloon, and it’s of a similarly grimy nature. The 75 minute film arrives from a scratched but certainly watchable 16mm print, and it features Dwarf actress Lisbeth Olsen as yet another abducted and abused woman, who this time succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome after being forced to degrade herself to a group of men.
Finally, Vinegar Syndrome was also kind enough to lend Severin a scene from their forthcoming DVD of The Hottest Show in Town, which features which appears to be Torben Bille in an un-credited role alongside another little person during a wedding night scene. It’s another bizarre addition to a very stacked disc which should satiate even the heartiest of fans of sleaze and The Sinful Dwarf. Highly recommended.