Blood Sucking Freaks aka The Incredible Torture Show – USA, 1976

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Blood Sucking Freaks is a 1976 American horror-exploitation film loosely based on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ The Wizard of Gore. Shot under the title Sardu: Master of the Screaming Virgins, the film was titled The Incredible Torture Show for its original brief US theatrical run.


In 1981, Troma Entertainment acquired the distribution rights and retitled the film Blood Sucking Freaks (Bloodsucking Freaks on publicity material). The film would go on to achieve minor cult-classic status due to its ability to slip between being a serious horror film with sexual overtones and a campy send-up of gore films.

In September 2017, John Szpunar’s book, Blood Sucking Freak! The Life and Films of the Incredible Joel M. Reed, was published in the UK by Headpress.


A horror-themed theatre is run by Master Sardu and his midget assistant, Ralphus. In keeping with the Grand Guignol-style, the theatre puts on grotesque shows about torture and murder.

What neither the audiences nor the critics know is that the shows are not staged but real. Moreover, the naked women that appear to be tortured, dismembered and even killed during the performances, are not actresses but kidnapped victims who are made into slaves…

bloodsucking freaks 88 Films blu-ray artwork

Buy uncut on 88 Films Blu-ray |

Special Features:
• All Region Codes
• Limited Edition Slipcase
• Audio Commentary by 
Hostel Director Eli Roth
• Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman
• Original Trailer
• Tour of Troma & Interviews with Three Cast and Crew Members
• Booklet Notes by Calum Waddell
• Aroma du Troma
Radiation March
2 Troma public service announcements
Lloyd Kaufman’s Autobiography Promo Video
Reversible Sleeve Incorporating Original Artwork


Joel M. Reed shot this sick dark comedy on 16mm so its arrival on Blu-ray was always going to reveal the grain of the source material. However, British company 88 Films have done a sterling job and there is no doubt that sick flick Blood Sucking Freaks has never looked this good.

bloodsucking freaks gore scream

A slew of extras from the US Troma DVD are included plus an audio commentary by director and fan Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno) and interviews with three members of the cast and crew.

The package is rounded off with a limited edition slipcase that houses a reversible sleeve featuring appropriately tacky newly commissioned artwork and the film’s original poster as The Incredible Torture Show (my preferred moniker).

Joel M. Reed was clearly courting controversy with this knowingly over-the-top movie and those po-faced critics that believe its apparently sexist tone is a reflection of serious misogyny should perhaps consider the same type of deeply dark humour that makes Flesh for Frankenstein such a delight.

Sadly, there are plenty of women-hating movie makers out there – such as the late Lucio Fulci – but, like Herschell G. Lewis, Reed is not one of them because his tongue is so obviously in his cheek. This is a ‘must have’ purchase for fans of trash cinema!



Other reviews:

“Blood Sucking Freaks will make you feel dirty, and you will love every minute of it. That’s the wonder of this movie. And there can be no question whether the filmmakers realized what they were doing– they most assuredly did.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“Be forewarned: the visuals are often terrible, the acting even worse. If you’re the sort to pick apart a film based on technical aptitude, this is not going to be your cup of tea. Indeed, the performances in this are absolutely dreadful save for Seamus O’Brian who plays Sardu and spends most of his screen time flouncing about like some kind of deviant Vincent Price. O’Brian is an absolute joy to watch in this, delivering his lines with such conviction one wonders if he’s even acting at all.” The Church of Splatter-Day Saints

“When people use the term ‘bottom of the barrel’, they often forget about the UNDERSIDE of the barrel, which is where poorly-made dreck like this belongs. It offers absolutely NOTHING in the way of entertainment, and I think you’re a cruel little nutcase if you talk someone else into seeing it,” also calling it “The nastiest, filthiest and just about WORST thing you will EVER SEE” Scott Weinberg,


“It should be noted that Blood Sucking Freaks is, at its heart, a fairly broad black comedy. It pokes fun at its audience’s love of violence, the corruption and filth of 70s New York, and the theatrical scene in general (particularly in Sardu’s wish to be taken seriously as an artist) … Even particularly vile lines (such as the classic “Her mouth will make an interesting urinal.”) carry with them an exaggerated sense of outrageousness.” Movie Feast


Buy Troma Blu-ray + DVD: |

Freaks trots out about every demented and reprehensible act known to man and presents them as some sort of blood soaked live action cartoon. None of the women wear clothes and those that do, don’t keep them on very long and scenes of torture most often mix with the nudity. Quite possibly the single most misogynistic movie ever made, Bloodsucking Freaks is Reed’s most notorious motion picture in addition to being his “best”, and I use that term lightly.” Brian Bankston, Cool Ass Cinema


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Categories: 1970s, cheesy horror, exploitation, gory, Horrorpedia review

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2 replies

  1. I remember seeing this movie at a friend’s house. Later we rented it again at a party, and I had to leave the room. For months (years?) the sound of a drill would make me nauseous. I remember the movie being fun, but I couldn’t handle some of the effects.


  2. Hate to be ambivalent about such a controversial film, but i neither like or hate it. I’m just kind of “Eh, big deal” about this one.


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