Plot: Olaf (Torben Bille) helps out around his mother’s boarding house, a strange but cheap place to stay if you’re out of other options. The price is what entices Peter (Tony Eades) and his wife Mary (Anne Sparrow) to rent a room, despite the ill at ease feeling the residence inspires. Not to mention Olaf himself, a creepy midget who leers at Mary with a sick smile on his face. But Peter needs a cheap place to stay until he finds a place to write, so the couple moves in. Mary starts to hear odd noises and feel uncomfortable, but Peter assures her she is just being overly anxious. But in truth, Olaf and his mother run more than room rentals, as they also traffic young women through the house, using them as prostitutes for some of the visitors. The girls are given drugs to keep them calm and agreeable, despite their imprisoned status. The business calls for new flesh from time to time and of course, Olaf has his eye on Mary. But can she figure out the plot in time or will she wind up being a permanent guest?
Entertainment Value: Perhaps the greatest evil little person movie of all time, The Sinful Dwarf is one dark, twisted ride. The story is simple enough, as a creepy dwarf and his delusional mother run a boarding house with a little human trafficking on the side, to keep the bills paid. This is one of those movies that was hard to find for a long time and developed quite an infamous reputation, mostly due to the performance of Torben Bille in the title role. He doesn’t do a lot in the movie and has few lines, but his face tells the whole story. The insane facial expressions drive his performance, giving us just about the textbook vision of “rape face” throughout. You believe he is this dank, creepy little guy and that is essential. As much fanfare as Bille receives, Clara Keller is also quite odd as his washed up starlet mother. Her delusional rants and disturbing song and dance routines add a lot to the film’s off kilter texture. The movie is a little slow at times and that hurts the entertainment, but it comes through when it needs to. This one piles on the sex and creepiness, which is what you want from this kind of movie. So if you’re into odd cinema, have a severe case of achondroplasiophobia, or just enjoy hearing crazy women living in the past, this one is a must see.
This review covers the “strong international version” that includes some hardcore scenes, so expect tons of naked flesh here. The hardcore scenes are infrequent and on the short side, so don’t expect porn length scenes here. But they up the sleaze quotient and that’s a plus. They were also part of the original cut of the movie, so there’s that for fans to use as an excuse. Even outside the hardcore stuff, there’s a wealth of naked women here. Breasts, bare asses, and more bush than Texas politics can be seen in this flick. The movie has some light sadism and an almost constant rape vibe, since the girls having sex are usually doped up and dead eyed. On the blood side, there’s some violence and such, but no gore or graphic bloodshed. This is more sleaze than horror, so it makes sense to dial back that side of things. Olaf’s mother and her friend provide some wacky dialogue, but sadly, Olaf himself is more than seen than heard. So if you want over the top exchanges or wild lines, that’s not part of this one. As far as craziness, Olaf and his mother provide some insanity, but The Sinful Dwarf is more dark than crazy, mean spirited sleaze over off the rails cinema. It is weird to be sure and is plenty sick, but I wouldn’t rank it as off the deep levels of insane.
Overall Insanity: 5/10