It was almost seven years ago that Severin Films reintroduced the cult film fans of the world to the truly disgusting oddity that is The Sinful Dwarf. This tale of a dwarf who kidnaps and imprisons nubile young women to use as sex slaves in the attic of his Danish home in completely unforgettable and unbelievably offensive on a number of levels. However, it is this completely over the top nature that keep Sinful Dwarf fans coming back for more, and Severin has rewarded these fans with a Blu-ray update of their initial DVD release from 2009.
Believe it or not, we reviewed the original DVD release of The Sinful Dwarf upon its release, and then contributor Rodney Perkins had this to say about the film's delightfully grimy charms:
The Sinful Dwarf is fundamentally a cheap, crude sex movie but it has two exceptional features. As previously mentioned, the main attraction of this film is Torben Bille. He ambles and skulks around like a evil kid. The way the camera often focuses tightly on his twitching, slobbering face is a funny as it is sickening. The other interesting aspect of the film is the way its is edited. Innocuous moments, usually involving toys or bad humor, are consistently juxtaposed with loathsome or offensive acts. It is a dubious but effective way to link the filthy scenes to the rest of the movie.
While Rodney's estimation of the film ranks a fair few levels below my own, he does nail his characterization of Torben Bille's performance as the titular dwarf. What keeps me coming back to this disgusting little movie is the compeletely unrepentant unpleasantness of it all. The Sinful Dwarf has not a single redeeming quality in terms of cinematic or artistic merit, and yet it exists. It exists solely to disturb those who have the misfortune of viewing it. While that may sound like an insult, it is far from it. The Sinful Dwarf revels unashamedly in its own filth in a way that films these days just don't have the guts to mimic.
For fans of sleaze cinema, The Sinful Dwarf is a must own. This production goes far beyond the average shocker, making films like Last House on the Left feel like Romper Room at times. However, don't let my gushing fool you, this is genuinely unsettling stuff, both in terms of the nature of the material and the way it is put together. But, for fans of these kinds of films, it's time to put on your big boy britches and enjoy the show.
Severin Films brings The Sinful Dwarf to Blu-ray in two slightly different versions, both of which were previously available on DVD. There is the "softcore" version, which is devoid of hardcore penetration but pulls no punches in terms of nudity and violence, and then there is The Dwarf, a slightly longer cut featuring hardcore inserts (pun intended) that somehow serve to make the film even more disgusting and amoral. The softcore version has been restored and looks pretty damned good, considering the source, however, the hardcore inserts are notably darker and grainer, but for the sake of this feature, it's almost fitting that they look so much worse. The 1.33:1 image looks disturbingly good for the vast majority of the film's running time, so no issues on my part there.
The real treasure on this limited edition release is in the vast quantity of bonus materials provided by Severin in cooperation with underground superstars Vinegar Syndrome. Beyond the hardcore version of The Dwarf, they've also included a second feature from the same producers titled The Blue Balloon. This feature is about as rough as roughies get and follows a virginal girl who is plucked from her betrothed and forced into sexual servitude. It is an ugly, unpleasant film, but fits well with the theme of the disc. In addition to this there is a short excerpt from a circus themed adult film titled The Hottest Show in Town, which purports to show the dwarf, Torben Bille in his younger years in a hardcore scene featuring a pair of circus little people.
The extras don't stop there, though, as Severin has gone above and beyond for this release in a way that almost makes one wish that the extras were available on their own! We follow up with the archival featurette The Severin Controversy -- previously available on the DVD version -- in which several fans talk about how their lives were ruined by watching The Sinful Dwarf. New to this release are two extras, The Harry Novak Story, in which the producers look back at the career of 42nd Street legend Harry Novak, and also The Search For Torben, a retrospective feature which digs into the production of The Sinful Dwarf and the fruitless search for the final fate of its star, Torben Bille. Both features are fascinating and provide some surprising insight into this most cult of cult features.
You know what, The Sinful Dwarf is a truly disgusting feature, and I wouldn't blame you if you hated me for even bringing it into your consciousness as a film that exists, but this Blu-ray release is essential and proves that even the most disgusting of films can have fascinating back stories. Highly recommended.
Rodney Perkins contributed to this story.