I am in the habit, especially if I've had a few drinks before going to bed, to get up in the middle of the night, lumber out to the kitchen, and chug juice out of its container in the refrigerator. This is typically done any number of times throughout any given night and is done in blindness, one, because it's dark, and two, because I am almost legally blind without my contacts. The other night was no exception. I awoke with an insatiable thirst and wandered blindly and nakedly out to the fridge. It's a journey I've made many times and therefore, I don't even think I opened my eyes. What would be the point anyway; I can't see. I did however, recoil in horror to find that the juice that I thought I was chugging, turned out to be vegetable broth. I had picked up a carton of broth, thinking it was my juice and started chugging it. And rather than spit it out, I swallowed it before I realized it. Ever since then, I think it was Monday night, I have been tasting nasty ass vegetable broth in my mouth every time I think about drinking it. It will come at inopportune times, like while I'm at a table taking someone's order or why I'm sitting here writing this blog post in my office at school.
I mention this in conjunction with 1973's The Sinful Dwarf because this movie is the kind of movie that sticks in your mind, that stays on the tastebuds and leaves that I-drunkenly-drank-vegetable- broth-thinking-it-was-juice-in-the-middle-of-the-night taste in your mouth. Trust me.
Sleazefest The Sinful Dwarf opens with Olaf, the titular little man, enticing a young woman, who is obviously over eighteen but outfitted to look as if she's an adolescent, think pigtails while playing hopscotch, with a windup poodle toy. He lures the young lady back to his mother's, (washed up singer Lila Lashe), house and locks her in the attic, injecting her with heroin to keep her complacent. Seems Lila and Olaf have quite the business. They keep young women addicted to heroin and locked in the room for the purpose of prostitution. But we'll get to all that in a sec.
Soon, young down-on-their-luck couple Mary, a beautiful blond, and her husband Peter, a would-be writer, come by Lila and Olaf's looking for a room to rent. Mary's female intuition immediately tells her this ain't gonna be the Ritz, but since they're almost outta money and Peter needs to look for a job, they take a room. Olaf shows gives them the grand tour of the place and goes off to his nightly chores, which mainly involve shooting up the hostage women with heroin.
While Olaf's off procuring heroin from his gin-swilling mama je'e, Peter and Mary begin to make love while some sweet dulcet tones play. I thought this was the soundtrack, but then Olaf comes back upstairs and seems to hear this music and goes by their room for a peek. They do it for waaaaaay to long and I think they may have actually been fucking. I'm not sure, but it certainly seemed so; however, there just weren't any 'hardcore' shots. They were making love, remember? That music that Olaf could hear was makin' love music as opposed to fucking music. You know the difference. It's like when you do it with someone that you actually like, you put on Portishhead or Massive Attack. When you don't care or you're just gonna drunkenly have sex with someone, you put on the TV.
After Olaf's done slobbering over the happy couple, he goes about his chores. The girls writhe around, beg for help, and scream in withdrawal. I get a serious Pink Flamingos Connie and Raymond Marble vibe offa this, but without the humor, the tongue planted firmly in cheek, or the camp. This is pure sleaziness and Olaf apparently loves it. I don't know, and never will, whose idea it was to keep the girls in the attic for the purpose of prostitution - Olaf's or Lila's - but Olaf takes supreme pride in his work of shooting them up, holding them hostage, the whole business of the thing. The fact that he's creepy enough on his own, with his greasy long hair, flannel shirt, cane, and collection of incredible antique toys any collector would salivate over, makes him the perfect character for a movie of this caliber.
Anyway, we find out through Lila's drunken rambling, that the house used to be a pretty famous nightclub, but was wrought in a fire, which scarred Lila's face and ruined her career. The fire also took place the same year as Olaf's birth - a terrible year, Lila remarks. Her club caught on fire and she gave birth to a Scandinavian accented dwarf (she herself has a British sounding accent). I can really feel the love Lila has for Olaf; can't you?
So what's Olaf to do? He makes his antique toys have sex with each other and then Lila wants to do her Choo Choo Bamba number, which requires a Carmen Miranda outfit complete with fruit headress, an introduction from Olaf while he accompanies her on piano and a crazy old lady friend, Winnie, to laugh and swill gin while the performance is going on. Oh, and this is interspliced with a john having forced sex with one of the women upstairs while the music is timed with his thrusts. I think this couple is actually having sex too, but once again, there is lack of actual penetration shots. Darn. Because I really want to see some gross dude rape a girl forced to do smack against her will to the jaunty tones of the Choo Choo Bamba.
Feel like you need to gargle yet? No. Okay, I've got more for you.
After the Choo Choo Bamba, Lila cuddles Olaf and decides one of the girls, Betty, is using too much heroin. They need new girls, she says, because those three are getting used up pretty quickly. She sets her sights on Mary, the new tenant, because Peter's gone so much seeking employment, it shouldn't be hard to get her into the ranks with the others. Lila then goes upstairs to shoot Betty up, calls her a 'juicy little piece,' fondles her tits, and decides to keep her. Did I mention Lila's wearing a top hat and tails while she does this? Well, she is.
The Lila calls her dealer and tells him that the last shipment, which she receives in stuffed teddy bears, was short. He better deliver next time, goddamn it, or else! Who calls up their dealer and demands shit like that? It's best not to piss the dealer off, at least that's what I've heard. Especially if your dealer's name is Santa Claus and he owns a toy shop. Like Lila's dealer. You heard correctly - his name is Santa Claus and he owns a toy shop, hence why the drugs come stuffed inside teddy bears. Genius, right? Clever, no?
After placing this call, Lila does another (sadder than the Choo Choo Bamba) number in the top hat and tails while swinging a feather boa around and Betty gets strung up in shackles and lashed repeatedly by an unknown assailant, I'm assuming another john, until she bleeds. Beautiful.
Come to find out, Santa's last runner gets caught and it being a small world and all, Peter becomes the next unsuspecting heroin runner. He must leave for Paris immediately, leaving Mary in Lila's house alone. Being bored alone in the creepy old place, Mary goes exploring. She's been hearing the noises coming from the attic room and goes to investigate. She hears the girls inside and offers to help them when she hears a sauced Lila coming upstairs to look for a hula outfit so she can do another number for Winnie. We are also treated to a scene of Lila naked, *shudder*, which wasn't as bad as it could have been, trust me. Mary narrowly escapes being discovered, but not for long. She does get caught, drugged, and shackled, and Lila hastily pens a note to Peter telling him Mary's left.
Peter, while upset, throws himself into his work full force, stocking the shelves at Santa's store. He thinks he overhears Olaf asking for more heroin but isn't sure and sort of just looks around perplexedly. Back at the boarding house, Olaf rapes Mary with his cane (off camera, luckily) and slobbers all over her face and neck (on camera, unfortunately), all the while laughing maniacally. If there's one thing this dwarf can do, it's laugh maniacally. Mary also gets her first paying customer. You know, I really didn't think it was gonna go there - actually go through with Mary's rape. I thought the film might exercise a little restraint. And at first it does. Her first customer comes in and finds her too crazy and fucks another prisoner instead (for waaaay too long, of course), but another does arrive and they do go through with it, so even when she is reunited with Peter, she's, by this, point, severely damaged goods.
Have you started scrubbing your tongue with a Brillo pad yet?
They don't make 'em like this any more, folks, if they ever even made them like this in the first place! Anything that's has the words sinful and dwarf in the title and isn't a porno better be un-fucking-believable and this is. Not to say that the movie is totally enjoyable to watch, even for the sleaze factor. It's slow in places (Olaf takes FOREVER to climb up and down the stairs three or four too many times) and even treads dangerously on the predictable at times. It is, however, gleefully uncomfortable and leaves that horrible can't-get-rid-of-it taste on the pallette for which we all know and yearn. Now off with you - go have fantasies of little tiny men dancing around their weird ancient wind up toys slobbering over women of normal height shackled to walls and addicted to heroin while a spirited South American ditty plays in the background. Best to have this fantasy with an upturned Beefeaters bottle held to your lips.