The Sinful Dwarf is the perfect primer for anyone wanting to crawl into the wonderful world of thick, greasy European sleaze. There are plenty of spots to go in this genre but only one has naked ladies held captive in an attic, a fat man named Santa Claus who smuggles heroin in teddy bears and a crippled dwarf who oversees the naked ladies. At least, I think there’s only one…this one.
“The Sinful Dwarf” C’mon! Doesn’t that title sound perfect? I’m imagining, just from the title, that everything you might ever want from a film is in this one. You almost don’t need to watch it. But, you should. Ladle it on! Olaf, the Dwarf, may not actually be the lead in this but his presence is smeared all over the celluloid.
A young couple rents a room in the house of a crazy woman and her crippled dwarf son. The house is a touch on the skuzzy side. But, the couple just needs a room to stay in while the husband looks for work as a writer. And, I can tell him from experience, if he’s out there looking for writing work like that, he should have a job in no time. Yes….well…The husband is a bit Dullsville. But, the wife is a super cute blond who spends her days sitting in their creepy room hearing noises and seeing mice and wearing distracting tops. She does get abused in an unpleasant manner by the end so…I don’t know. You make the call on whether that’s a good thing. For those of you who love this sort of thing, this film is that sort of thing.
I love the house the movie is set in. Is it a real house or are they sets? Does it matter? It’s as gross as the house in King Frat. In fact, every location in this film is really mangy. Maybe it’s the film stock but there seems to me to be no joy in this world. Was this the way the world looked then? People woke up every morning and looked out their windows hoping for some change in the Color Scheme of the World.
There is something doubly perverse (in a very non-erotic way) about making one of the leads a crippled man and having him walk endlessly around the house. Actually, the pace of the film matches the pace of Our Sinful Dwarf. He goes from here to there at a slow clomp. The film moves in the same way. The occasional unexpected thing happens in this film but, in general, it goes exactly where you’d expect it go and I think that’s what we want from our sleaze: the familiar fool-around with a small injection of some strange bizarre or perverse element.
The thing that confused me the first time I watched it back in 1997 and confuses me now is the provenance of the film. I’m told it’s from Denmark. The lead couple are speaking British English. Everyone else is not but they are speaking heavily accented English. So, it’s not dubbed and, somehow, that makes it even stranger.
Disconnected and odd, I think The Sinful Dwarf is the perfect entrance into the world of Sleaze for those looking for a way in. (It’s sort of the Giant Steps or Kind of Blue of sleaze.) It’s skuzzy, ugly and sometimes crazy-ass fun. Enjoy the Dwarf. He’s probably enjoyed you.
Dan Budnik is one of the writers for Bleeding Skull. He lives in Van Nuys, CA and owns his own cane.