When The Sinful Dwarf was announced for a limited collector’s edition blu-ray by Severin Films, Schlockmania wondered exactly how they’d go about creating a special edition for a grotty little hunk of celluloid like this. Sure, you could remaster the film itself but how could you flesh out a disc with extras for a film so shrouded in mystery? To their credit, Severin found ways to deal with the issue and created an impressive presentation that will turn the heads of grindhouse buffs.
This disc boasts two versions of the main attraction. The first is a new HD transfer of the standard cut of the film under its Harry Novak-released title, Abducted Bride. This is an inherently rough-looking film, with a washed-out look that is equal parts soft and grainy, but it benefits from the HD bump it gets here. The colors are stronger and there’s a new clarity to the film particularly in close-ups. Sound sticks to the original mono mix, presented in lossless form, and it gets the job done nicely.
There is also a XXX version of the film, included with other extras on a separate menu entitled “XXX World,” that uses the same transfer but adds in an additional three minutes of footage taken from a darker, grainier source. That said, the visual roughness of those bits is likely to add to the grimy allure of the film for its twisted fanbase.
As for extras, Severin has found some interesting ways to deal with the complications of producing extras for a film like this…
Trail Of Torben (7:38): this quick featurette consists of narration over film clips and photos as an unidentified narrator gives an account of Severin’s attempts to find out info about the people behind The Sinful Dwarf. Such info turned out to be pretty sparse but this does turn up some interesting factoids about the life of Torben Bille, the women who played the “attic girls” and an interesting encounter with the film’s credited composer, Olé Orested.
Novak: Sultan Of Cinema (6 min.): This sitdown with documentarian/historian Elijah Drenner has him offering up a few facts and opinions about The Sinful Dwarf’s U.S. distributor, Harry Novak. He makes a case for Kiss Me Quick as Novak’s best release and talks about his distribution tactics. There are also some great clips from the films he handled.
Friend Or Foe (10 min.): subtitled “The Severin Controversy,” this is a mock-doc that takes the form of an investigative report in which a couple of irate cult film fans testify to the dangers of watching The Sinful Dwarf. This was originally done to promote Severin’s DVD release of the film and was used for a viral campaign back in the day.
The Blue Balloon: this 72-minute Danish hardcore feature is included under the “XXX World” menu, taken from a 16mm source and presented in HD. A title card before the film tells the viewer it was included because it was made by the producers of The Sinful Dwarf and also features one of that film’s “attic girls,” Lisbeth Olson, in the main role. It’s also of interest because it has some similar conceptual elements, namely the plot revolving around a young woman (Olson) who is kidnapped, drugged and forced into prostitution, much like the attic girls in The Sinful Dwarf. While not as mean as the main feature on this disc, it’s several times more sexually explicit.
Hottest Show In Town (excerpt): the final inclusion in the “XXX” world area is a hardcore sequence that involves two circus performer dwarves having sex while their coworkers spy through a window. It is included here because it is rumored that the male in the scene is The Sinful Dwarf himself, Torben Bille. It’s difficult to tell if this is true but whoever it is in this scene definitely shows his sinful side, amongst other things.
Additional Extras: a delightfully seedy U.S. trailer under the Abducted Bride title, a shorter Severin trailer that is just as gleefully nasty and a trio of creepy radio spots that will make you wonder what kind of radio station would play such things.
All in all, this is a successful upgrade of a favorite from the Severin library whose value is enhanced for adult film/grindhouse fans by the bonus film and the intriguing bits of info in the other sections. If you like this film’s sleazy charms, you’ll get the deluxe experience here.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Sinful Dwarf, click here.