Monday, September 21, 2009

Being Captured (1982): or, Another Sinful Dwarf

(Note: NOT the original poster art. ;) If anybody can find a poster, please let me know.)

A few months back when there was a lot of internet buzz about Severin DVD's release of the Danish dwarfsploitation classic The Sinful Dwarf, I read a couple of reviews than intimated Olaf, the titular morally-challenged Little Person of that flick, might not in fact be the most sinful dwarf in cinema. This seemed inconceivable to me. Olaf had easily dove to deeper depths than the gracefully leaping Gurth of Girl Slaves of Morgana La Fay; he'd even out-depraved the seemingly un-out-depravable Ralphus of Bloodsucking Freaks fame. Who could possibly have a shot at wresting the title from his surprisingly strong little hands, when those two giants of eeevil dwarfdom had failed?

The answer, these reviewers suggested, could lie in a little-seen Italian obscurity directed by Alberto Cavallone in 1982. The title: Being Captured (aka Il Nano Erotico, aka Baby Sitter). The challenger: Willy.

It took a lot of digging, more than one session of bestial necromancy, and the full resources of the Duke's shadow-army of seekers after artifacts of the blasphemous arts, but I've finally clapped eyes on little Willy in all his formidable wickedness. But has he displaced Olaf at the pinnacle of midget malevolence? Abandon hope and read on!

We open with Sabrina (Sabrina Mastrolorenzi) meeting her lawyer sister-in-law at the airport in Rome, where she has a two- or three-hour layover. Sabrina has some legal questions of a very personal nature to discuss with her brother's wife, to do with a horrifying temp-job she took about five months previous. Getting down to business, the lawyer dons some GIANT FUCKING SUNGLASSES and gets out her notepad...

"Well, the biggest kick I ever got was doin' a thing called 'The Crocodile Rock.'"

Suddenly we're whisked back in time to the middle of a field nearly half-a-year earlier, where Sabrina and boyfriend Johnny (Serwan A. Hoshvar) are rutting like amorous swine in the dirt. When Sabrina draws up short because she has an appointment to keep, Johnny gets petulant and upset--however, he does give her a ride into Rome on his bitchin' bike, and on the way Sabrina gives him a 55-mph reach-around that softens his attitude, if nothing else.

Sabrina arrives at the designated street corner and is picked up by a mysterious blonde woman who has engaged her babysitting services for the evening. Claiming "directions are too confusing," the woman invites Sabrina into her car and has her greasy chauffeur drive them out to her palatial estate in the country, which she admits is quite isolated, miles away from the nearest neighbor. The girl suspects nothing, but Johnny is not so trusting--he gets on his bad motor scooter and follows at a not-at-all-subtle distance.

Luckily, Sabrina knew how to handle a stick.

Unfortunately Johnny isn't the only thing in need of servicing around here, and his bike sputters and stalls, allowing the greasy chauffeur to slip his grasp. Inside the car the blonde woman talks faster and faster, learning the babysitter has told no one where she's going and has no family in Rome, assuring Sabrina she can use the phone as much as she wants, that the child will probably sleep all night, it'll be an easy way to make multi lira. Despite the chauffeur's meaningful snickers and knowing glances, Sabrina is still blissfully unsuspicious.

They finally arrive at the woman's country estate, which is a spacious, ornately furnished, and disturbingly empty house. She shows Sabrina the child's room, where sure enough little Willy is sleeping, face down, covers pulled up to his nape. Telling Sabrina she'll be out all night and will return early the next morning, she bids her child-care specialist adieu and heads out, locking the front door behind her...from the outside! The woman then climbs in the front seat of the car and shares a horrifying tongue-kiss with the skeezy chauffeur. Inside, Sabrina discovers that the phone is dead (naturally) and that her one avenue of egress is not functional. WTF's going on around here, anyway?

He represents the Snatch-and-Rape League.

If you guessed that Little Willy is not exactly the sleep-addled innocent the blonde would have us believe, give yourself a tiny gold star. Yes, despite his short bed and Little Lord Fauntleroy clothes, Willy is not a child, but a dwarf of the most sinful sort. Hopping out of bed and donning his old-fashioned hat, he saunters through the empty corridors, twirling a blowgun ominously, stalking his now helpless prey. Still hammering in vain at the front door, Sabrina turns just in time to realize her predicament before Willy puts a dart in her butt and puff-puff, out go the lights.

While the audience watches in confusion and more than a little disbelief, the dwarf rolls Sabrina onto a rug and drags her through the house to his study, where he strips the unconscious girl naked and then dresses her in a beaded g-string more to his liking. The camera follows every step of the procedure, and while the style can't be called verite, it does have a grimy, un-schooled quality that strangely adds to the creepiness--as if this were not film taken with cinematic release in mind, but shot by an amateur, perhaps for "personal use." The dissonant, distorted guitar soundtrack also adds to the disturbance.

Meanwhile, the chauffeur and the blonde--who we soon find out is Willy's wife--have sweaty Italian sex in the servants quarters for an extended scene that also has that amateur fuck-flick sleaziness. We get a few shots of Johnny driving aimlessly down the highway in search of the cold trail. Then we flash-forward again to the Sabrina talking with her sister-in-law, who is remarkably unsupportive: "A lady, married to a midget, is having an affair with a chauffeur. It's unusual, but not what you wanted to tell me about. Didn't you check her references?" Yeah, hindsight's twenty-twenty through those Giant Fucking Sunglasses, isn't it, babe? Well, hold on to your frames, because Sabrina has more to tell...

She ain't kidding.

In flashback again, Sabrina awakens to find herself in bondage in the Midget's Throne Room, tied upright and spread-eagled in lingerie that isn't hers. Willy comes up and lets her know the score, showing her his blowgun (not IYKWIM...just yet...) and the ammo that comes with it. "This dart is for sleeping...and this one is for KILLING." Capice, baby?

With Sabrina now a captive audience, Willy puts his darts away and asks the obvious question: "Do you like striptease?" Without waiting for an answer, he proceeds to do a mini-Chippendales routine for her, giving us lots of g-string shots and moving his muscled torso to the music. Eventually he sidles up to Sabrina and begins pawing her most lasciviously to the beat. The dance goes on for what felt like several minutes, far past the point of discomfort. Meanwhile, the chauffeur and Willy's wife are watching the show on closed-circuit TV, and the blonde admits she can only get really excited by watching her husband at work. The chauffeur is a bit put off by this--hasn't she seen his thick carpet of chest/belly hair? Hasn't she ridden his pornstache to ecstasy? But such is the tangled web of love. The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it wants disco midgets molesting screaming babysitters, apparently.

Meanwhile, Willy and Sabrina have reached an agreement. Sabrina promises she'll do ANYTHING if he'll let her go, and the Dwarf Lord decides to test that resolve. This leads to extended softcore midget-sex, featuring gratuitous dwarf-butt, full-frontal Willy, and an o-face shot that must be an homage to Heddy Lamar's infamous Ekstase scene. But there's still one thing none of the other girls would do that Willy wants, and if Sabrina is willing, she might just make it out alive.

That's not an onion, folks.

Yes, that's right--Willy wants erotic enemas, though whether giving or receiving is unclear. When he admits he plans to kill Sabrina like all the others ("I won't make you suffer!" he promises, as if to sweeten the deal), she freaks and busts Willy in the balls, leading him to prematurely squeeze the bulb in a very suggestive scene. Sabrina takes off with Willy in hot pursuit, toting his blowgun loaded with killing darts (there's probably a pygmy joke in there somewhere, but I couldn't find it) and treating us to much more g-string dwarfage and midget wrestling.

Seeing that things have gone south, the blonde makes the chauffeur rush to help their meal ticket, but too late, as Sabrina surprises Willy with a fireplace poker to the spine, killing him. The chauffeur makes to throttle Sabrina, but just then Johnny--who's been doing some intercut detective work throughout the flick--finally stumbles upon the scene and puts the greasy Italian down.

After this there's an odd 10-minute coda where Johnny and Sabrina have sex (in the midget's house?) and we flash forward to Rome again, with Sabrina trying to find a way to tell the cops about what happened without going to jail for murder. I kept expecting the big "DUN-DUN-DUN!" shock reveal, maybe of the blonde, who got away scot-free, following Sabrina for revenge, but it just doesn't happen. Sabrina resolves to go the to police, Sis promises to help, and that's the end.

"Hey, Johnny, would you like to borrow a little mousse?"

There are brave performances, and then there are BRAVE performances, and in his only film role, Petit Loup as Willy (yes, his stage name translates as "Little Wolf") is nothing if not brave. Wearing only a g-string or less for most of the film's 66-minute run-time, he's certainly comfortable in his own skin. The same could be said of all the actresses in the flick, in fact--Sabrina is nude or topless for more than half of the movie, and Willy's wife is similarly clothing-impaired. (And if you are a member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, there's lots...or, little, I like here.)

It's hard to judge the direction of the flick, since the only print I could find looked like it'd been copied to video and then buried under a landfill for 25 years, which may well be the case. There are a couple of odd flourishes, such as a sudden "Half-Time" placard that pops up thirty minutes into the movie, red with yellow-stencilled letters--but apart from that it looks pretty static and amateurish. The only other flick on Cavallone's filmography I'd heard of was The Iron Master, a sword-and-sorcery effort I remember seeing on the rental racks, but never watched.

Love, Italian Style

But to the larger question of whether Loup's Willy is greater than Torben's Olaf, I'd have to say the Danes still own the top spot. Though Willy is certainly more sexually active than Olaf--and his bondage, striptease, and enema kinks are pretty disturbing in their own right--he just doesn't exude the kind of unreasoning eeevil that pours off Olaf in waves. Strangely, perhaps it's the deviant sexual motivation for his capers that humanizes Willy in a way--though you don't share it, hopefully, at least you can understand it in a weird way--whereas Olaf is sadistic, misanthropic, and gleefully eeevil because that's just how he is. And the damage Olaf does is much more apparent as well--while Willy claims to have kidnapped and killed many girls before Sabrina, we never actually see it, and certainly get nothing like the bleakness of Olaf's attic dungeon or hard-to-take Cane Scene. Willy is sleazy and sinful, there's no doubt about that--but he ain't no Olaf.

Still, Being Captured does give you a few things that Sinful Dwarf doesn't--i.e., explicit midget sex, an odd homage to Tod Browning's Freaks (in a flashback to Willy and his wife in the early days of their romance, which ends with him eating chocolates off her nipples), erotic dancing, and that whole enema thing. So if you're a fan of Evil Dwarf movies, it pretty much must be seen. Everyone else should stay far away, though.

As for me, you know what I like--2 thumbs, worth one viewing at least. But be warned--some things you can't un-see.

That's the stuff.


Wings said...

Oh man. Wow. You find some shit, don't ya?

Will just take your word on this flick. You suffer for the rest of us, dude.


The Duke of DVD said...

Fuck me, this sounds like the pinnacle of awful. Vicar, I highly recommend you visit your nearest phrenologist to have your head measured. I suspect that watching this film may have permanently altered your DNA. It also most likely gave you an inoperable brain tumor.

So, in conclusion, little person o-face.

Jenn said...

Willy's striptease sounds somehow more awesome than Olaf's mom's Choo Choo Bamba dance in the SINFUL DWARF.

Yum-Yum said...

Mmmm, fuck-flick sleaziness.

Why would you want to find a poster? Your homemade version rocks. :D

Al Bruno III said...

toHave we reached a point where we can now create a sliding scale of sleazy midget villains? How would Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks measure up to this?

Stephen Grimes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Grimes said...

There's also a full hardcore version of this with Petit Loup getting in on all the action.He also starred in Cavallone's PAT,UNA DONNA PARTICOLARE which has to be seen to be believed,made back to back with BABYSITTER this one is even more extreme with more midget h/c plus a transexual involved in a snuff movie ring.

The Vicar of VHS said...

Stephen--thanks for your expertise! I think I kind of have to find PAT, UNA DONNA PARTICOLARE now...though even typing that fills me with a nameless dread. :)

David A. Zuzelo said...

The uncut Being Captured is my grail! I did find a VHS listing for around 300 Euros a year ago, but that is way out of my league.
Excellent review...that "Baron Corvo" is a great director!

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