Monday, August 17, 2009

More Sinful Than The Sinful Dwarf

Have you ever wanted to scream, "Fuck that dwarf, and the horse he rode in on?"

Well, I know I have. Sometimes, it feels like we're being inundated by people of the half-pint persuasion. They get between your toes, and you just can't scrape them off.

In the Japanese classic, The Dwarf (Issun-boshi, '55, Shintoho) one of my finds of the year, a dwarf doesn't ride in on a horse, but he does ride in on a bucket. Yes, folks, a bucket! And it's not a pretty sight.

But it is the perfect opportunity to raise your megaphone and scream, "Fuck that dwarf, and the bucket he rode in on!" (as these police officers are doing below).

The producers of this classic clearly scoured the hills and dales of Nippon to unearth the sickest example of human reductionism ever foisted on the moviegoing world.

As you can see from these pictures, this sideshow poster boy would have given the late Todd Browning enough orgasms to stop his dear, departed heart.

The Human Torso (Prince Randian)
from Todd Browning's masterwork, Freaks ('32, MGM)

Even The Human Torso would have been sickened by his appearance.

Not only is this living nightmare short-changed in the height department, he's been short-changed at the dermatologist. His scar- and acne-pocked face is enough to send hardened soldiers home screaming to their mothers.

In this extraordinary piece of Japanese cinema, the status-discounted monster is a murderer -- not that there's anything unusual about that in his world; they're all murderers or perverts. His family are protecting him, so they're targeted by the police. Eventually, they expose the micro-murderer and attempt to bring him to justice (which, in the case of a dwarf, can only be violent death).

In the mid-90's, my brother and I clashed with one of these freaks in the streets of Melbourne.

It was 1:30 am on a weeknight, and we'd just emerged from a double-bill at the Capitol Cinema, the local Chinese movie palace -- Daughters of Darkness 2 and Bloody Beast. Up until the moment we tangled with Mr. Diminished, we were certain that the monsters on-screen would be the worst we'd encounter that night; one was an incestuous rapist (Hugo Ng), the other was a Mainland Chinese rapist (Ka-Kui Ho) who preyed on MILFS (carrying babies). It didn't come much more heinous than that, right?

Well, turns out it did.

We left the theater and walked down the tram tracks in the center of Collins Street, a major city thoroughfare barely used at night. Our car was parked a couple of blocks up, the street was pretty much empty, so we took our time and discussed the movies.

Half Pint in Peril.

Suddenly, a hellish voice was heard behind us: "Hey, you guys, come here!"

I turned. My brother turned. But we saw nothing. Nothing but an empty street bracketed by buildings. And the silver tram tracks.

"What was that?" I asked.

My brother shrugged.

We continued on our way, perplexed but not distubed.

Then it came again. "Oi! You two! Come here!"

This time the voice was closer and more distinct. It had the timbre of a jockey. Now, a jockey isn't a dwarf (not technically), but he wouldn't be kicked out of a Wizard of Oz reunion, either.

"Sounds like a jockey," my brother said.

"Yeah. But where's the horse?" We looked hard for the horse.

Then we both stared hard into the street. It was well lit, but we couldn't see the source of the voice with the gentle bedside manner.

"You two! Oi! I said fuckin' come here!"

That was when we saw It. Barreling down the center of the road towards us. Sausage legs churning like pistons.

It was horrible.

"I said fuckin come here!" It bellowed, a gush of saliva emerging from its mouth.

I'm 6'2 1/2", my brother is 6'1". We had nothing to fear from this angry but tiny prick. In retrospect, even 'Stewie' from Family Guy would have tripped over this clown on his way to the refrigerator.

Dwarf on a Wire!

So, as he barreled towards us, saliva flying, expletives spouting, sausage legs churning, we got ready to meet him head-on, and, if necessary, drop him like a sack of potatoes to the tram tracks.

Well, we didn't actually do any of that.

Nope. We ran. We turned and ran and ran and ran until his squeaky voice became a squeaky whisper.

I looked over my shoulder once and was terrified by what I saw.

He kept coming. Head down like a sawn off Olympian, he was indistinct from a fat, miniature bullet train, his offensive voice his whistle, his saliva his steam.

He was not going to give up.

But neither were we.

"Get your keys out!" I shouted at my brother as the car got closer. "Have your keys ready or we're dead!"

My brother slowed as he groped for the keys in his pocket.

I glanced back again and felt my stomach churn.

The little fucker was closing the gap.

Victory would soon be his.

"Got 'em!" my brother said with enormous relief, and at that moment, we arrived at the car.

Unlocking his own door first, he jumped inside and smashed his hand down on the lock.

The killer dwarf made a quick move to catch me as I jumped inside and swiped at me like a cat. I'm sure he hissed, too.

As there were no cars parked in front of us, we were able to rapidly accelerate forward and get the fuck out of there.

I'll never forget what I saw when I looked back.

The image has tattooed itself onto my brain.

Why so angry, Little Man? They're just protecting The Children.

The height-handicapped fucker was stomping his feet and shaking his fist so violently, you'd think he'd just been pink-slipped at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

His anger was off the meter.

As we drove home, proud of our brave confrontation with a creature barely tall enough to chew our kneecaps, we reflected on the reality of dwarfs, and could only conclude that the danger is real.

Forget Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Weapons of National Collective Nightmares walk among us, and nobody does a goddamn thing about them.

From a story by Edogawa Rampo (Horrors of Malformed Men, Walker in the Attic, Blind Beast, Black Lizard), which had already been filmed three times, and a script by Kennosuke Morooka, comes this blend of film noir and ero-gro that shines a light (or is that a shadow?) on those permanently knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper.

More proof that they're all murderers.

What filmmakers who toil under the flag of the Rising Sun truly understand is how to handle a dwarf -- and that's run them out of town. Some of the most satisfying sequences in this gem involve dozens of police chasing the puffy-limbed freak up stairs, down alleys, and into a factory. Seeing them nip at his heels warmed my charitable heart.

Chased out of town (and good riddance, too!)

In no small way, the film underlines what we already know, but need to be reminded of now and then:

A dwarf is good -- good for nothing.

...and the only Good they're up to is No Good.


Thank you to "D", a regular contributor here, for additional valuable
information used in a redraft of this blog.


  1. This post seriously hits below the belt. It was definitely short-sighted of you to think there wouldn't be a backlash to this rampant belittling by micro-enthusiasts.

    I must see this masterpiece. Have you seen Pituitary Hunter by chance? I'm sure you'd get an inappropriate laugh or two out of it.

    Btw, for anyone reading: Daughter of Darkness 2 and Bloody Beast is quite a phenomenal double feature.

  2. One more thing: found out while looking this up on IMDb (there is no hit under the English title, go to that the guy who played Ralphus (Bloodsucking Freaks) is an early dwarf porn star. Damn me for not knowing that.

  3. This had me cracking up! Great stuff. I'll have to track down this flick.

  4. d -- I can be short-sighted when it comes to dwarfs. I just can't relate to something I can't see.

    You did very well to source the original title. What was your hint?

    Yes, DOD2 and BB were a double you don't see too often these days.


    Rev -- well worth the effort to track it down.

  5. "That was when we saw It. Barreling down the center of the road towards us. Sausage legs churning like pistons."! Indeed! This is now a "Classic Line"! LoL

    I've gotta see this film!

  6. Really, the best blog-post I've read in very long while!

  7. Nick -- thank you for your kind praise. It was the little sausage-legged fuck who inspired me.


    Ninja -- wow, I'm humbled by that. For some reason, dwarfs get the creative juices flowing. But it ends there (I assure you).

  8. I liked this blog so much I decided to post a third time. The anklebiter from this Japanese film reminds me a lot of little Nelson "ratman" de la Rosa. I'd like to see a blog of your favorite freaks one of these days. I personally have been obsessed with finding any of the films of Hitomi Tachikawa--the gal with the double-barreled vagina--and a rather cheapjack sci-fi film featuring Goddess Bunny.

  9. d -- I think Ralphus (Luis de Jesus) was in ANAL DWARF, too. I used to have that. It's a masterpiece!? He's in ULTRA-FLESH, too, with Seka. He doesn't impress her too much.

    Hitomi Tachigawa is an interesting gal. I've seen about two minutes of her on a compile from Japan.

    I've never heard of GODDESS BUNNY. Jesus, I'm letting down the side.

  10. Yeah, I saw "Anal Dwarf" listed on IMDb and thought "that can't possibly be..." It was.

    I suspect you will come to know and perhaps love Goddess Bunny. He/she/it should have some clips on youtube. It also played Frank Gorshin's secretary in Penelope Spheeris's wonky Hollywood Vice Squad.

    Here's an expertly drawn depiction of a certain peculiar pizza delivery man who worked for a joint from which I used to order frequently. I have no idea how he got up the stairs.