Sometimes you watch a movie that makes you wonder if someone slipped psilocybin into your chicken cacciatore. THE DWARVES MUST BE CRAZY is one of those flicks, and it’s hard to believe it exists, let alone in the form of a 92 minute feature film. No, it’s not a delayed sequel to 1980’s THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY; instead it’s a whacky comedy/horror/exploitation flick from Thailand with a cast entirely populated by little people.
The plot? A small-statured tribe in the jungle digs some weird shit out of the ground, and decide the best course of action is to immediately eat it. Of course, this turns out to be a bad idea, and soon, some of them are writhing in agony and frothing at the mouth like they just chewed an entire bottle of Alka Seltzer. If that wasn’t strange enough, they transform into “krasue” – meaning that their heads tear away from their bodies with internal organs attached, and fly around like floating Chinese lanterns. The “krasue” (a creature derived from genuine Asian folklore) have a taste for buttocks, and if they bite, the victim also becomes a krasue. The miniature tribesfolk must band together to defeat the supernatural, ass-biting menace.
Somewhere inside THE DWARVES MUST BE CRAZY is an uplifting story about little folk persevering in the face of overwhelming odds, letting us know that we’re able to solve any problems as long as we work together. It’s too bad that all that positive energy is drowned in bodily fluids, exploitation and toilet humor. DWARVES resembles a Lynchian nightmare, or something Jodorowsky might have dreamed up on an opium-fueled spirit journey.
The filmmakers must have exhausted Thailand’s supply of little people – I’m certain every single one in the country is in the movie and accounted for. In fact, I don’t think there’s been this many little people assembled on screen since the rebellion blew up the second Death Star. I admire all of them for being committed and giving everything they had to a project so patently ludicrous. There must have been times where they were asking themselves, “Why? Why in the name of sweet fuck did we agree to this?”
The cast spend their time being flung from trees and hung from wires. They get pissed on, shat on, and generally humiliated. Plus, it’s all set to goofy synth music with a soundscape of slide whistles, cartoonish bangs, blips and bloops. At one stage there’s a beautifully cheesy montage, and a brief dance number where several of the little guys thrust vigorously and ask the ladies if they “wanna get some load.”
I do wonder what the motivation behind making a film like this is. It’s a strange viewing experience, because you never know if you’re meant to be sympathizing with the characters, or just laughing at them because of their disability. It’s probably a bit of both. Thai culture is very different to ours, I suppose.
I’d say the most welcome thing about DWARVES is just how different it is to your usual cinematic fare, but that’s like saying waking up on the moon is different to your usual morning routine. It’s so audacious in its preposterousness that it’s impossible to look away. It’s like watching a high speed car crash – except the car is novelty sized, filled with little people, and it’s on fire.
It’d make a great double feature with UNDER THE RAINBOW, or – even better, a triple feature if you included FOR Y’UR HEIGHT ONLY. DWARVES could become a cult classic – it’s certainly adequately exploitative. I mean, it’s so politically incorrect that you could get lynched for making something like it in the west nowadays. Honestly, I live for this kinda shit, even if it is massively offensive and politically incorrect. I can’t wait for the Hollywood remake, and the inevitable DWARVES MUST BE CRAZYcinematic universe.