If you dig films with cheesy acting, bad effects, and chicks getting their asses beat in by a meat tenderizer, then boy, do I have a movie for you! Herschell Gordon Lewis, also known as the “Godfather of Gore” unleashed The Gore Gore Girls to the world in 1972. At the time, the film was highly controversial and even X-rated. Lewis is credited for creating the “splatter” sub-genre of horror and known for films such as Blood Feast and Two Thousand Maniacs. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the upcoming Blu-ray release of The Gore Gore Girls (thank you Arrow Video) and I am embarrassed to say that I have never seen it before, but being familiar with Lewis’ work, I kinda knew what I was walking into. Tits, gore, and more!
So, I am into over-the-top horror films that are just filled with madness. The Gore Gore Girls just happened to be right up my alley. The opening scene features a young lady fixing her hair in a mirror. A dark, shadowy figure sneaks up behind her and repeatedly rams her face into the mirror. But the killer isn’t done yet and finishes the girl off by stabbing her. This is the opening scene, folks! No words, no set-up, just raw brutality and it sets the standard for the rest of the film.
The next scene introduces Nancy Weston (Amy Farrell) who has come knocking on the door of a sleazy private eye named Abraham Gentry (Frank Kress). Nancy is a reporter for a local newspaper and was sent to offer Gentry $25K to help solve the murder case of Suzie Cream Puff, the stripper gazing into the mirror whose murdered we just witnessed.
Gentry hits Marz’s Heaven, the local strip club that employed Cream Puff. He has a drink and enjoys a young lady on stage doing a striptease. I had to sit back and laugh at the awkward dancing of the stripper. It clearly looks like she has never done this before and the patrons’ acting is as hollow as her performance. But hey! I’m not watching this for Oscar winning performances. I am here for the boobs and blood! But the dancing is hardly sexy and don’t get me started on the choice of music.
Good ole Abe questions another dancer at the club, gets tossed a red herring, and before Gentry and Weston can gain ground on the case, another stripper is murdered in the same brutal fashion as Cream Puff. As you might guess, this is the extent of the plot of the film. Visit the strip club, ask questions, murder, rinse, repeat. But the film is amusing, and you can’t get mad at a finale that includes an amateur stripping contest in hopes of catching the killer.
Even though I just blasted the actors/actress’s performances, ironically enough the characters are what make this film. My favorite is Gentry. He is as entertaining as he is cocky. He cruises through the entire flick sporting a cane that he uses to deal with people that he feels are lesser than him. Weston, the attractive reporter is a dame that cannot hold her liquor and is very much attracted to Gentry. Gentry does his best throughout the film to push her off from following him, but she is always by his side. Eventually she gets the chance to show her wild side and doesn’t disappoint.
The rest of the cast is just as amusing. There are the various dancers that end up as victims. They are all beautiful until the killer takes care of business. Then the made-up beauties are turned into latex mush. Yes, the effects are that cheesy, but include a heavy dose of gore.
Rounding out the cast is Marlene, (Hedda Lubin) a less than friendly waitress, Barney the bartender, (Ray Sager) who also played Montag the Magnificent in Lewis’ other well-known feature, The Wizard of Gore. Grout the bouncer, a Vietnam vet that takes the time to draw faces on various fruits before smashing his creations into oblivion. Think he could be a suspect? Nah….. Then there is Mary McHenry, the leader of a feminist rights group that crashes the strip clubs with her crew while parading around signs that say, “Down With Tit.” And last, but certainly not least, there is the owner of Marz’s Heaven, Marzdone Mobilie, played by comedian Henny Youngman, who manages to sneak his comic routine in towards the end of the film.
I want to talk about the violence in the film. I was surprised when I read that it was rated X. However, the film was made in 1972. There is plenty of blood and gore. The killer mutilates the face of one of the dancers. And yes, the killer even cuts off a couple of nipples allowing milk, both regular and chocolate to spurt out into a glass. But, you can clearly see that it is make up and latex. And chocolate milk? It’s the kind of dark humor that I like. The special effects aren’t that special and that adds to the cheesy charm of the film.
Let’s talk about the disc. The Gore Gore Girls will be released in Blu-ray format on August 14th. Is it worth shelling out your hard earned cash? The special edition features a bonus feature! Another one of Lewis’ films This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! is included. The disc also includes intros to the films by Lewis himself, audio commentary by Lewis on both films, Regional Bloodshed– filmmakers Joe Swanberg and Spencer Parsons on Lewis’ legacy as a pioneer of regional indie filmmaking, Lewis discussing his career after The Gore Gore Girls when he took up marketing, and a This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! trailer.
If you don’t own The Gore Gore Girls, and you are into this kind of flick, then yes, this is the version you want to pick up. If you have this film in your collection already. I think it is safe to say that you can go ahead and double dip to get this in Blu-ray. The transfer to Blu is well done and even has the cue marks and “cigarette burns”.
Overall, I dig The Gore Gore Girls. I am happy that it has now joined my eclectic film collection. If you have not seen this and dig slasher horror films, then this is a must see. If not for the actual film, but to appreciate how far cinema has come and to embrace the roots of horror cinema.
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