Horror on the Lens: Monster A Go Go (dir by Bill Rebane and Herschell Gordon Lewis)


Can you figure out what’s going in today’s horror on the lens, the 1965 film Monster A Go Go?

This sci-fi/horror hybrid details what happens when an astronaut lands on Earth and promptly disappears.  Much like The Creeping Terror, this film makes frequent use of a narrator.  I always appreciate it when movies like this come with a narrator.

Anyway, Monster A Go Go was reportedly started by Bill Rebane in 1961.  When he ran out of money, the film sat unfinished for four years.  That’s when Herschell Gordon Lewis bought the film, added some additional scenes, and then released it on a double bill with one of his own films.  Hence, if Monster A Go Go seems like two different movies crammed together … well, that’s pretty much what it is.

Along with its interesting production history, Monster A Go Go is also well-remembered for its amazingly nonsensical ending.  I imagine that this film led to a few drive-in riots.

Enjoy!

Horror Book Review: A Taste of Blood: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis by Christopher Curry


Remember the movie Juno?

I can remember when Juno first came out, a lot of people were shocked when the character of Mark (played by Jason Bateman) suddenly started to come on to Juno (Ellen Page).  (For the record, as a result of that one scene, I’ve always had a hard time watching Jason Bateman in practically anything.)  Myself, I knew Mark no good long before he asked Juno what she thought of him.

Remember the scene where Mark asked Juno who her favorite horror director was?  Juno, being intelligent, replied, “Dario Argento.”  Mark smirked and replied that Herschell Gordon Lewis was better.  As soon as Mark said that, I knew he was no good.

Now, I should make clear that’s nothing against Herschell Gordon Lewis, who was one of the pioneers of independent American cinema.  Though I don’t think that there’s any way you can compare him to Argento, Lewis played an important and often undervalued role in the development of horror as a genre.  Lewis may not be a household name but Blood Feast and 2,000 Maniacs are two of the most influential films ever made.  Something Weird was one of the first films to feature an acid trip and it’s title inspired Something Weird Video.  Speaking of Something Weird Video, the clip that they always play before their films — the one of the bald man shouting that “you’re damaged merchandise and this is a fire sale!” — was taken from Lewis’s Scum of the Earth.  And finally, Lewis’s political satire — The Year of the Yahoo — pretty much predicted the current state of American politics.

If you want to find out more about the life and career of Herschell Gordon Lewis, the 1999 book, A Taste of Blood: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, is a good place to start.  The author, Christopher Curry, admits from the start that he is an unapologetic fan of Mr. Lewis’s.  As such, don’t expect the book to be too critical of any of Lewis’s films.  That said, A Taste of Blood contains not only interviews with the always articulate Lewis and some of his collaborators but it also contains a synopsis of every single Lewis film that had been released up until that point.  As such, the book is not just a tribute to Lewis but also a fascinating record of what it was like to work outside of the mainstream Hollywood establishment in the 1960s.  For that reason alone, it’s a valuable resource.

Now, it should be remembered that A Taste of Blood was written in 1999.  At the time that it was written, Lewis had retired from filmmaking.  Lewis, who passed away in 2016, would return to make three more films after the publication of A Taste of Blood.  As a result, A Taste of Blood is not a complete look at Lewis’s film career.  But it is a good place to start!

Finally, I bought my copy of A Taste For Blood at Recycled Books in Denton, Texas.  As far as I know, it’s out of print but, as always, there are still copies to be found online.

The TSL’s Grindhouse: The Year of the Yahoo! (dir by Herschell Gordon Lewis)


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At the time of his death last year, Herschell Gordon Lewis was credited with having directed 38 films.  Though he’s best known for ground-breaking gore films like Blood Feast and The Gore Gore Girls, Lewis actually dabbled in several different genres.  For instance, he made one of the first psychedelic drug films when he directed Something Weird.  And, as a public service, he warned us all of the dangers of smut peddlers with Scum of the Earth.

And, of course, there was that political films he made…

WHAT!?  A political film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis!?

Yes, it’s true!  The man who helped to give birth to modern horror also directed one of the most prophetic films ever made.  The Year of the Yahoo! came out in 1972 but it feels even more relevant today.  The Year of the Yahoo! not only predicted the rise of Donald Trump but also predicted the rise of Barack Obama as well, making it one of the few truly bipartisan satires ever made.  That’s not bad for an obscure film directed by a man who was never given much respect from mainstream critics.

The Year of the Yahoo! opens in Texas.  It’s an election year.  The governor (Jeffrey Allen) would love to get rid of liberal U.S. Senator Fred Burwell (Robert Swain) and he thinks that he’s found the candidate to do it.  The Governor wants to nominate an unimpressive congressman, someone who will be easy to control.  However, the President disagrees.  The President (who is obviously meant to be Richard Nixon, even if his name is never specifically mentioned) has decided that the man to defeat Sen. Burwell is a country singer named Hank Jackson (real-life country singer Claude King).

Hank Jackson has a television show, one that he hosts with his girlfriend, Tammy (Ronna Riddle).  Hank sings songs about how America needs to return to traditional values and how people just need to come together and help each other out.  He may be old-fashioned but he’s okay with the counter-culture.  In fact, when we first meet him, he’s at a hippie party.  He turns down an offer of marijuana but he does so with a hearty laugh.  He’s a traditional guy but he’s got no issues with the long hairs.  Not our Hank!  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Dallas oilman, an Austin hippie, an El Paso policeman, or a Galveston fisherman.  Everyone in Texas loves Hank!

When Sid Angelo (Ray Sager, the star of Lewis’s Wizard of Gore), a political consultant with White House connections, approaches Hank about running against that lefty traitor, Sen. Burwell, Hank is skeptical but intrigued.  Once Sid get Hank to agree, Sid starts to shape Hank’s message.  As a disgusted Tammy watches, Hank starts to sell out.  Soon, Hank is making jokes about people on welfare.  He’s defending law and order.  He’s taking the side of the landlords against the rent strikers.  Everything from his campaign announcement to interviews with the local media is precisely choreographed by Sid.

Hank’s message starts to resonate with the voters.  This is largely because he doesn’t have a message.  Instead, he just has a bunch of empty slogans and coded phrases.  Hank’s campaign commercial features him riding on a horse while the word “Hope” appears on the screen.  (I mean, who could possibly vote against hope?)  What’s going to happen when Hank’s elected?  Well, as he explains in the film’s theme song, we’re going to run the nation “like a country store.”  Just vote for Hank and “you’ll see how everyone relaxes.”

(At times, The Year of the Yahoo! almost feels like a musical.  The majority of the songs were written by Lewis, who was a legendary figure in the advertising industry before and after his career as a grindhouse filmmaker, and Claude King had a nice voice.  The songs are surprisingly catchy, even if they often are a bit too on the nose in their satire.)

Now, make no mistake about it.  This is definitely a Herschell Gordon Lewis film, which means that it often appears to have been made with more enthusiasm than skill.  At times, The Year of the Yahoo! moves way too slowly.  There’s a riot scene that is embarrassingly filmed.  The action stops for a stomach-churning sex scene between the hairy Ray Sager and a campaign volunteer.  The entire film, in fact, is full of actors who appeared in Lewis’s other films and it’s a bit weird to see familiar grindhouse performers cast as governors and campaign aides.  This is a Herschell Gordon Lewis production, with everything that implies.  While Lewis’s style was perfect for his semi-comedic gore films (Who can forget the “Have you ever had …. AN EGYPTIAN FEAST!?” scene from Blood Feast?), it feels a bit out of place in a film that is attempting to comment on reality.

And yet, it’s hard not to appreciate and kind of resoect just how serious the film’s intent seems to be.  Watching The Year of the Yahoo!, you get the feeling that Lewis actually was trying to say something important.  In The Year of the Yahoo!, Lewis not only attempted to make an important point but it was a valid point as well.  He may not have had the resources to really pull it off but consider this:

In 1972, Herschell Gordon Lewis predicted that a candidate could shoot the top of the polls by enticing voters with vague promises of hope.

In 1972, Herschell Gordon Lewis predicted that a wealthy TV celebrity, one that claimed to speak for the common man, could be packaged as a populist and sold to angry voters.

The Year of the Yahoo! was incredibly ahead of its time.  Say what you will about the film’s production values but you can’t deny this.  Everything that Herschell Gordon Lewis predicted came true.  That’s quite an accomplishment for someone often dismissed as merely being a gore director.

In fact, it’s such an accomplishment that it should give us all one thing for the future:

yahoooooo

4 Shots From Horror History: Blood and Black Lace, 2000 Maniacs, Repulsion, Kill Baby Kill


This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we continue the 1960s!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Blood and Black Lace (1964, dir by Mario Bava)

Blood and Black Lace (1964, dir by Mario Bava)

2,000 Maniacs (1964, dir by Herschell Gordon Lewis)

2,000 Maniacs (1964, dir by Herschell Gordon Lewis)

Repulsion (1965, dir by Roman Polanski)

Repulsion (1965, dir by Roman Polanski)

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966, dir by Mario Bava)

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966, dir by Mario Bava)

The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Color Me Blood Red (dir by Herschell Gordon Lewis)


color_me_blood_red_film_poster

That sure is an interesting poster, isn’t it?  The poster for Color Me Blood Red pretty much screams grindhouse and if you didn’t already know that this 1965 film was directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis and produced by David Friedman, you’d be able to guess just from looking at it.  My favorite part of the poster is the promise that Color Me Blood Red is “drenched in crimson color.”

There’s a lot of blood in Color Me Blood Red.  In fact, it’s a movie about blood.  Adam Sorg (played by Gordon Oas-Heim, who I’m going to guess was not a professional actor because, otherwise, why wouldn’t he have changed his name to Gordon O?) is a painter who hasn’t had much success.  Sure, he has a house on the beach and he has a girlfriend named Gigi (Elyn Warner) who is willing to model for him but one thing that Adam doesn’t have is respect.  No one wants to buy his paintings!  Could it be because Adam is living in a city full of Philistines?  That’s what Adam seems to believe but I think a far bigger problem is the fact that Adam is not a very good painter.  His paintings are cartoonish and his use of color is more than a little dull.  However, after Gigi cuts her finger and bleeds all over one of his canvases, Adam discovers that he has now found the perfect shade of red!

So, he decides to paint with blood.  Unfortunately, Gigi doesn’t want to give him any more of her blood.  So, Adam decides to open his own veins and use his own blood but he faints before he can finish his latest masterpiece.  What is Adam to do?  Well, he can always kill Gigi and use her blood.  And, of course, there’s always a fresh supply of teenagers showing up on the beach…

What’s sad about all this is that, even after Adam discovers that blood is the perfect shade of red, he’s still not a very good painter.  Believe me, I understand.  I majored in Art History.  The majority of my friends are artists.  Some paint, some write, some take pictures.  Believe me — I get it.  We all go through that phase where we fool ourselves into thinking that undeveloped talent, lazy thinking, and lack of ability is the same thing as having a unique vision that is destined to be unappreciated.  But most artists either eventually find their own voice or they give up by the time they turn 28.  Adam, on the other hand, is a middle-aged guy who is still acting like a student in an Intro to Graphic Design class.  What I’m saying is that blood is useless without a unique vision.  The perfect shade of red isn’t going to help if you still don’t have your own voice.

Then again, maybe I’m taking the film too seriously.

And really, that’s something you should never do when you’re reviewing a Herschell Gordon Lewis film.  Color Me Blood Red was the third part of Lewis’s blood trilogy but, unfortunately, it’s never quite as effective or memorable as either Blood Fest or Two Thousand Maniacs.  As silly as certain parts of the film may be, Blood Feast‘s gore still has the power to shock.  Two Thousand Maniacs is pure nightmare fuel.  Color Me Blood Red, meanwhile, is kind of bland.  It feels more like a successor to The Undertaker and His Pals than Blood Feast.

That said, the film is worth watching for some of the dialogue.  The entire film is full of campy lines, the majority of which are so strange that they give the proceedings an almost dream-like feel.

“Dig that crazy driftwood!” someone says upon spotting a corpse in the water.

“You mean the type who earn an honest living painting houses?” someone else says when asked for his opinion on artists.

And, of course, there’s my favorite line: “HOLY BANANAS!  It’s a girl’s leg!”

Color Me Blood Red is the least essential entry in the blood trilogy but, if you’re a Lewis/Friedman completist, you know you’re going to have to watch it.  So, you might as well sit back and enjoy it for the frequently silly little movie that it is.

Did You Know That Herschell Gordon Lewis Predicted The Future?


It’s true!

Just check out this trailer for his 1972 film, The Year of the Yahoo!

RIP, to Herschell Gordon Lewis.  Here’s a few of the Lewis films that we’ve reviewed here on the Shattered Lens:

Something Weird

The Gore Gore Girls

Scum of the Earth

The Gruesome Twosome

2,000 Maniacs

Blood Feast

Over on his own site, Trash Film Guru Ryan has reviewed The Wizard of Gore

And here’s Gary’s tribute to Herschell Gordon Lewis.

There’s no way that I can do a post about the passing of Herschell Gordon Lewis without including this famous scene from Scum of the Earth.  If you’ve ever gotten a DVD from Something Weird Video, you know this monologue by heart:

RIP Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore


cracked rear viewer

lewis1

Mention the name Herschell Gordon Lewis to film fans and you’ll get two responses. They either love him or hate him. I fall cleanly into the first camp, as I’ve always loved the demented cinema of Mr. Lewis, who passed away Monday at age 87. Whether watching a triple feature of terror at the old Capital Theater on a Saturday afternoon, or later rewatching his movies via the magic of VHS, Herschell Gordon Lewis’s blood soaked no-budget epics provided hours of gruesome entertainment for me, and helped warp my impressionable little mind (like it needed any help!).

Blood Feast (1963)                                                                 Blood Feast (1963)

Lewis got into the film business in the late 50’s, teaming with sexploitation king David F. Friedman to make a series of nudie-cutie flicks like BOIN-N-G! and GOLDIELOCKS AND THE THREE BARES, before creating their first masterpiece, 1963’s BLOOD FEAST. The film’s about Fuad Ramses, an Egyptian caterer who slaughters young women in order…

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The First Six Trailers of 2013


Finally!  It’s 2013 and it’s time for another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers!

1) The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies (1966)

With a title that long, how couldn’t this be a good movie?

2) Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster (1965)

3) Frankenstein Conquers The World (1965)

1965 was obviously a busy year for Frankenstein.

4) Charlie and the Hooker (1977)

With a name like Charlie and the Hooker, you know it’s going to be a fun film for the whole family.  And no, this is not a Charlie Sheen biopic.

5) A Taste of Blood (1967)

From the director Herschell Gordon Lewis…

6) Lisa and the Devil 

And finally, in honor of the new year, here is the trailer for one of my favorite films of all time — Mario Bava’s Lisa and the Devil.

What do you think, trailer kitties?

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Film Review: Something Weird (dir. by Herschell Gordon Lewis)


Now that I’ve finished reviewing the Friday the 13th series, I can finally take the time to make a few comments about a film that I’ve been meaning to review for a while here on the Shattered Lens: Herschell Gordon Lewis’s 1967 film Something Weird.

How to describe Something Weird?  Well, I could tell you that it was one of the first films to realize that ESP, witchcraft, and LSD made for a potent combination.  I could also point out that everyone’s favorite company — Something Weird Video — took their name from this film.  However, I think the best (and maybe only) way to tell you about this film is to simply tell you what happens.

The film starts out brilliantly with ten minutes of vaguely connected and disjointed images.  We start out with a close-up of a pair of legs that apparently belong to someone being chased down a city street.

Cut To: 

Two guys practicing karate.  One of them we will never see again.  The other one is a doughy-faced guy named Alex Jordan (William Brooker).  The one we will never see again explains to Alex that he’s not actually that talented when it comes to the martial arts.  Alex looks annoyed.

Cut to:

Alex is fooling around with a blonde that we’ll never see again and who will never be mentioned again for the rest of the film.  “You’re electrifying,” she tells him.

Cut to:

Some random guy is electrocuted by a downed power line.  Cronin “Mitch” Mitchell (Tony McCabe) runs over to help him and gets hit in the face by the same power line.  He falls to the ground while a group of random people wander over.  “Has anybody called an ambulance yet?” someone calmly asks.

Suddenly, there’s a man in a suit kneeling down by the two bodies and apparently, he’s some sort of medicine man because, while looking at the first man, he says, “I’ll have to call the coroner on this man.”  

However, Mitch is still alive so he’s put into the back of a station wagon and driven to the local hospital.  As we watch Mitch being pulled out of the back of the car, the camera pans up to the cloudy sky and suddenly, a narrator comes out of nowhere and starts rambling about “the sixth sense, ESP!”  The narrator is also nice enough to let us know that Alex — the guy from the Karate lesson — is apparently a government scientist who is in charge of figuring out how to use ESP against America’s enemies.

This all happens in the first 10 minutes of the film and, unfortunately, the remaining 70 minutes of the film struggles to live up to the surrealistic brilliance of this little montage.

Anyway, Mitch is alive but now he’s got both a scar on his face and the ability to see the future.  As one of his doctor’s puts it, “He’s a different man since the accident … cynical.  Maybe even morbid!”  Once he’s released from the hospital, Mitch takes to wearing a black bandana over the lower half of his face and becomes a professional psychic.

 

He finds a little success but, as we’ve been told, he’s now “cynical…maybe ever morbid!”  However, things change for Mitch when he’s approached by a grotesquely ugly woman with a blue face and a cackling laugh.  She explains that she’s a witch and she’s willing to restore his face but only if he takes her as his lover.  Mitch reluctantly does this and his scars suddenly vanish.

Soon, Mitch is a celebrity, appearing on television.  Everywhere he goes, the witch is on his arm.  The rest of the world sees her as a beautiful woman named Ellen Parker (Elizabeth Lee) but whenever Mitch looks at her, he sees her in her true blue-faced form. 

Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer preying on the woman of Jefferson, Wisconsin and the chief of police (played by Lawrence Wood, the man who gave the infamous “fire sale” monologue in Lewis’s Scum of the Earth) invites Mitch and Ellen to come help with the investigation.  The government meanwhile sends Alex (remember him?) to the town to investigate Mitch and perhaps recruit Mitch into the service of his country.

Alex is, at first, skeptical of Mitch but then he sees Mitch exorcising a disgruntled spirit from a local church and he starts to think that Mitch might have some psychic abilities after all.  Mitch might just need a little help and Alex is there to provide it.

Meeting with Mitch in the police chief’s office (and with the entire police force looking on), Alex produces two white pills from his pocket and says, “I have a drug here — LSD.  Ever hear of it?”  Alex proceeds to echo many real-life MK-Ultra conspiracy theories as he explains that LSD will increase Mitch’s psychic abilities to the extent that he’ll be able to catch the killer.   Mitch replies, “I’ve never taken the drug before but I’ll be glad to, doctor.”

Well, needless to say, the LSD produces the typical cinematic red-tinged, desert-themed trip but it still ends with Mitch figuring out who the killer is. It also allows Mitch to understand that the killer is sane “98% of the time.”  However, there’s a problem because now that killer is out to kill Mitch and Alex has fallen in love with Ellen, the blue-faced witch…

To be honest, Something Weird is not one of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s best films.  Even by typical Lewis standards, the plot doesn’t make much sense and the acting is incredibly bad.  Whereas other Lewis films (like Blood Feast) featured performances that were deliberately over the top, the cast of Something Weird comes across as if they were as confused while making Something Weird as the audience would later be while watching it.  (However, it should be noted that Elizabeth Lee at least seems to be having fun in the role of the constantly cackling witch.) 

However, I still love Something Weird because, unlike so many other movies, it actually lives up to its name.  This is a movie that promises to be weird and that’s exactly what it is.  There’s just so much to love in this film.  Check out the way that Mitch’s “facial scars” never look the same from scene-to-scene.  (At one point, the scars cover his entire face but, in the next scene, they can be easily hidden by a bandana.)  Watch in amazement as the same set is used and re-used for almost every scene in the movie, with just the furniture occasionally being rearranged depending on whether the scene is supposed to take place in an office or a hotel room. 

Ultimately, my love for this film comes down to the little details.    I love how the ambulance at the start of the film is just an old school station wagon (complete with wood paneling) with a siren on top of it.  Even better is how the police captain’s office is decorated with a faded pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln that literally appear to have been ripped out of an old history textbook.

In the greatest tradition of the grindhouse, there is no other movie like Something Weird and, for that reason alone, it’s worth watching.

Grindhouse Classics : “The Gore Gore Girls”


Just when you thought the coast was clear, I’m back with more Herschell Gordon Lewis! Between this little haphazard Lewis retrospective Lisa Marie Bowman and I are indulging in, and her exhaustively thorough, and highly readable, Friday The 13th series of recent days, Through The Shattered Lens is really becoming a gore-hound’s delight these days, isn’t it? Hell, even the music reviews around here lately have a bombastic and violent theme to them — Bathory? Hell, I’m impressed — Quorthon’s “Viking trilogy” is my favorite period in Bathory history, truth be told, and Twilight Of The Gods my favorite Bathory album, even though my all-time favorite song of theirs, Blood, Fire, Death appears on the album — well, Blood, Fire, Death. But it’s waaaaaayyyy too early for me to be getting this hopelessly sidetracked, isn’t ? So let’s get back to our guy Herschell.

Having spent my last visit here examining the alpha of Lewis’ “gore cycle,” namely Blood Feast, I figure now would be as good a time as any to take a look at the omega (not just of his gore flicks but of his filmmaking career in general, at least until Blood Feast 2 came along about 30 years later, but we won’t pay any attention to that — nor should you), namely 1972’s The Gore Gore Girls. Somebody a whole lot wiser than I am (though I’m not sure exactly who — truth be told, it was probably several “somebodies”) once said “if you’re gonna go out, then go out with a bang,” and this movie certainly makes it clear that HGL took that advice to heart.

Even by Lewis “standards,” the plot for this one is pretty threadbare — go-go dancers at a local (in this case “local” being the Chicago area) strip joynt are being murdered in downright awesomely grotesque fashion — faces smashed to pulp in mirrors before their heads are dug into, buttocks beaten and — uhhhmmmm — tenderized with a meat mallet before having salt and pepper added to the impromptu (and quite rare, it must be said) “rump roast” for seasoning, nipples clipped off with scissors to reveal squirting biological fountains of both white and chocolate milk, heads shoved into deep-fat fryers — clearly, Herschell’s pulling out all the stops on his way out. And just as clearly, he’s well past the point of even pretending that he’s taking any of this shit seriously. Not that he ever put much effort into such  conceits in the first place, mind you,  but in the case of this film it’s especially fortunate that his tongue was so obviously placed firmly in his cheek, because it really does help to take the edge off what, on paper at least, seems like a truly OTT-in-the-misogyny-department series of murders ( a well-placed subplot involving a local feminist group helps to lessen the impact, as well — even though said group’s inclusion amounts to little more than a red herring plot-wise, the surprisingly level-headed portrayal of them by Lewis comes at least somewhat close to an admission on his part that feminist critics of his work were probably right ). Think of this as Herschell doing what he did best — giving gore-lovers more of what they wanted than they could possibly have hoped for, while not-so-tacitly admitting that it was all crap, anyway.

Anyway, back to the story — this was Lewis’ one and only attempt at injecting a bit of mystery into the proceedings, and doing their best to sleuth out the identity of the killer, without murdering each other first, are the truly odd couple of gungo-ho (but hopelessly incompetent) reporter Nancy Weston (Amy Farrell), and fancy-pants private eye Abraham gentry (Frank Kress, who absolutely sinks his teeth into the role of the — ahem! — sexually ambiguous version of Phillip Marlowe and is, in true Lewis fashion, playing the whole thing not just for laughs but for hearty, full-throttle belly laughs from start to finish). Throw in comedy legend Henny Youngman (who must have been broke or something) as the ridiculously fast-talking owner of the strip club the unfortunate victims worked at, and friends, you’ve got a recipe for a winner on your hands.

To be sure, you need a strong (hell, a cast-iron) stomach to make it through some of the death and dismemberment on display here (all of which looks pretty darn good on the Something Weird Video DVD release of this film — they did a very nice job remastering the full-frame picture, the mono sound is good, and extras include, of course, a commentary from Lewis and, doubly of course, the “Gallery of Herschell Gordon Lewis exploitation artwork”),  as the effects are, on the whole, somewhat-better-conceived than in the average HGL production, but there’s just no escaping the feeling of “the director’s not taking this whole thing too seriously, so why should I?” that permeates each and every frame of this film. It’s brutally honest in its intentions — “give the audience what they want one more time, rake up a bunch of money, and close the door behind me on the way out” is the best summation of Lewis’ aims here, and his willingness to have a few laughs as he says “thanks for the cash one more time, suckers” is just icing on the cake. Any movie that openly states that it’s proud that it’s over with (see the final screen cap below) is clearly imploring you to do anything other than take it seriously, and with that in mind, I gotta say, while The Gore Gore Girls falls absolutely flat in its attempt to wring anything like dramatic tension out of its poorly-thought-out (to be generous) murder-mystery premise, and while its absolutely appallingly brutal treatment of the female gender should be inexcusably offensive, and while it’s “fourth wall”-busting acting absolutely obliterates any chances the film might have had (not that it really wanted any) of being seen as anything other than a cash-in quickie, the fact is that it’s just about the most fun you can imagine having watching someone’s eyes being pulled out. And tits sliced off. And head deep-fried.

And that’s really the genius of Herschell Gordon Lewis in a nutshell, isn’t it? He could play you for a sucker, openly tell you that was exactly what he was doing, and make you chuckle at what a chump you were as you handed your money over to him anyway. God bless ya, Mr. Lewis — we could sure use more like you today. Thanks for this outrageous parting gift.