Monday, 29 June 2009



I don't much care for Herschell Gordon Lewis. Years ago I saw the UK video version of Two Thousand Maniacs, so heavily shorn of all its graphic gore effects that it emerged as Two Thousand Mildly Annoyed People, and I'd be surprised if watching it again with the splatter and dismemberment restored would be a significantly better experience. (The film also has the most annoying damned theme song in the history of absolutely everything: The South's gonna rise again, yee-haa - repeat to fade).

But I discovered that HG Lewis' 1972 offering, The Gore Gore Girls, is legitimately available online for free and, it being a slow afternoon, gave it a try. Really, why not make an exceedingly slow afternoon of it? Strippers and go-go dancers are being sadistically murdered by a masked killer and the police are stumped until one Abraham Gentry, world-famous detective and utter ponce, steps in at the behest of the newspapers. Who could it be? Could it be the traumatised war veteran who can only cope with life by pounding his fists into fruit? Could it be the humourless old bag from the Local Women's Lib movement? Could it be the missing kid who's fallen in love with one of the strippers? While Gentry ponces about interviewing the various suspects, more bodies are piling up, butchered in hideous ways bordering on the gratuitously repulsive, even by the standards of the senseless gore movie. Eyes are gouged out (and pushed back), faces dunked into boiling chip pans, nipples chopped off, buttocks beaten with a meat tenderiser. The Gore Gore Girls is, of course, absolutely terrible. No-one's capable of acting; the actor Frank Kress playing the detective/ponce has never been heard of since and the girls are there for the sole purpose of getting them out and shaking them up and down every few minutes. It's indifferently photographed, and the amateur gore effects go on for far too long.

Thousands have figured this out before, but I only saw it the other day: thinking about it afterwards, I suddenly realised that The Gore Gore Girls is not just a cheap piece of tacky drive-in sleaze, but a giallo. Masked killer, multiple suspects, unofficial investigation, twisted motives, buckets of blood - it's an Italian murder mystery, a Bava or an Argento. It's an Argento film made by a hopeless idiot, it has none of the flavour, flair, visual magic or pace of even a bad Argento film, but it's the kind of thing he could have taken as a very rough idea and made something passable with. As it is it could have been made by Argento's dog, for all the suspense and excitement it manages to generate.

Bizarrely, the IMDb recommends Argento's own Mother Of Tears in the "if you liked that, you'll like this" section. Mother Of Tears is an out of control mess with some good stuff sandwiched between the awful dialogue and unfathomable craziness, but it's still leagues about HG Lewis' hack job.


For what it's worth, Amazon stock this thing:

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