Blu-ray Review: The Gore Gore Girls

When Herschell Gordon Lewis released Blood Feast in 1963, he tapped into a market that wasn’t being by big Hollywood studios. His tale of grotesque Egyptian rituals that required body parts and bloods for the sacrifice brought in the eyeballs at Drive-ins, grindhouses and cinderblock cinemas across the country. Major studios couldn’t compete because they had to obey the Hays Code. This meant no cussing, nudity or graphic violence. Lewis immediately mined this gore turf with his independent films that included Two Thousand Maniacs!, A Taste of Blood and A Taste of Blood. But by the time The Gore Gore Girls arrived in 1972, the game had changed thanks to the MPAA bringing out the ratings. This meant that every major studio produced and distributed film didn’t have to be clean enough to be seen by small children. There was now an R-rating and even an X-rating for those movies that wanted to cuss away, strip down and gore up. Lewis had to up his game to a level to create his ultimate in special effects gore and most disturbing violent images.

Stripper Suzie Cream Puff (Jackie Kroeger) sits at her make up table getting ready for her next show when someone in all leather attacks. Her face goes through the mirror and a leather glove hand repeatedly stabs her. Newspaper reporter Nancy Weston (Amy Farrell) gets on the case, but needs help in uncovering the killer or even suspects. She hires renowned private investigator Abraham Gentry (Frank Kress) to get on the case. He’s a prickly case kinda like Benedict Cumberbatch’s approach on Sherlock. Shortly after he gets on the case another stripper dies with her body being mutilated by a meat tenderizer. Things get nasty and the suspects quickly mount up. Eventually Gentry comes up with a brilliant idea when he meets with the strip club owner (Goodfellas‘ Henny Youngman) to set up an amateur contest and lure Weston onto the stage. Can the reporter be enough bait to wrap up her story or is she going to end up in the headlines as another victim?

The Gore Gore Girls is puts the bloody cheer on the top of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ decade of disgust. He would take a thirty year break from cinema to focus on his direct marketing business and legal issues. It’s hard to see how he could top the film’s bloody effects while sticking to a low budget. Even bigger would be how he could possibly compete with an R-rated horror film with a budget. The studios were getting into the world of graphic horror and spray the screen in red corn syrup and rubber body parts. The Gore Gore Girl also allowed Lewis to finally work with a big name star in Henny Youngman. He was the king of the one liners with his iconic violin and “take my wife, please!” He gave the film a bit of class. The Gore Gore Girls was the perfect point for Herschell Gordon Lewis to turn of the lights and let his legacy grow.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks great and rough at the same time. This is the way you’d see The Gore Gore Girls at your neighborhood theater that dared show it.

This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! (98:50) is his hicksploitation movie from 1971 about moonshine. The movie gives us a church that believers in drinking. The movie is in rough shape with green platter scratches and a 1:33:1 aspect ratio. The audio is mono with good levels for low budget productions. The movies are subtitled.

Introductions to the films by H.G. Lewis lets him set up both films.

Audio commentary on The Gore Gore Girls with H.G. Lewis gets into his last film before his 30 year break from directing.

Audio commentary on This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! with camera operator and Lewis biographer Daniel Krogh

Author Stephen Thrower on The Gore Gore Girls (16:25) has Thrower point out that this is Lewis’ giallo movie during the height of the giallo era. The killer does wears leather gloves and enjoys a knife.

Regional Bloodshed (12:06) lets filmmakers Joe Swanberg and Spencer Parsons on Lewis’ regional and indie legacy. They appreciate that Lewis worked out of Chicago instead of being a NY or LA based maker.

Herschell Spills His Guts (4:02) lets him talk about why he got out of the movie business after he made The Gore Gore Girls. He feels Sam Pekinpah’s The Wild Bunch was the major film that brought his bloody screen. He gives insight into his career in the world of marketing

This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! Trailer (3:32) sets up a religion that embraces moonshine.

Arrow Video presents The Gore Gore Girls. Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. Screenplay by: Alan J. Dachman. Starring: Frank Kress, Amy Farrell, Hedda Lubin and Henny Youngman Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 96 minutes. Released: August 14, 2018.

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