The Gore Gore Girls (1972)

Look at the poster above. This film is advertised as follows:

  • The most horrifying film you’ll ever see in your life!
  • Nothing has ever stripped your nerves as screamingly raw as: THE GORE GORE GIRLS!
  • In Screaming Color (it came out in 1972, by which time color was a given).
  • Special effects by the same perverted madmen who brought you BLOOD FEAST * TWO THOUSAND MANIACS * THE GRUESOME TWOSOME (special effects? How about directed? Written?)
  • Notice: Persons with heart conditions prohibited from entering this theatre

So … anything there to give the slightest hint that this is, in fact, one of H. G. Lewis’s broadest attempts at comedy!?

This is the latest in a series in which Sandy Petersen, gorehound, examines the films of one of gore’s most-beloved, but least-deserving icons – Herschell Gordon Lewis.  (Hereafter inconsistently referred to as HGL).  This is my seventh review so far, and the film’s a doozie. Gore Gore Girls is so reprehensible that back when I wrote my very first review for Ken (Color Me Blood Red), GGG was called out by a Jabootuite and lambasted for its dire nature.

Is this HGL’s worst movie ever? Come with me – let’s find out together. Our movie opens with a girl in what is supposed to be a dressing room. Even so, she only has a stand-up mirror on her table, instead of a wall-hanger; a sure sign of fakery. The girl is poking desultorily at her hair, in a manner that implies that the director told her to “primp”.  Suddenly, against a red background, a sinister shape clad in black leather, complete with gloves, sneaks up. Apparently HGL was influenced by Italian giallos, whose killers often feature black leather gloves.

Perhaps this is supposed to be an homage to giallos? It does have some characteristics of a giallo, in a check-box type of way.  I mean:

  • Killer wears black gloves
  • Bright colors on sets
  • Girls often nude
  • Police incompetent
  • Killer’s identity concealed
  • “Twist” ending, though sometimes retarded
  • Plot doesn’t always make sense

HGL’s team had never seen a real dressing room but gamely did their best.

Maybe this Italian genre is what HGL had in mind. Who can tell? His ineptitude keeps us from being certain. We’ll discuss this later on. Anyway, the murderer’s fist seems to hit some glass – oh wait, he’s shoving the girl’s face against the little propped-up mirror, which mysteriously doesn’t fall over. The mirror breaks and he shoves her face again and again into the mirror which still doesn’t topple. Is it welded to the tabletop? Then the killer shoves a knife into the camera in a manner that suggests HGL thought the movie would be in 3-D, and the girl, face lightly mottled with fake blood, keels over. The scene is poorly staged, poorly edited, confusing, and unsatisfying to people who like gore. Which is to say, it’s standard HGL.

The girl’s shrieks are plainly dubbed, but mercifully short; I guess she’s dead after those shallow facial cuts.  (Wait – if it’s a dressing room, why doesn’t someone hear her?) The murderer now begins to play with a fake head that apparently was kept in the room.  I hear you, fair reader, saying, “No no, Sandy. That’s supposed to be the girl’s head.” But I call shenanigans, because we see the fake head, then we see the girl lying on the rug and the two heads are clearly different. Skin color, the wounds, only a complete incompetent could possibly mistake … oh, right. Well then, moving along.  Incidentally, we see the dead girl take a deep breath just before the opening credits start. This is almost a signature feature of HGL’s movies – the ‘curse of the living dead’ I call it.

Unlike every other HGL film I own, this time he has what looks like a real credit sequence. I mean, it’s bad, but Lewis actually has specific images created for his credits, instead of just using a freeze-frame while popping in words. The credits are still inept and wobbly, but hey, HGL has stepped up to Cro-Magnon film quality. Only briefly through, as we will see.

To my awe, we have a Special Guest Star on this production — none other than HENNY YOUNGMAN! Woot! This is the first (and only time) H.G. Lewis used a “name” star in his film, unless you count Playboy Playmate Connie Mason, which I don’t.

The credits fade to a newspaper shot of the dead girl – in their photo she is lying in a position completely different from what we saw at the murder scene. We now cut to a man reading a fake newspaper, awkwardly holding a black cat on his lap. I hate him at first sight.

Gore Gore Girls is often accused of misogyny. Is it deserving of its bad reputation? I mean, more than any other HGL film. Yes yes a thousand times yes, but not because of the murders – girls are killed horribly, but that’s de rigeur in horror films. Does anyone whine that Descent killed off a bunch of attractive women? It’s also not misogynistic because HGL seems to take such delight in the killings, either. Again, we cheer for Freddy Krueger and Jason during their outings. Gore Gore Girls is an exploitation movie – the reason the film exists is to show murders!  HGL is supposed to be delivering us the goods. Let’s face it, if you don’t want to see girls killed on-screen, there’s a long list of film-makers to avoid before you reach HGL’s rock-bottom level.

So why does Sandy agree that Gore Gore Girls is in fact actually misogynistic? For one thing, GGG features topless girls, an element missing from HGL’s other gore movies. (We do have a “wardrobe malfunction” in Blood Feast, which Lewis clearly did not intend). This titillation feature always makes me uneasy, especially when clumsily filmed, as in this case. But my main problem is with our supposed leading man. He stinks on ice.

I’m the first to admit that the 1960s was thick with chauvinism (I Dream of Jeannie, anyone?). Even so, HGL goes above and beyond the call of duty.  In all HGL’s films the male protagonists are downers – so much so that in the hands of another director, I’d suspect a subversive subtext. Throughout The Gruesome Twosome, it seems we are supposed to sympathize with the “long-suffering” fiancé of our Girl Wonder, despite the fact that she is clearly correct in her theories, while the fiancé is clearly wrong. HGL’s heroes belittle their girlfriends’ ambitions (Wizard of Gore), threaten to forcibly restrain them (She Devils on Wheels), and don’t even show up to their parties (Blood Feast). If you’ve read any of my HGL reviews, you know I hate these guys. Well, the loathsome toad that passes for a hero in Gore Gore Girls takes the cake. And here he is:

This guy’s picture is in the dictionary next to “douchebag”.

To the sound of weird space music (I swear), the previously alluded to man walks to the door, stopping en route to put his cat inside a cabinet! Wow. I say again, wow. (And no, we never see the cat again.) The door knocker reveals two things about our man. First, he uses gothic script for his nameplate, which is gay, and second his name is “Abraham Gentry”. *gag* He walks to the door carrying a cane, apparently for coolness alone, since he doesn’t limp. Why am I not surprised that he has a gigantic mirror in his living room? He probably watches it instead of TV.

HThe greets a girl at the door in the most stilted possible fashion, “Yes, may I be of service to you?” She says she wants Abraham Gentry. He tells her to phone. She says “I tried, but no one answers.” He says, “Why don’t you try again tomorrow?” and so forth. This goes on for a while. I think it’s supposed to be witty banter, heaven help me.  In general this movie is plagued by non-witty banter so dire that it beggars belief. When he finally admits he is Mr. Gentry, she reacts with disbelief, which I share. After all Gentry is supposed to be a big private eye. This buffoon couldn’t detect his way out of a paper bag.

The girl, who proves to be named Nancy Weston, offers him 25,000 dollars and he invites her in. That’s a lot of money – for those of you who are children of the 90s, in 1972, only 5% of the entire US population made as much as $20,000 in a whole year! So it’s worth well over $100,000 in modern terms. (Special thanks to Jimmy Carter!) Imagine offering a modern detective 120k of cash to do something. Unbelievable, isn’t it? After all, when I had Ken’s background checked out it only cost me a couple hundred smackers, and I got enough dirt that Ken’ll be forced to keep publishing my reviews for years.

But now, as soon as Nancy says she’s a reporter, Gentry tries to kick her out. I don’t see how this makes sense. Are reporters “bad”? Surely the “reporters = evil” trope only kicked in during the ‘90s. Why would a private dick NOT want to be in the paper? I don’t recall Nero Wolfe or even Sherlock Holmes being foes of the press. And why wouldn’t Nancy’s $25,000 still be just as attractive? I’d at least want to hear her out.

These trivial concerns are beneath H. G. Lewis. He has a tale to tell. Or actually, he doesn’t. Since removing Nancy would short-circuit the whole story, we the audience KNOW that Abraham Gentry won’t do it. So this extra bit just delays the action and makes everything more frustrating. It’s like watching an action movie where the protagonist is found drunk in a bar in South America. You know he’s going to dry out and go on the adventure. So why waste time with the “drunk in a bar” sequence at all? The longer it lasts, the more boring and annoying it gets.

I’ve seen this trope of the reluctant hero worked well exactly twice. Once was in the fabled great film Night of the Creeps (finally available on DVD! Yay!). There we first meet a cop when he is actually in the process of committing suicide, during which he is instead dragged away to investigate the invading alien zombie things. We don’t waste a long time on trying to expose why he was suicidal, we don’t explore his past romances, we just get on with the story and are thoroughly convinced that he has a dark side. The other time I liked the reluctant hero was in The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, in which the idea is trotted out purely in mockery.

Anyway, HGL’s reluctant hero delaying tactics suck ass. Nancy doesn’t leave anyway. She says her newspaper wants to HIRE the detective to investigate the “striptease murders”. Since when did newspapers hire detectives? Aren’t reporters supposed to dig up stuff on their own? In fact, many mystery movies feature an inquiring reporter as the hard-hitting action hero. Why do we need our hero in this film to be a detective? Why can’t he be a reporter working for the Globe, who just got assigned to the striptease murders? That would be so much simpler and easy to parse. I guess HGL didn’t think of it. I swear it’s like he’s trying to imitate a genre stereotype that never existed.

The story gets even more stupid. The newspaper is willing to pay Gentry 25 grand just to investigate, and if he finds the murderer, he gets 25 grand more! That’s one rich newspaper. Wouldn’t they get more bang for their buck by posting on the front page “The GLOBE offers $50,000 for the capture of the Striptease Murderer!” *

[*Editor Ken:  You certainly think they’d sell more newspapers.]

I feel kind of like a dink for hammering HGL so hard on the unrealistic nature of this. Yet his other movies, lame as they were, at least had logical reasons for the protagonists’ involvement. In both Blood Feast and Wizard of Gore the killers target the female leads, while the male leads are cops assigned to the case. In Color Me Blood Red the protagonists aren’t involved most of the film. Sheer coincidence brings them together. In Gruesome Twosome the female lead investigates disappearances on her own – the male lead gets involved while trying to hold her back. But now, in Gore Gore Girls, Lewis trots in hoary old impossible-to-accept conceits to get his characters into trouble. I blame his scriptwriter.

After some more witty repartee, which I hate a lot, Nancy hands Gentry a check for $5000 for expenses. (At least she didn’t give him the whole sum at once.) He then actually uses his cane to propel her out of his apartment. What a charmer. His parting shot to Nancy? “Stay out of trees!”?? Ken? Why is this funny?*

[*Editor Ken: What now? Because I knew what scanning the ‘good parts’ of novels back in the day meant, I’m now the expert on HGL non sequiturs?!  I think not. Call me when somebody makes a cryptic remark about Tijuana Bibles, or those Dean Owen softcore paperback adaptations of Konga and Reptilicus.]

The scene now switches to a low-rent strip club. A skinny, pale girl wearing pasties and panties gyrates pitifully in front of a badly-painted brick wall. She doesn’t even have a stage to stand on. It’s appalling. It makes me just want to toss her a Jackson so she can go smoke her crack in privacy. Our hero sits in the club, ogling the goods. We get a close-up of the girl, which is unfortunate, because we can see not only that she had trouble putting on her lipstick, but she has a big bruise on her left arm. Plus she has something wrong with her nose – a recent nosebleed or something. It creeps me out, and it’s clearly unintentional.

We’re supposed to be vicariously carousing with the club’s clientele, but I just want to wash out HGL’s eyes and mouth with soap. The scene (except for the stripper) is badly lit, but I view this as a point in HGL’s favor. Real strip clubs (so I hear) are pretty dark, because no one wants to see, or be seen by, the low-lifes who hang out there. HGL, knowing nothing of how to make movies, simply reproduced an actual sleazy strip club vibe and there we have it. Maybe that’s why I feel so icky here.*

[*Editor Ken: If HGL ably captures this milieu, it’s probably because many of the grindhouse theaters his various films played at also doubled as burlesque houses and (to the extent there was any difference) strip clubs. Fellow schlockmeister Drew F. Friendman ran the most famous such chain, the 47-venue Pussycat Theaters in California. Such theaters were eventually decimated by the advent of home video. In any case, the difference between one of these outfits and a strip club was pretty marginal. If anything, the cinema attendees probably had a sleazier reputation; there’s a reason such patrons were known as the ‘raincoat crowd.’]

No one does “seedy” like Herschell Gordon Lewis .

A sassy waitress, Marlene, saunters up. She is covered from neck to wrist, more conservatively than is presumably usually seen in a strip club. Wait, I spoke too soon. As she comes around the corner, we can see that Marlene’s not wearing any pants. Ah well. Seeing as I’m a leg man, I’ll forgive her. But then she opens her mouth. Too bad.

Marlene turns out to be the worst waitress in the world, but to be fair, she’s serving the worst customer. She yells at Gentry, “Hey Mister! Hel-loo-oo!” and waves her hand in front of his face. He does a double-take (I swear) because he was so engrossed in the underage floozy on the “dance” floor. He asks for Cordon Bleu, something which I only know as a type of food, not a drink. But then as a teetotaler, what do you expect? Maybe Ken, that hardened two-fisted drinker, will enlighten me here.*

[*Editor Ken: Even Google can’t help on this one!]

Marlene is just as mystified by the Cordon Bleu request as me, and puts her hands on her hips. Gentry changes his mind and asks for tonic water. Then, as the waitress turns away, he hooks her with his cane (holy CRAP, dude) and demands that he get a clean glass. Thus in one stroke he offends the establishment, physically assaults the waitress and proves himself an all-around prick. I thought I hated him when he was just putting cats into cabinets, but his anti-charisma grows apace.

When the girl finishes her act (no big finale or anything, she just stops dancing), the massive audience of three (3) guys at a table near Gentry applaud and cheer weakly. The girl immediately pulls on her clothing, on-stage. Is that normal?  Then she makes a bee-line for Gentry’s table. I guess strippers are prone to bad life decisions.

Marlene returns with Gentry’s tonic water and she’s wearing a completely different outfit. I assume this was done on purpose by HGL for some reason. Gentry won’t even let Marlene take the bottle off the tray, vocally fearing contamination. Nice guy. Without engaging in repartee, he then dives right in and asks the stripper, “Please tell me everything you can about Suzy Creampuff.” Man if I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked that question … Incidentally, while the stripper tries to explain about Suzy’s background, a drunk staggers past the table loudly obfuscating some of the dialogue. That HGL, what a kidder.

The assumption I am working under at this point is that “Suzy Creampuff” is the girl who got killed in the opening sequence. No one ever actually says so. The plot actually progresses a little now. It turns out that a certain Joseph Carter, wormy college kid—HGL’s choice of phrase, not mine—was nuts about Suzy, but she never gave him the time of day. Gentry’s awe-inspiring sleuthing powers enable him to find out Carter’s address (he pays the stripper to steal one of Carter’s checks from the till).

When Gentry rises to leave, the stripper makes goo-goo eyes and asks when he’ll be back. He tells her flat out, “I’ll try not to be.” Again with the insulting zingers. So far he has disrespected literally every other person he’s spoken with. What a great private eye. On his way out, we see Marlene in yet a third outfit, sitting at the bar. She must spend most of her time changing clothes. He pauses to insult her again, to the sound of a trumpet horse-laughing, and heads on his way.

My assumption is that Abraham Gentry is supposed to be the hero of the movie. I base this solely on the fact that the action has centered on him, because nothing he has said or done endears him to me in any way. I challenge anyone to watch this movie and find anything worthwhile in our hero. In fact, I’ll put money on it. Come on folks, who’ll take the challenge?

Outside Gentry finds Reporter Girl Nancy sitting in his Corvette. He tells her to strap in, as they’re headed to Joseph Carter’s presumably wormy house. They drive away. It’s dark outside, of course; after all, we just walked out of a strip club in full bellow. Carter frequents that strip club, so presumably he doesn’t live far away, less than an hour by car surely. But as they pull into the suspect’s driveway, it’s broad daylight. How can even Lewis be so inept?

Look! Lewis pulls off a competent day-for-night!

But blows it only seconds later.

For some reason we’re still hearing the strip club background music as Gentry and Nancy walk up to the door. I note in passing that the garage door has a big “DO NOT BLOCK” sign on it, and that Gentry is in fact blocking it with his car. A guy sits outside, having a cigarette. He turns out to be a friend of Joseph Carter, but not such a close friend he is unwilling to sell him out. He tells Gentry that Carter is going to see a girl named Candy Canes, a gal pal of the late Suzy Creampuff, and that Carter was “all freaked out”. We’re obviously supposed to think that Carter is the killer, and that he’s gone to kill Candy Canes. If only our hero can be in time to stop Carter! Or something.

We now move our view to a stripper’s sordid little apartment. I hate to say it, but it’s crummy enough that it might be the girl’s real digs.  As she walks past her mirror, she stops, not to preen, but to sexily pull down her shoulder straps and bump and grind. She’s admiring herself I guess. This doesn’t seem very realistic to me – the only person I’ve ever seen lust at himself in a mirror is Ken.* So she gropes herself and chews a big wad of bubble gum.  How enticing. As she continues her solo striptease, a sinister shadow, accompanied by a harp (?), appears in the background. Does another murder loom?

[*Editor Ken:  To be fair, have you looked at me? Tssssssssss! (That’s that sound you make when you lick your finger and pretend to touch something really hot.)]

Yep. The shadowy figure lifts a hammer and it falls. The girl blows a bubble filled with blood, which is a lot nastier looking than it sounds, and she collapses onto a bed. There was a bed next to her? I didn’t see it before. The killer then immediately cuts her throat and removes her bubble gum (?). He then slices her throat a second time (??). After that the camera cuts back and forth between the killer’s shadow hacking away at something, and his hands engulfed in what is obviously a big black wig from which he is pulling hunks of suet.

We finally get a money shot as his hands are engulfed in a horrible bloody mess which he continues to hack at with a cleaver. Yay, I guess. Or eccch. I guess I’ll give credit where appropriate. I like horrible bloody messes, and the final one Lewis achieves in this shot is messy indeed. So much so that it actually manages to send a few prickles up my jaded spine.  The effect is a little spoiled by the fake skin that comes off like an orange peel. Still, fast-forward through this part if you’re squeamish.

One final note – the final shot of the scene, while the killer is still playing in the girl’s sinus cavities, shows the cleaver he used to chop her up laying on the bed. It is completely clean and dry. Nice continuity, HGL.

Now our dynamic duo, Gentry & Nancy, drive up to the door. Are we about to catch our killer in flagrante delicto? (For those without a classical education, that means “with delicious fragrance”.) And we’re STILL hearing the same music playing in the nightclub. Our man Gentry raps on the door , with his asinine stick. Nancy asks him “What do you think we’ll find here.” Naturally he sneers “Kilroy.” After waiting exactly 3 seconds—I timed it—he opens the door and minces his way in.

Nancy walks into the apartment’s bedroom, and looks around. The second time she looks in the direction of the corpse, which is less than a yard away, and well-lit, she notices it and collapses in a faint. Gentry doesn’t even do a double-take, which makes it clear to me that he must be the killer. How else would he know? The corpse has a cigarette between her toes and the letters “OK” written in blood on her calf.

Gentry immediately interferes with the crime scene by plucking up the cigarette and depositing it in a nearby ashtray (!). He then grabs a can of 7-Up—product placement!—from offstage. (Seriously – he just steps off the screen for a half second and then returns, can in hand). He walks over to the unconscious Nancy and pours the sugary, sticky soda right in her face. This accomplished, he calls the police, politely asking for Lieutenant Anderson. Does he tell the cops that there has been a murder? No. He says “A friend of mine seems to have … lost face.” HAR HAR HAR oh wait, that wasn’t a bit funny. And she wasn’t his friend – he never met her.

When the cops show up, Gentry is still drinking from the can of 7-Up. Seems like this must be a while later, since the room is filled with cops. Maybe he’s a slow drinker, or maybe he got another stagehand to get him a fresh can, who knows?

Gentry is already certain that the kid Carter is innocent. Why? He doesn’t say. He does take the time to insult Nancy some more, and rushes off to a strip club named “Tops and Bottoms,” supposedly the place where Candy Cane worked.

Well, the nightclub is different. The wall is red for one thing and the gyrating stripper is still fully clothed. Early in the act, I guess. Her afro is roughly the size of the planet Jupiter and soon enough she gets down to business. This time there is a sort of mini-stage behind her, but she doesn’t dance on it. Just as well – it looks old and shoddy, and even sports some trash atop it (!). Gentry takes his place and watches the show.

HGL’s crack special effects team, hard at work.

We then move to the bar where a guy is drawing a face on a summer squash with a magic marker. He then immediately squashes the squash with his fist. Unsated with this drama, he pulls over a small honeydew melon and repeats the process.

Gentry shows up on the other side of the bar. And, lo and behold, Marlene the waitress is here, the same suffering servitor that was at the other strip club. I guess she’s the only waitress in town, and all the clubs have to share her. While at the bar, Gentry kindly orders a drink for Nancy. Wait … belay that “kindly” – he orders her a Zombie with four shots of tequila added. Even as a non-drinker, that sounds bad. I double checked with a hard-drinking female pal of mine, and she confirms that a zombie is already like drinking 3-4 normal cocktails. Apparently Gentry never heard of alcohol poisoning.

Gentry asks about the squash-squashing fellow, and learns his name is “Grout”. Grout turns out to be that trope beloved of crappy movie-makers, the deranged Vietnam vet. Here I have to stop to make the small but truthful point that Vietnam vets are statistically shown to be more mentally stable, and better off financially than their peers who skipped combat.

I’m not minimizing the horrors of ‘Nam – look what it did to John Kerry, after all – but it is actually possible to serve in a war and not be mentally ruined. My eminently stable father-in-law saw combat in France and helped liberate a concentration camp, and is a case in point. Not to mention my beloved Grandpa Jack, who served in WW1 at the battle of the Somme, where he was machine-gunned and captured by a German patrol. Grandpa Jack was a great guy. Compared to the Somme and WW2, Vietnam was practically a cakewalk. Yet Grandpa Jack was a productive family head and member of society, though family legend says that he did tend to blow part of his paycheck on the ponies.

I seem to have wandered far afield from my original point, so I’ll just summarize. War veterans were portrayed as freaks in a lot of movies in the 70s and 80s, which is non-coincidentally the same time that a lot of guys become movie-makers who had never been in the military. It’s depressing to see even HGL adhering to this old wheeze, but he wasn’t the screenwriter.

Anyway, Grout works at the bar, but it’s not clear what he does. (Later on they say he is a combination bouncer/bartender, but we never see him do either.) We endure a long discourse into Grout’s background, and why he destroys vegetables and fruits to this day. However, it’s completely pointless and has no bearing on the plot so I’m going to skip it. I seem to be doing this a lot in this movie. One wonders.

When Gentry returns to Nancy she is finishing her super-mega Zombie from a glass the size of Manhattan Island. She actually slurps it up with a straw! Is that how you serve tequila? She does look pretty hammered, and when Gentry offers to buy her a second drink, Nancy tells him “You don’t have to get me drunk to take advantage of me later.” EEyuuck! Why does there even exist a trope that women prefer the company of big jerks?*  Nancy is supposed to be an independent, hard-working, intelligent journalist. I’m speechless.

[*Editor Ken: Because every guy in the movie business is a big jerk, and swimming in attractive women.  But I exaggerate, of course.  Some of those guys are gay. They are swimming in men.]

Our female leads, in their liberated glory.  I specifically avoid comment about Marlene’s choice in clothes.

Gentry ignobly orders “another of the same” for Nancy, who is already so drunk she can’t keep her head upright. So … he’s getting her another super-megazombie which if you forgot has 4 shots of tequila plus the three shots of rum in a Zombie … maybe he rates how good a drink is by how much you’re still afraid of the cops. Nancy will be ready to take on the Green Bay Packers after this one.

Gentry abandons Nancy. (After all, how could a drunk girl get into trouble sitting alone in a strip club?) As he prances to the bar he performs a “humorous” imitation of someone – possibly W.C. Fields, though it’s hard to be sure, since the imitation’s quality is grade-school level. Anyway, Gentry makes his way to the fabled Grout, as the latter ominously gets out a tomato.

Suddenly, just before Gentry is about to speak, we switch to the stage and an enthusiastic announcer announces “Miss Lola Puh-rize”. A lady walks up with a cane and for a second I fear grannie porn is about to ensue, but no, it’s just a prop. The lady is young, a little hardened, but hey, she’s a professional stripper. At this point the music, for the first time, amuses me. They’re playing Strauss’s “Radetskymarsch” beloved of anyone who saw that greatest of all TV shows, The Prisoner. I am, briefly, a happy man.

One of the unusual “artistic” choices that HGL makes is to constantly cut away from the stripper to show us the audience. Not that I particularly care about the striptease, but surely even HGL didn’t think his audience wanted to watch pudgy balding guys leering at the camera. I swear, it’s all I can do to look in the mirror nowadays.*

[Editor Ken:  Really? I love looking in the mirror.  Tssssssssss!]

To give the girl credit, her act is the best yet. (Of course we’ve only seen three, and Sandy doesn’t have a lot of strip club experience). She keeps moving, has an all-natural body, and seems to hit all the key points. Plus anything is better than watching Gentry’s antics. Besides, this is the exploitation movie to end all exploitation movies . It’s hard to complain that a strip act is “filler” in a movie titled The Gore Gore Girls. I mean, the whole movie is filler, in a sense.

(One off-touch hits me when I spot a bruise on the maiden’s hip. Two of the strippers have had bruises. The second stripper was a black girl, so I couldn’t tell, but now I’m suspicious. )

I’m soon made even happier, as women’s libbers burst into the strip club bearing placards reading “Lewd is Crude”, “Quit With Tit” and such. They charge up and over the stage and then start overturning tables and the like. I am fully on their side.

Meanwhile, Gentry tries to talk to Grout, and practically accuses him of murdering Candy Cane. Before Grout can answer, the ruckus in the front room with the women’s libbers draws everyone’s attention. What ensues is the worst bar fight scene ever. The women, big grins on their faces, just kind of shove everyone around and get shoved in return. I imagine they were the spouses and girlfriends of members of Lewis’s team. Probably not even paid for their time. But they seem to be enjoying themselves.

I suppose I should be getting all huffy about how Lewis negatively portrays the Women’s Liberation movement and all, but the truth is he isn’t really being much negative. The “attack” on the bar is clearly seen as part of the fun; one of the hazards you encounter at a strip club. Nor are the libbers portrayed as dowdy battleaxes. Yeah, they’re not as cute as the strippers, but they were not chosen for homeliness either.

In the confusion, Gentry grabs Lola Prize and escorts her out of the building. She goes willingly for some reason – why is she walking off with a stranger? They run to Gentry’s Corvette, thus leaving behind poor Nancy, so drunk she couldn’t drive a Tonka truck. I notice again that outside the strip club it’s broad daylight. Yeah, that seems likely. Wait, Gentry carefully places Lola in his car, and then heads back to the bar. Is he rescuing Nancy? Yay he is. She’s so drunk she didn’t notice the riot. He walks her back to his car to the sound of a soused clarinet. She collapses, and he leaves her lying on the filthy pavement. Awesome rescue, dude.

Man, if I had a dollar for every date that ended this way …

Gentry calls a taxi, and gets out Nancy’s purse for her address and house key, so the cabbie can get her home. I’m going to hope that he didn’t also pay the cabbie with money from her purse, because it’s not clearly presented. But knowing Gentry …

When he gets Lola back to her apartment, she archly asks him his name. When he says, “Abraham Gentry” she’s all agog. Apparently he’s famous. How many famous private eyes are there, really? Outside of fiction. Ah well, he asks Lola if she knows Candy Canes, and of course she does. “We strip at the same joint” she says. Then Gentry bluntly tells Lola of Candy’s murder, and begins grilling her for who could have dunnit.

Lola displays all the depth of wisdom commonly attributed to strippers. Gentry’s only new information is that Joseph Carter didn’t go to Candy Cane’s apartment after all. So he is innocent! A fact which we already knew, because Gentry said so without proof, and since he is our Designated Hero he must be right. And man, I have never seen a hero more in need of Designation, if you get my drift. He’s worse than the animal right’s activist in Jurassic Park: The Lost World, who gets like 50 people killed and never gets blamed for it, or seemingly feels bad about it. At least that guy wasn’t the main star, just a “sympathetic” hanger-on.

Anyway we now have another suspect for our great mystery; it turns out that the leader of the women’s libbers has made death threats against the strippers. So far this is three people who might be guilty, if you’re keeping track – Joseph Carter, Grout, and the Libber. Is this going to be a real honest-to-god murder mystery? We have multiple suspects, and even some clue-like events. The answer: not hardly. While HGL follows the format of a detective movie, he is not making one, and probably doesn’t know how to make one.

Gentry refuses Lola’s tentative offers of seduction, and he leaves her to her fate, which will no doubt be swift to follow. Incidentally she has an enormous home for a stripper who dances in such a cheap club. It must pay better than I thought.

At this point, I have to wonder even further about Gentry’s supposed competence. Two strippers are killed, both friends of Lola’s. One was killed in her own apartment. Surely Lola needs some kind of protection. Shouldn’t Gentry call the cops or otherwise arrange for it? Nope, he just heads out, leaving her a sitting duck for OH NO HERE IT COMES. Just after Lola gets a cucumber out of her fridge (I’m not kidding), she sees the bad guy and says, “What are YOU doing here?” This at least informs us, for the first time, that the victims know their killer.

Said murderer, face still hidden, immediately cuts Lola’s throat, and she goes into a death scene reminiscent of “The Guy Who Dies” from The Fantasticks. Croaking and gagging and screeching, and holding her forehead like she has the vapors. It’s highly amusing, but probably not in the way HGL intended it to be. Howling like a wolverine in heat, she collapses on the table, and the killer uses a fork (?) to pull down her panties. Man I feel icky writing this review. Furthermore, the soundtrack at this point is STILL playing that rollicking Strauss march!

Now the killer takes a wooden meat-tenderizer mallet and starts pounding her butt with it. Judging from the amount of blood sprayed around, that meat-tenderizer must have titanium spikes attached to it. The whole scene is ludicrous – it’s clearly impossible, and even Lewis must have known it to be such. I guess he was trying to tell a “visual joke”. He does another such “joke” later on in the show and, unbelievably, it’s even more tasteless and depressing.  Hard to believe, I know.

Mystifyingly, the bottom-bashing kills Lola, and she piteously lies dead on the table. The killer then gets salt and pepper or maybe powdered meat tenderizer (but why does Lola have two full bottles of the stuff in her cupboard?) and pours it over her behind. This also is probably supposed to be another funny gag, but is just tasteless and depressing. Finally, the killer rolls his victim over and starts playing with a laughably fake blood-filled head. Here HGL feels he has provided value for money – the killer messes with a real sheep’s eyeball for a while and squeezes it till it pops. Lewis was known to quote this event in later years to demonstrate his devotion to cinematic greatness. Well done, Mr. Lewis.

Money-saving tip! To get the full impact of Gore Gore Girls without buying the DVD, just imagine that this cucumber is a turd, and you’re watching it for 82 minutes.

The cops show up to the sounds of the Anvil Chorus (I swear) and begin taking pictures of everything except the corpse. They quiz Gentry, who I guess was summoned back to the place because he has relevant information, having been the last person to be seen with Lola before her death. The head cop, a lieutenant, loudly shouts, “Tell me what you talked about!” while waving the bloody meat tenderizer mallet. Rather than respond, Gentry touches his finger to the mallet and then licks it! Holy HELL HGL, what are you thinking?!

Gentry then turns to greet Nancy. Finally, after the police lieutenant gets furious, Gentry says “we talked about ‘things’.” Yeah that’s helpful. The Lieutenant’s biggest threat was he’d take him down to the station. Man if I were the cops I’d yank this guy’s license now.

Gentry now goes on a long unfunny spiel which is supposed to entertain us but doesn’t. He then openly lies to the cops, claiming he’d left Lola a bible which is now missing, presumably stolen by the killer. So our hero now actively misleads a police investigation. Frankly I find this puzzling – in HGL’s previous films, the police have not been pilloried or mocked. Some of his heroes are even police (case in point: Blood Feast). Perhaps I’m a fool to look for consistency in HGL movies. I might be a fool for other reasons, too, but this is the only one I’m fessing up to.

It gets worse after the Lieutenant leaves. Gentry hands a piece of paper to a uniform cop and tells him to have the lab examine it, and not to tell the Lieutenant (the uniform’s actual superior). Gentry then gives the cop 5 bucks to “buy some cigars” as payment for his trouble. Is it meaningful that the cop is black? Probably not. It does make me uneasy though that Gentry refers to the cop as “Freddie” while the cop politely calls him “Mr. Gentry”. A little too old-school Southern for my tastes.

It’s already time for another murder. We see a girl (Linda) with a truly amazing hairdo get ready to iron some clothes at home. She’s not wearing any pants, though. Linda wanders into her sorry little kitchen and there is a big glass bowl with oil heating over a fire. She opens a package and dumps in some freedom fries. (Note to left-wing friends, I call them “freedom fries” in deference to my Belgian pals, who rightfully resent the wrongful ascribing  of “French” to describe this kind of cooked potato.)  She’s using WAY too little oil for that many fries. Furthermore it looks like she’s cooking the whole package at once. What kind of exotic dancer is she anyhow? Isn’t she supposed to survive on cocktails and salads?

While Linda prepares to iron an unattractive housedress, the fries sizzle to ominous music. I can see where this is going, and cringe at the thought. But I’m wrong. The villain walks up behind her, and draws his knife across her neck, leaving a red streak. It’s probably supposed to be a wound. The girl instantly dies, in contrast to the prolonged thrashing we saw with Lola’s throat-slitting. Not much blood is produced, either. The killer then raises the hot iron overhead and, you guessed it, “irons” the girl.

See, I’d thought that he would use the boiling oil to kill the girl. Shows what I know.

Honest to God, this is what HGL gives us for a severed jugular.

HGL then ineptly has the girl lay with her head on one side so we can’t see the burn. Is he being coy, or just a bungler? The killer then pointlessly pulls open the girl’s shirt for a boob shot – pointless, because he then just puts the girls’ head on the ironing board (how would that work, exactly?) and presses the other side of her face. Sometime during the process, her face turns into one of the cheap rubber mockups HGL has been using and my remaining interest wanes.

Oh NOW he does something with her breasts – ew, gross. This is one of the most infamous scenes in exploitation history, because of its tasteless and stupid nature. The girl’s breasts suddenly change into fakes, and the killer lightly brushes a pair of scissors against the tip, at which the nipple immediately squirts milk, which the killer catches in a cup. He then snips the other boob and it squirts chocolate milk. There you have it folks. That is HGL’s idea of a gag. And I must admit the “gag” part is pretty accurate. I can feel my bile rising even as I write this.

Another girl—the black stripper we’d seen I think about a half hour ago—walks in on the killer. Uh-oh. I can tell it’s the same girl even from behind because she still has an Afro as big as all outdoors. She is immediately grabbed and carried over to the sizzling fries, which suddenly are in an entirely differently-shaped glass bowl, and gets dunked in it. Her hands are free, too; we can see one waving.

Now think about the mechanics of this; the girl is struggling and the bowl is barely balanced on the stove. I’m not saying she wouldn’t sustain serious burns, but shouldn’t the damn thing spill at some point?  And I guess we’re supposed to be cheering on the killer, because he just did that “funny” thing with the nipples and the milk. But ecch – face frying is just unpleasant. Amazingly, the girl keeps groaning while her face is immersed in oil. Her arms are now lying limply at her sides (still not pinioned or anything – she is pretty cooperative). Anyway her head turns into rubber and she’s dead I guess. Man I hated writing that last paragraph.

Yet a third girl walks into the room and sees the corpses and starts to scream in a manner reminiscent of a 3rd grader portraying a screaming matron in a school play. Then another, older woman shows up, and then ANOTHER one. It’s like a party!

Well the cops show up (Anvil Chorus music again)  and we see the same hapless police Lieutenant, no doubt still befuddled by the false information given to him by Gentry. The Lieutenant and Gentry “joke” around in an adversarial manner. This is punctuated by the former literally stealing and destroying the cameras of various press photographers, who mysteriously all are trying to take pictures of the cop, while standing in the apartment of two murdered strippers which I admit would be big news.

The lieutenant’s voice suddenly changes – it’s reverberating. HGL’s sound quality is no worse than the rest of the production, though, so I persevere.

When Gentry gets away from the cops, he (Gentry) cottons up to Nancy at last. He gives her an assignment to befriend the leader of the women’s lib group and pretend to be sympathetic. This does sound like he’s sending her to her doom, but then he’s been relentlessly hostile to Nancy from the get-go, so it’s in character.

Meanwhile, Gentry is going to visit the owner of the strip clubs – Mr. Marsdone Mobile (Henny Youngman!). For those of you unfamiliar with Henny’s shtick, he would do stand up with a violin and in between short stretches of music tell lame jokes. His secret was that as the jokes accumulate over time, their effect grows too.  Example “My hotel room has a lovely closet – a nail.” Or “My doctor grabbed me by the wallet and said, ‘cough!’”

Now those may not be knee-slappers to you now, but Henny keeps them coming zing zing zing and enough get through your anti-joke armor that it cracks and you’re laughing hysterically at lame old clunkers that would have only elicited a sneer 5 minutes ago. Anyway, that’s how Henny affects ME.

Where did Spielberg got his idea for the “girl in the pink dress” in Schindler’s List?

But as you can tell from this description, Henny’s style is heavily dependent on random erratic comedy. (“I bet on a great horse at the races yesterday. It took 7 other horses to beat him.”) Given this, he is really not at his best with a long unfunny speech, particularly in a movie as grim as this one.

Henny is having a discussion with his beer-bellied henchmen while Marlene the waitress flits around the background.  When Gentry shows up, Henny immediately sends his henchmen to throw him out. Yay!

Sadly, just by swinging his gay little cane, Gentry knocks over all three bruisers to the sound of chimes. It’s the fakest effect in a movie full of them.

Now Henny blabs all his problems to Gentry, the guy who’s investigating his clubs and who just beat up his employees. Henny is funny just to look at for me, but probably that’s not enough for most of you. His problem is that with four murdered girls, no one will work for him anymore – his other girls are all quitting. Gentry suggests that Marlene strip for him (what a gentleman), but Henny dismisses her as not having enough “chest”. (Note: she is not amazingly flat-chested. Maybe by stripper standards. I’m the wrong guy to ask I guess, since I’m more interested in legs than love melons.)

Anyway poor Henny hopes to fill the gap with an “amateur hour” where he’ll offer a prize to girls to strip in a contest. Marlene drops by to razz Gentry and be razzed in return. Gentry then starts giving business advice to the nightclub owner, Henny, which the latter unbelievably accepts. Basically the idea is to have the big strip contest at his biggest club. Gentry even promises to have Nancy (who is not present) print a feature story about the strip contest. If it wasn’t for the lamebrained script I’d assume Gentry was writing a check he can’t cash, but everything goes his way in this worst of all possible worlds.

Next we see Gentry being accosted by a hefty woman outside what is obviously an apartment door, one bearing a sign saying “The Body Builders”. I guess it’s supposed to be a health club. Maybe it’s a plot point. [Future Sandy – sort of. This is where Gentry later claims he learned all about the killer. It’s a 10 second sequence or less and apparently nothing else Gentry did was of significance in the final denouement. Nice plotting.]

Nancy shows up with a big old placard—“Women Right On!”—which she was apparently handed when she went to the women’s libbers. (They just hand out picket signs to anyone who visits?) After some more painful banter, Nancy says that the women’s lib group really hates strippers, and their leader doesn’t have an alibi. Gentry then tells Nancy to run a story about Henny’s strip clubs. He also asks her on a date, and tells her to wear something “sexy”. She’s practically panting, and clearly very excited about the prospect.

This is the something ”sexy” Nancy puts on. A lonely Michael Jackson glove and a flour sack, cut too short. And why is there a curtain behind them?

The big strip club contest is coming up, and I see that a full 22 minutes of movie are left. I am filled with dread that we are going to sit through 20 minutes of strip-tease “action” followed by the killer’s unmasking. What kind of horror movie is this, anyhow?

Nope I guess I’m wrong because before we get to the striptease, Henny Youngman steps up onstage and gives a bit of his act. I’m not complaining because this is the high point of the show for me, as a Youngman fan. Your mileage may vary. Alas he only tells two jokes, and then a platinum blonde steps onto the stage to do a striptease. Meanwhile Gentry and Nancy get a ringside seat. When Marlene shows up to take their order, Gentry classlessly again orders Nancy her “signature” drink – the Zombie + 4 shots of tequila.

Continuing the hilarity, when Marlene returns with the drinks, she has an entirely different headdress and outfit on. We then see a major continuity error. Remember Grout? The veggie-busting bartender? Well during Henny’s discussion with Gentry earlier, Henny specifically said that Grout had left town and was in hiding. But here he is right now squishing citrus fruits with both fists.

When the strip-tease ends, Henny gets back up for another brief moment of entertainment for Sandy, and then it’s on to the next act. I’ll say this for HGL, he does use actual strippers in his show. So they do the right kind of dance and move smooth. The final girl (a redhead) is identified by Gentry as the sexiest girl ever. The drunken Nancy gets all jealous and says she can dance and move better than the pro on stage.

When I first watched this film I was under the impression that Gentry was trying to discourage Nancy from going on stage. Now I think he is using reverse psychology, hoping to get her onto the stage so that she will become the killer’s target, because he mysteriously knows the killer will choose Nancy as his next victim. But why? Gentry has no evidence that the killer is targeting the “cutest” strippers – so far he’s just been working his way through them one by one. And why would Gentry think that Nancy can do so great on stage, once drunk?

Anyway Nancy jumps up on stage and now SHE does a strip tease. I guess this explains the loose-fitting outfit the director had her wear. Anyway here the show actually goes coy … again. Because we don’t get to see Nancy’s actual nude form, just her flushed drunken face, her shoulders, and legs. I guess I shouldn’t complain – we saw plenty of the other girls’ skin.  It does seem weird in a sleazy exploitation flick like this to hide our star’s charms, but ah well. Maybe she had a birthmark or something.

I want to mention something else – Nancy really looks authentically drunk. Her face and legs are flushed, she has the awkward freewheeling moves of a drunk woman. Either she’s the greatest actress HGL ever hired (which is possible) or he actually got her drunk for this part (which is also possible). In fact, I am now surmising that HGL got her drunk for this scene, and that’s why he didn’t show her unclothed – because her drunken dance moves looked way less sexy than he’d hoped, and of course he would never redo a scene. That would require renting the cheap nightclub for another shoot.

Gentry escorts her home and leaves her besotted upon the couch. For the first time, he actually praises her instead of mocking her. Too little, too late, buddy. Now we see his plan. He abandons her, to leave her as bait. This for a killer whose known modus operandi is to immediately slit his victims’ throats before mutilating them. We see her lay on the couch for a while, then we move to the killer’s POV shot. At least I assume that’s what it is – we haven’t seen a killer POV before in this movie, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.

Well the killer has a different technique this time. He’s carrying a small open bottle from which dry ice fumes issue. I imagine it’s supposed to be acid. This makes Gentry’s plan even more suspect; he’s exposing a drunken girl, without her consent, to have acid thrown in her face, hoping against hope to be able to stop the killer at the last minute.

Maybe this was supposed to be a Polish joke?

Let’s break this down. Gentry has made Nancy into bait. This is possibly defensible – or it would be if she knew about it. He is leaving her lying helpless on a couch. But why does he need to do that?  Think about it. Nancy doesn’t need to be vulnerable at all. Once the killer comes into her house, he has already exposed himself! You don’t need to wait for him to sneak up on the girl, you can just grab him right away when he comes in through a window or door. And why aren’t the cops involved? Surely they could watch the house from outside and grab the guy when he first tries to enter. Why is Gentry so sure he’ll be able to handle the killer alone? Argh, this annoys and angers me.

Of course I’m not even sure I’m supposed to know this is Gentry’s trap for the killer. He never says so after all. I think I’m supposed to be so stupid that I don’t know this is a set-up and so I’m really scared for Nancy. Like I care.

The killer zooms in, and gets ready to put his black-gloved hand on her shoulder (where the hell is Gentry?).  Nancy wakes up at the last minute, screams and starts to thrash. The killer mysteriously sets his acid down on a counter.  Nancy throws a pillow at him, and runs around the couch. The killer finally gets out a knife (I guess the acid was for disfiguring her afterwards) and comes at her. Nancy inexplicably clambers over the couch at this point instead of just running away. Then she trips and falls, just like a girl. She is knocked out and we get to see the killer for the first time.

Lo and behold it is none other than Marlene. Are you shocked, dear reader? The answer should be “no.” There really weren’t many other options. Joseph Carter, the college kid, never even appears on-screen. Neither does Mary the women’s libber. Grout appears briefly, but we never even talk to him. This basically leaves as possibilities only the police Lieutenant (bogus), Henny Youngman (even more bogus), Gentry (I wish), and Marlene. So she it is. Ta daa.

Look at this. The bastard was standing behind the curtain all the time Nancy was being threatened. What was he doing, taking a piss?

Then, literally JUST as Marlene is about to pour the acid on Nancy’s face, Gentry springs into action. And by “springs into action” I mean sits on a chair on the far side of the room and engages the killer in conversation. No really. He apparently expects that hearing his voice, Marlene will stop her murder-in-progress and engage in banter. The mind boggles. She does, though, trapped by the most retarded script HGL ever used.

Even better, she gets mad at Gentry and throws the entire acid bottle at him (with an open, fuming top, remember?). He catches the bottle, not spilling any I guess, and sets it on the table. When he catches it, we hear a sound effect of glass breaking. My disbelief’s suspension is now in pieces on the shop floor.

Marlene grabs her huge knife off the table, where she’d put it right next to where Gentry set down the acid (but left the knife), and Gentry says “I forgot the cheese and crackers so you won’t need that knife.” Stab him, Marlene! Gut the jerk! But does she? No. She lets him knock the knife out of her hand. Man I wish she’d brought a gun.

Now Gentry makes with the psychological profiling. He says that Marsdone (Henny Youngman) was making it with the other strippers (a statement NOT supported in the rest of the movie) but not with poor Marlene so she was jealous. Ewww sex with Henny Youngman EWWWW. That’s the most terrifying mental image in this whole movie.

Anyway these statements are completely out of left field. There is NO indication that Marlene has the hots for Henny (eww I repeat), and in interviews with the strippers, no one of them mentioned any kind of relationship with Henny. Neither did Henny. Then Gentry says, “You mutilated the other girls because they had something you didn’t have anymore.” Hmm, I wonder what it could be. At which point Gentry pulls off … nope you’re wrong. Her wig! Showing that she doesn’t have any hair – just a scarred bald wig. I guess she was a burn victim. He then yanks open her dress – I swear he’s like a rapist– and sure enough serious burn scars all over her torso too.

You jerk HGL. You mimic police and detective stories during much of your film, then you just pull the killer out of your ass at the end. There is really no evidence leading to Marlene, and Gentry’s “explanation” of why it was her isn’t supported by any of the previous movie. This is as much contempt for the audience as in anything else HGL has ever done. Man I hate this guy. This movie doesn’t even have the redeeming goofiness of Wizard of Gore or Blood Feast.

Gentry now breaks the fourth wall, looks straight at the audience, and gloats “Was I right?” He then lets go of Marlene, who is unharmed and unbound. She immediately runs outside. Some detective. He catches a killer in the act and she gets away. But she falls down when she gets outside and a car immediately drives over her head and kills her. I will mention in passing that we can see some of Marlene’s real hair sticking out from under her bald wig which hurts the effect to say the least. The End.

Oh wait, it’s not the end. There are 8 minutes more. Jeeze. In his other films, one of HGL’s few virtues is that he winds things up quick at the big finale. The killer(s) are caught, the main characters hug, and it’s over. But this one keeps dragging on. And on.

This image is a spoiler. I hope you’re not looking at it. Look at the painting instead.

Gentry, looking out the window as the killer makes her escape (which would have been successful except for an amazing coincidence), makes a snide unfunny remark. And turns away. Our so-called hero then picks up Nancy by her hair (!) and smugly pulls back when she tries to hug him. This guy has cornered the market on “smug”. Gentry tells Nancy she’s spending the night at his place, and finally calls the cops. He tells the Lieutenant (whose voice on the phone sounds like chipmunks) that Marlene fell from a second-story window…which I had not realized, thanks to the terrible editing in this film.

At least when Nancy finds out she was used as bait, she gets mad. Gentry then tediously explains at great length that a wrestling lady friend of his told him that Marlene was an ex-wrestler, who became a strip-teaser managed by Marsdone (Henny Youngman). Marlene even got engaged to marry him. But then she was caught in a fire and burned badly. Plastic surgery only saved her face. Marsdone dropped her as a love-interest (the fink) and gave her a job as a barmaid. Gentry then tries to explain why the killer couldn’t have been Grout or the libber, but really it’s just filler. I wish he would stop talking. At last, he does. Nancy jumps him, and Gentry breaks the fourth wall again by talking to the audience, and pulls down a curtain.

This is it – the last movie HGL made for three decades, and one of my least favorite. I happily watch many of his films, getting illicit joy out of his incompetence. But the hero, the script, the many bungled moments in this one leave me cold. Man I hate that Gentry guy to this day. I guess HGL should have kept out of the comedy element as much as possible – because this movie stinks to high heaven, and like I said, it is clearly intended as a funny-mobile. Erk. I have GOT to show this to Ken Begg at the first opportunity.

They should be proud – this is the single most joyful moment in the whole film.


The parallels between this movie and Argento’s giallo Deep Red are surprising. We have a stylishly black-clad villain, a sophisticated hero partnered with a cute journalist, and a final head-busting scene. Except that Deep Red is a terrifically excellent movie, and Gore Gore Girls is a really really bad movie. The thing that blows my mind is that Gore Gore Girls is 1972, and Deep Red is 1975. I really don’t want to think that Argento based anything in his oeuvre on H.G. Lewis, but the possibility has to be put out there.


Seeking proof of God’s existence? Look no further than the fact that Frank Kress, “star” of The Gore Gore Girls, never did any other movie.

Alan Dachman was the screenwriter, and the IMDB says he was a personal friend of Henny Youngman, which is probably how the latter was tricked into making the film. Since we’ve already proved God’s existence, we can now prove His mercy, because Dachman has no other film credits whatsoever.

Amy Farrell (Nancy) was in a few TV shows over the next couple of years, and made it onto Airport ’75 as Amy, a stewardess. The fact that the Airport guys named her character after her real name probably means something. Really she’s not bad, if you make allowances for the execrable script she was given. She is probably the best actress HGL ever used.

Hedda Lubbin, who played Marlene, wasn’t in any other films I can find out, but had a fairly successful stage career and apparently is still around selling jewelry online or something. One wonders how she blundered into HGL’s talons.

Henny Youngman … well, he was Henny Youngman. Reportedly he was ashamed of his appearance in this film. You have to give HGL credit – anyone who can embarrass Henny Youngman has got serious chops! I own a book which is titled “Best, Worst, and Most Unusual” and tries to give the answers to all three subjects in a wide number of categories. For instance, “worst fruit” is Durian, and “best rock album” is Sergeant Pepper (arguable, but certainly a candidate). Anyway, the winner of “best comedian” was Henny Youngman. The winner of “worst comedian” was also Henny Youngman. And the guy they tagged for “most unusual comedian” was, you guessed it, Henny Youngman. Even Henny Youngman fans agree with all three judgments.

  • The Rev.

    Cool, I got mentioned! I am the Rev. Lambaster! Anyway. I really wish I’d gotten your money-saving tip years ago, when I bought this wretched thing.

    As soon as I saw the private dick (emphasis on dick) I thought, “Uh oh.” When it became obvious he was the lead character, I remember begging the movie to prove me wrong, that someone else was going to take over because this guy was an utter asshole. By the end of the movie, even as I felt like scrubbing my skin with steel wool to get the filth off me, I was engulfed in sheer rage that that bastard had not only solved the case and was the hero, but gotten the girl despite his utter douchebaggery.

    The kills involving the playing with the face and eyes…yeah, pretty disturbing. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the killer filling those suddenly-appearing martini glasses with the milk from that woman’s breasts and then apparently toasting another successful murder. I swear I lost my sanity for a moment during that sequence. First I cringed as the killer got those scissors out…then I tried to rationalize the chocolate milk as simply having blood in it, until I could not deny it any longer…and when the toast was made, for a brief moment I was so shocked and confused by what I was watching that I actually found myself praising this movie, like some misguided soul praying to a fallen god who can only bring them suffering. Then that ridiculous face-frying scene happened and I was back to hating the movie.

    I’m glad you realized the killer had fallen out the window, because I was certain she had, and I was horribly tempted to rewatch it and see if I’d been wrong. Now I don’t have to! YAY!!

  • The Rev.

    Whoops! Wasn’t quite done.

    As far as the Cordon Bleu, I have two ideas…

    1. Grand Marnier has a couple of variations such as “Cordon Rouge” and “Cordon Jaune,” so maybe he was ordering this. Since a sleazy strip club probably wouldn’t have anything that fancy, of course the waitress wouldn’t know what it was, which makes him feel smugly superior, because he’s a massive prick.

    2. I believe Cordon Bleu means “blue ribbon,” so maybe he just was ordering a Pabst. However, he ordered it in a language a waitress at a sleazy strip club probably wouldn’t speak, so of course the waitress wouldn’t know what it was, which makes him feel smugly superior, because he’s a massive prick.

    As for anyone wanting to watch this movie: DON’T. From his review, I’m guessing he’d agree with me when I say that there is nothing to be gained from watching this crap except anger, disgust, and misery. Watch 2000 Maniacs! instead.

  • Ericb

    Could it be that the chocolate milk gag was orginally supposed to have happened to the black stripper and that HGL had second thoughts and decided that that was even too distastefull for HIM?

  • HGL is on record as being proud of the chocolate milk gag. He boasts about having one boob shoot regular milk, and the other shoot chocolate. He exults in it.

    And I will say that hateful as this movie is, despite the Rev’s pleas, I am strongly inclined towards showing it to a group to force them to share my misery. So be warned.

  • Hmm, I’ve been reconsidering showing my own nuclear weapon, but if that’s the game we’re playing….

  • Don’t worry Ken. I don’t think I’m going to display it at Tween Fest this year. It’s going to come when you least expect it. DEATH FROM ABOVE!!

  • P Stroud

    Well, thanks for the warning. I won’t watch this having already been defeated by “Wizard of Gore”. Though, compared to HGL’s crap, fare like “Sting of Death” now seem like “Lawrence of Arabia” so I can at least be partially grateful to HGL for showing me the true bottom of the cinematic bell curve. All Hail Lord Jabootu.

    Though, Sandy, I suspect that plenty of ground pounders would take exception to your description of the Vietnam War as a cakewalk.

  • Please quote me in context. A cakewalk in comparison to World War I. And even then it’s only a “cakewalk” in general, not in specific cases. Obviously there were people who had terrible experiences in Vietnam, and people in World War I who didn’t.

    But a war that kills 10 million people in just 4 years (200,000 of them American) has to be rated, in the terrible mathematics of war, more fearsome than a war that killed less than 2 million in 10 years (60,000 of them Amerian).

    My point really wasn’t that Vietnam was easy. My point was that previous, equally terrible conflicts weren’t shown by Hollywood to have produced vast quantities of the crazies, druggies, and derelicts such as we see in post-Vietnam movies about vets. I was trying to give the lie to that portrayal.

  • P Stroud

    Point taken, Sandy. WWI was especially nasty with people being shelled for days and weeks on end. I didn’t mean to come off harsh to you. No question that as conflicts Vietnam was much smaller than WWI or WWII. I was just thinking of those units that spent days and weeks in the Bush. That could be as tough as any combat faced anywhere. Sorry if there was any misunderstanding. I do greatly appreciate your reviews. Maybe facing HGL can be almost as tough as the Cua Viet River…..

  • There is no hell foul enough for HGL, but here is what really sickens me. While most of the movie falls directly into the “They Just Didn’t Care” catagory, HGL pays loving attention to the sickening breast milk gag (and is even proud of it!) That is creepy, Jamie Gumm crap right there.

  • Rock Baker

    All I needed to see was the clip used on the Extra Weird sampler disc from Something Weird Video. It was cruel, and vile, and the kind of thing that makes me worry about my fellow man (really, it had my skin crawling like if I were watching the Zodiac Killer go about his business). Knowing now that all that over-the-top meat tenderizing was supposed to be funny doesn’t change my feelings in the matter one bit. (The only other thing on the disc that really offended me was a clip from Just For The Hell Of It, with a gang of hippies knocking down an old man and poking him with his crutch. Even when ineptly staged, some things are just sick enough to offend.)

    So what about Year of the Yahoo? Will it become part of this series? Or is it excluded for not being part of HGL’s ‘gore’ cannon? I find Year of the Yahoo interesting since it is an HGL flick that has moments of being competent, and a time or two of nearly being pretty good. This is an election year, it might make a good special feature for the site.

  • Ericb

    “But a war that kills 10 million people in just 4 years (200,000 of them American”

    Actually the US lost roughly 100,000 in WW1 and half of those died of influenza (though those 50,000 combat deaths occured ony over a 6 month period). A better way to get to the horror of WW1 is to look at the casualties of indvidual campaigns and battles. In the Meuse Argonne campaing the US lost rougly 26,000 dead in only 6 weeks. On the first day of the Somme the British lose 16,000 dead.

  • The Rev.

    “HGL is on record as being proud of the chocolate milk gag. He boasts about having one boob shoot regular milk, and the other shoot chocolate. He exults in it.”

    I’m torn as to whether to applaud his moxie or just say, “FUCK you HGL.”

    If you showed this at a Fest, I’d be tempted to abandon ship. There’d be the shared misery, and if people could get in comments to keep things fun I could maybe handle it. However, I’m afraid it’d end up like Funky Forest where everyone would be beaten down into silence, and my suffering would only be compounded.

    MAN I hate this movie.

  • My books say USA had 200,000 dead in WW1. I have never heard a number as low as 100,000. I’m sure many of them were disease-related.

    I think Gore-Gore Girls is not as gruesome as Funky Forest or Theodore Rex. There is more to mock, with the horrible protagonist and goofy sequences. I think you are over-sensitized from seeing it alone, Rev. It’s certainly bad though. And the chocolate milk gag is so ridiculous and offensive that the mind boggles.

    One thing I’ll say for GORE GORE GIRLS, it’s never dull. Anger-inducing, maybe.

  • The Rev.

    I suppose it’s possible I might’ve been better served by seeing it in a group, but I went in blind. I knew about Blood Feast and Monster-a-Go-Go but hadn’t seen any of HGL’s movies. I picked it up on a whim since it was the first of his movies I’d seen on DVD, figuring one of his movies was as good a place to start as another. There was no way I was going to be prepared for what I experienced. Still, even with friends, I still would’ve been stuck with a horrible protagonist, disturbing “humor,” mostly ridiculous gore, the milk thing, and no doubt still would’ve had that unclean feeling afterward. I almsot find myself wondering if I should give it another chance and see if my hatred ebbs, but it’s equally likely it’ll only grow.

    You are right, though, it’s not dull. A fetid heap of non-entertainment that leaves you feeling filthy and angry and sorry you ever watched it, yes. Dull, no.

  • Ericb

    I’m a bit of a WW1 buff and have never heard of the 200,000 figure. That’s quite a bit considering the US army was only in active combat for about 6 months and only fought one major offensive as an independent force approaching the saize of the British and French armies and that “only” lasted 6 weeks (the Meuse-Argonne and as I said before it was horrendous but nothing like the bloodlettings at Vedun and the Somme).

  • Ericb

    Sorry for being pendantic but I’m kind of (kind of?) obsessed about this stuff. Here’s some figures:

    They have the US with 126,000 dead with roughly 200,000 wounded for 300,000 plus for total casualties.

  • Jeff B.

    Excellent job Sandy! Been looking forward to this review since I saw your poke to Ken in one of the daily blogs. Thanks for keeping things alive here while Ken continues to enjoy what appears to be his semi-retirement from posting reviews of his own.

    (just joking Ken. . . kind of. I understand how much time it must take to keep up this great site)

  • I guess American WW1 losses were less than I’d thought. I will say that 200,000 deaths in 6 months would not be out of line for WW1, though. In any case even if USA losses were “only” 126,000 that’s still more than double Vietnam and all in just a few months which bodes ill for the intensity of combat.

    In a side note, My grampa fought in the Somme (in the Canadian army). He was machinegunned and laid in a mud puddle for 3 and a half days, at which time a German patrol found him and took him prisoner for the rest of the war, which probably saved his life.

  • Oh yeah and everyone should be prepared to see Gore Gore Girls sometime in their future.

  • Marsden

    Find something redeeming about our “hero” ?

    He’s a mammal.

    I stole that from Night Court, I got nothin’.

  • Ericb

    Re: WW1, The 26,000 in 6 weeks is what gets me (that’s 1/2 of Vietnam in little more than a month). I think that has to be bloodiest 6 weeks in US military history.

    I might make it to next year’s T-Fest. I’ll look forward to The Gore, Gore Girls.

  • Ericb

    ‘Find something redeeming about our “hero” ?

    He’s a mammal.’

    Rats are mammals.

  • I like rats as pets. I owned a pet rat in high school who was awesome, and who watched late night monster movies with me, sitting on my shoulder. When I was first married, we also owned hodded rats and they were wonderful little guys. Smart, agile, affectionate, and able to eat anything under the sun. It was very clear to me that they would be terrifying pests, with all their talents. Anyway I would much rather have a heavy infestation of filthy sewer rats than Abraham Gentry as a houseguest.

  • Sandy actually HAS threatened to inflict GGG on us (me, Frank (who is not a leprechaun), Angela the Cookie Lady, Angela’s freakishly tall boyfriend, and Chris the Lawyer) is we did not come over to his house a few weeks ago. Aghast, I was forced to comply, lest this doom befall me.

    It was a lose-lose situation though, because then I learned of Sandy’s fiendish plans for the next T-Fest. Or was that Tween-Fest?


  • The Rev.

    If he’s planning to inflict it on us sometime, then I’m not going to rewatch it on my own. I’ll give the “in a group” thing a chance and see if it helps at all.

  • Petoht

    “I challenge anyone to watch this movie and find anything worthwhile in our hero.”

    He owns a really sweet ride?

  • I urge the Rev to watch GGG several times in a row in preparation for Tween Fest and Halloween. Perhaps 20-30 times would be even better.

  • Reed

    I actually caught part of this on Netflix; you can stream it to your streaming device of choice. I chose not to watch the entire thing. I join in the chorus of, “Please don’t show this at T (or Tween) Fest.” If you must show it please choose a time where I can go get some food instead. I do not believe that all of us should be collateral damage in the nuclear war between Jabootu’s biggest disciples. This would be perfect to inflict on Ken during the pre-Fest activities!

    Funny that you mentioned Deep Red. I still am not sure what I thought of that movie, except that the one scene with the puppet creeped me out in a way that nothing else ever has. Shudder. Creepy.

  • The Rev.

    “I urge the Rev to watch GGG several times in a row in preparation for Tween Fest and Halloween. Perhaps 20-30 times would be even better.”

    ………………..Did I run over your dog or something? Why do you hate me?

  • Guy Hoyle

    I happened to notice that Netflix has GGG (the Special Edition!) AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD! You could be watching this movie in MERE SECONDS!! What are you WAITING for???

  • Pretty much the underlying text of all of Argento’s movies is that when it’s over, you’re not sure what to think of them. Deep Red is of course no exception. Note that until recently, Deep Red was only available in a horrible pan-and-scan abridged version. Seeing the full film was an eye-opener for me.

  • Toreen

    Cordon Bleu is a Cognac made by Martell

  • BeckoningChasm

    “I challenge anyone to watch this movie and find anything worthwhile in our hero.”

    He’s not actually a set of twins.

  • Okay I’m calling off the hounds. I will not be showing Gore Gore Girls at tween fest. Okay?

    I have only finalized one movie I want to show, but I think no one will object to it. In fact, I’m thinking it might be a sleeper hit along the lines of Accion Mutante in popularity. So Sandy is being merciful. For the other choice, I’m wavering between a really terrible zombie movie which I showed Ken when he visited and a rock-and-roll dance extravaganza.

  • I’m wavering between a really terrible zombie movie which I showed Ken when he visited…

    Well, that narrows it down to about two dozen movies. I’m going back and forth on my choice(s)–depends on whether Chris and/or Freeman will be joining us–but it’s a buffet situation; everything looks good.

  • The Rev.

    Not showing it at Tween-Fest, eh? So next year’s T-Fest is zero hour.

    I’ve yet to convince myself to rewatch it. The fact that I have a near-full DVR and new DVDs picked up dirt cheap are not helping on that front.

    I vote for the zombie movie.

    And Sea Serpent, mostly because it was left hanging on us a while back.