The Pinnacle of Lewis' Career9/10
A series of murders haunts the local strip club scene. A newspaper decides to hire the legendary Abraham Gentry (Frank Kress) to track down the killer, since the police seem obviously inept at the task. Using his advance payment at local strip clubs and interviewing the dancers (with such names as Candy Cane), Gentry begins to compile a list of suspects, including an ex-Vietnam vet who loves to crush produce. But, who is the killer?
"The Gore Gore Girls" is Herschell Gordon Lewis' best film. While not his "masterpiece" and not a film he will go down in history for, this one (his last film until "Blood Feast 2" thirty years later) really pushes the exploitation genre to a peak. Crushed brains, eyeballs pulled out, lots of stripping and the enjoyable Frank Kress. Say what you will about Montag the Magnificent or Mayor Buckman or Fuad Ramses (all great Lewis characters). Abraham Gentry is just so suave and cocky, he could have appeared in sequel after sequel and I would devour them like flamingos with shrimp. But, shockingly, this was Frank Kress' first and last film. Where did he come from? Where did he go? Was he not interested in working after Lewis retired? We are all losers for his absence.
What has made this film controversial for many people is not, believe it or not, the excessive gore, but a perceived misogyny inherent in the movie. Quite honestly, I did not see it. Sure, Gentry is not particularly kind to women. And yes, the film flatly exploits women (taking place in a strip club, for the most part). But it also has a women's liberation movement subplot (shown in what I would call a neutral light), and there is really nothing here that cannot be seen in any other horror or exploitation film. Nude women in the late 1960s and early 70s? And you are shocked by this?
Less controversial, but far more memorable, is the gore. While perhaps not memorable to many people in the mainstream, one scene here will stand out for those familiar with the work of Herschell Gordon Lewis. Lewis had previously offered grisly torture in "The Wizard of Gore" and some great death traps in "Two Thousand Maniacs!" (the barrel roll, anyone?). But in "The Gore Gore Girls" he pushes the splatter to eleven on the blood and guts scale. Which scene am I referencing? The french-fried face? The iron? The scissors on the milk-squirting nipples? No. In one scene, a stripper is actually murdered by having her buttocks tenderized into hamburger with a mallet. No stabbing, no bone-crushing, no poison. Just excessive paddling. And for good measure, be sure to recall that the killer added a little bit of seasoning to the carnal creation.
Add all this to the fact the film co-stars Lewis' most charming and attractive actress yet (Amy Farrell as reporter Nancy Weston) and we have a winner of a film. By far my favorite Lewis film, which is saying a lot as he is quickly become one of my favorite directors. Thank you Something Weird Video for providing us with such great cult films. And a special thank you to Andrew Borntreger, for pointing out to me that the bottle of acid in the film is "made in Poland"... I am not really sure what to make of that, but it seems all too proper in a flick like this.
The commentary track is also quite informative, as Lewis will point out Ray Sager (he is easy to miss), talk about Henny Youngman's denial of being in the film, and explain why he disappeared from movies for thirty years. Believe it or not, at one point his films were considered lost and not worth finding, so he went into advertising. I have met Herschell twice now, and never tire of his stories... give them a listen.