Splatter-movie titan Herschell Gordon Lewis’ final flick before a 30-year directing hiatus, The Gore Gore Girls is pure cinematic sludge, leavened only by a lowbrow sense of humor—although the jokes don’t actually justify watching the movie. In the opening scene, a mysterious maniac attacks a stripper in her home, kills her, and then mutilates her corpse. As Lewis’ camera lingers to savor every detail, the murderer decapitates the woman, carves off her face, and pummels the bones and muscles of her skull into a pulp decorated by one intact eye. Since Lewis’ camerawork is as clumsily amateurish as his team’s makeup effects, this scene isn’t so much horrifying as unpleasant; there’s no illusion of reality, of course, but it’s hard to stomach the idea that Lewis thought such atrocities should be filmed. Once the story proper gets underway, attractive reporter Nancy Weston (Amy Farrell) hires aristocratic private investigator Abraham Gentry (Frank Kress) to search out the identity of the killer. Gentry plunges into the world of low-rent strip clubs (all the victims are exotic dancers), so Lewis gets to complement scenes of bloodletting with grungy vignettes of strippers plying their trade. Inexplicably, comedy legend Henny Youngman shows up as a strip-club proprietor, so Youngman delivers crude jokes like this one: “We just got the news that Tom Jones crossed his legs quickly—he’s in critical condition!” (Jokes about Jones’ reputedly impressive manhood were already growing mold by the time The Gore Gore Girls was filmed.) It’s hard to know whom The Gore Gore Girls was meant to please, since the comedy scenes undercut suspense and the murder scenes are so absurdly extreme the movie was originally rated X. However, one hopes Lewis was aiming for irreverence with touches like the title card that appears after the final scene: “We announce with pride—this movie is over!” Would that it had never begun.
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