*. I’ve already commented on the early gore films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, what became later known as the Blood Trilogy: Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!, and Color Me Blood Red. I’ve said I don’t think much of Lewis’s oeuvre outside of Two Thousand Maniacs! I didn’t want to bother saying anything more about him, but I had a copy of The Gore Gore Girls sitting around so I thought I’d look at it again and see if there was anything to add.
*. There isn’t much. This was basically the end of the line for Lewis, at least until Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat thirty years later. The intention here was to go in two different directions: more gore, and more humour. The two are not mutually exclusive. So, for example, one victim here has her ass pummeled bloody with a meat tenderizer. Another has her nipples cut off so that her breasts spout milk (regular milk from one breast, chocolate milk from another). This last gag is probably what The Gore Gore Girls is best known for today. In other words, it’s the highlight.
*. I get a sense of tired desperation from the proceedings, nicely captured in the final title card “We announce with pride: this movie is over!” It must have seemed like a relief to everyone involved. The gore and the jokes are just thrown up on the screen as though trying to force some kind of reaction. Lewis was played out, and all he could do was turn the dial up. So there’s blood and a bit of goofiness and lots of strippers.
*. The goofiness mainly comes by way of the dapper detective Abraham Gentry, played by Frank Kress. He’s actually kind of amusing, and even breaks down the fourth wall on a few occasions. For a Lewis movie it’s not a bad performance, though I think it’s the only movie Kress appeared in.
*. I guess I should also add that Henny Youngman also puts in an appearance. He isn’t quite as funny. Apparently they shot his stuff in a day and then he disowned any involvement in the project.
*. Then there are the strippers. There are a lot of stripper acts that I’m guessing were just put in to fill out the running time. They are actually quite sad because the fact is it takes a bit of work, and sometimes a lot of work, to make people (men or women) look sexy or glamorous onscreen. You can’t just throw them out there and tell them to shake their booty and take off their clothes and think it’s going to work. It doesn’t.
*. Having said all this, I’d still rate this as one of Lewis’s better movies, though nowhere Two Thousand Maniacs!, which was his only good one. Here there’s a bit of a giallo vibe what with the mysterious killer and their black gloves. The big reveal at the end might also be an homage to Bava’s Black Sunday but they don’t mention that on the DVD commentary and I wouldn’t want to bank on it. If you’re interested in what trash cinema of this period looked like then check this one out, but otherwise it’s skippable.