The Gruesome Twosome (1967)

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The Gruesome Twosome: Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. With Elizabeth Davis, Gretchen Wells, Chris Martell, Rodney Bedell. A demented elderly woman has her mentally-retarded son kill and scalp various young women to use their hair for her wig shop while a persistent coed tries to link various killings on a local Florida college campus to them.

“u0026quot;The Gruesome Twosomeu0026quot; has a simple plot. Old Mrs Pringle (Elizabeth Davies) lives in a lovely little house just outside a Miami University Campus and runs a high quality wig shop from within it. Her son, Rodney (Chris Martell), whou0026#39;s a little simple in the head, helps her out. His speciality is procuring the real human hair that goes into making these wonderful wigs. Unfortunately for the local students, this involves the brutal killing and scalping of every beautiful young girl who is lured into the house under the pretense of finding a room to rent. But hey, donu0026#39;t blame Rodney, itu0026#39;s not his fault – heu0026#39;s a child trapped in a manu0026#39;s body and his domineering Mother dearest (accompanied at all times by her stuffed bobcat, Napoleon) continually threatens him with the prospect of being sent to u0026quot;the place where bad boys gou0026quot; if he doesnu0026#39;t carry out her murderous desires.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSounds from that like it could be one of a million naff exploitation movies churned out by the late 60u0026#39;s but this one has the distinction of being directed by the undisputed king of the genre, Herschell Gordon Lewis. As a result the film is loaded with the same kind of screwball, absurdist humour as found in his u0026quot;She Devils On Wheelsu0026quot; opus (shot virtually back to back with thisu0026#39;un), mixed in with the trademarked ultraviolence of his earlier splatterfests. Hilariously, as revealed in the commentary on the recent DVD release of this, much of the humour was derived unintentionally from the fact that they shot far too little footage on the set and were forced to pad out the 75 minute running time with lingering scenes of very bizarre activity that was never in the original script. For example, the film opens with a camp 7 minute conversation between two wig blocks painted to look like garish pink Mr Potato Heads. We also have an outlandish, almost dadaist u0026quot;film within a filmu0026quot; sequence at the Drive-In in which a young female tries to seduce a gluttonous Ray Sagar (u0026quot;The Wizard Of Goreu0026quot;) who is more concerned with squashing peaches and stuffing his face with potato chips than he is with her wily charms. However, even discounting the unintentional comedy resulting from the timing mix-ups, Lewis still manages to cram in plenty of deliberate gags from his cast of kooky, colourful characters. We have a quirky heroine, Cathy Baker (played by the delicious model/actress Gretchen Welles), who is an overzealous and fairly inept Nancy Drew type attending the local university and is forever trying and failing to solve mini-mysteries, such as the whereabouts of her friendu0026#39;s pet parrot (she believes they ate it the previous day in a pot pie!). We have a creepy caretaker on campus who happens to be a bone smuggler (!) when he leaves work. We have extended scenes of pseudo-go-go dancing from the female students (including one where they all bop around waving legs of Kentucky Fried Chicken, as part of a product placement agreement Lewis scored with the fast food chain who, in turn, fed the entire cast and crew!). To cap it all off, weu0026#39;re even treated to a bikini beach party scene *AND* a stock car demolition derby! Anyone seeking prime 60u0026#39;s trash will be in Heaven here!u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBut itu0026#39;s not all fruitcake comedy. Gorefiends will delight in the extended sequences of scalpings, decapitations, disembowellings and eyeball gougings, shot in squishy, sickening close-up and rich with Lewisu0026#39; beloved u0026quot;red glopu0026quot;. Itu0026#39;s strange that even over 30 years on from the Godfather Of Goreu0026#39;s heyday, no one has, in my mind, been able to out-gross him on the slippery viscera scale. The violence in u0026quot;The Gruesome Twosomeu0026quot; is as stomach-wrenching today as it was in 1967.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhilst not as seminal as u0026quot;Blood Feastu0026quot;, as shocking as u0026quot;2000 Maniacsu0026quot; nor as trashy as u0026quot;She Devils On Wheelsu0026quot;, u0026quot;The Gruesome Twosomeu0026quot; is nonetheless probably Lewisu0026#39; weirdest finished product and, as a result, an essential part of his oeuvre. Itu0026#39;s obvious from the DVD commentary that he still views the film with great affection and you should too. Itu0026#39;s a gem.”


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