MTV’s Gore Girls take on director Herschell Gordon Lewis’s “The Gore Gore Girls”…
Terri: In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am the horror-virgin and sissy half of the Gore Girls, and that blood and guts really freak me out. And so, I’m not entirely certain how to feel about “The Gore Gore Girls,” Herschell Gordon Lewis’s bloodbath of a film.
I think I’m mostly concerned about what this film was aiming to be. I thought I was going to be watching a horror movie, but right from the start “Gore Gore Girls” felt like a satire on the gore genre. The cheesy music, the blatant misogyny, the terrible dialogue: was this supposed to be a joke? It wasn’t until the gore kicked up — cheesy, yes, but I had to close my eyes or stop the film for each of the four big gross-out scenes — that it seemed like I was maybe watching something to do with horror.
Jenni: After watching “The Gore Gore Girls” with very little knowledge about the genre beforehand, except that it’s supposed to be boobies and blood (i.e. typical grindhouse fare), I came to the same conclusions as you, Terri.
After watching the movie, I read up on Herschell Gordon Lewis a bit. My fellow Texan Joe Bob Briggs, contributed an essay to the book “Profoundly Disturbing: The Shocking Movies that Changed History” on Lewis’s first film, “Blood Feast,” and it is excellent. He discusses the history of the movies that Lewis and producer David F. Friedman put together, as well as the weird cult popularity those movies enjoyed in the ’80s and beyond.
“As low culture became high camp, ’Blood Feast’ was loved because it was despised,” Briggs wrote.
I appreciate that sentiment, but that doesn’t mean the movie isn’t boring, with its half-hearted topless dancers and way too much badly written dialogue dividing up the stomach-turning scenes of horror. Yeah, I looked through my fingers, I admit it. But if I’m signing up to watch “The Gore Gore Girls,” I want less cheesy pimp-stick private dick and more gore and girls.
Terri: The problem is, by the end of the film “Gore Gore Girls” just felt like an episode of “Scooby-Doo,” with the added bonus(?) of nipples being snipped off and faces being boiled with pasta. Maybe it’s my lack of familiarity with 1970s horror flicks, but is this really what they’re all like? I didn’t once feel that Lewis was taking the film seriously, emphasized by on screen text in the final moments declaring, “We announce with pride: this movie is over!” Is this what is considered classic gore-filled horror?
Jenni: The thing is, “Gore Gore” isn’t really classic. It’s grindhouse. And even though folks like Tarantino and others hold the sub-genre up to be this sort of pop culture holy grail, it’s okay to think it’s dumb. These movies were made on the cheap with little care for dialogue, acting, or plot. It’s okay to want those things in a horror movie. A good horror movie.
I haven’t seen “The Wizard of Gore,” Lewis’s film referenced by Jason Bateman’s character in “Juno,” but I’m on Juno’s side — Dario Argento is a master. The only thing that he and Lewis have in common are a love for ocular trauma.
Terri: “The Gore Gore Girls” fits the bill as a grindhouse film, I guess. Its not a film where you can walk into it and sit down and everyone can find some small part they enjoy and relate to. It’s a movie that was made solely to offend and, as Biggs said, to be “loved because it was despised.” But that knowledge doesn’t make the act of watching it any more enjoyable in my eyes, just easier to understand.
I guess from my perspective the only positive that did come out of watching Gore Gore Girls was a better context to understand films that have come after it. It’s hard to judge newer horror and gore films without knowing what inspired them. And it makes Uma Thurman popping out Daryl Hannah’s eyeball in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” so much easier to watch.