Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Gore Gore Girls (Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1972)

Finally, a movie with enough horse-sense and common decency to feature an upwardly mobile leggy woman with an affinity for ecru mini-skirts. I mean, when I first saw the ecru mini-skirt appear onscreen, I was like: Hallelujah, my prayers have finally been answered. What's that? You're absolutely right, I do pray for the darndest/lamest things. But then again, I only pray for the things I like, and I like ecru mini-skirts. If that makes me pathetic and sad, so be it. I'm not going sit here and pretend to be someone who doesn't like ecru mini-skirts. At least not on my watch. And the last time I checked, this is my watch. Anyway, for years I've been openly bemoaning the fact there aren't that many movies kicking around out there for us fans of leggy women of the upwardly mobile variety who wear ecru mini-skirts. Complaining to anyone who would listen, I would wander the streets in an ecru mini-skirt-less haze, screaming nonsensical gibberish of an ecru mini-skirt nature at the top of my lungs. Well, I can scream a little less, 'cause, wouldn't you know it, Herschell Gordon Lewis of all people and his giallo-esque The Gore Gore Girls has decided to come along and feed my ravenous hunger for ecru mini-skirts. Of course, I had no idea going in that this semi-putrid slab of low-cost ghastliness was going to be the cinematic nugget to satisfy my desire to see a whip-smart field reporter with toothsome gams help a super-suave ultra-dandy solve a murder mystery while wearing an ecru mini-skirt. In other words, it was a happy accident.

I know, you're thinking to yourself: What the fuck is "ecru"? It's sort of a greyish pale yellow. (Are you sure it isn't yellowish brown?) That's the thing, ecru is a lot different things to a lot of different people.

You think all this talk about ecru mini-skirts is off-putting and creepy, wait until I find out the whip-smart field reporter with the toothsome gams sheaths those very same gams in a pair of tight tan pantyhose, I'm going to lose my motherfucking mind. Oh and guess what? I just found out, like, ten seconds ago.

Since the tan pantyhose scene to end all tan pantyhose scenes occurs near the end of this here motion picture, let's focus on what happens at the beginning first and then work our way towards the tan pantyhose scene, shall we? (That sounds like a plan. But if you fail to focus your attention on the tan pantyhose scene, I'm going to...) Yeah, yeah, you're going to throw the world's worst hissy fit. Keep your panties on, I'll get to it.

Wasting very little time, the film immediately opens with the sight of a go-go dancer named Suzie Cream Puff (Jackie Kroeger) getting her face bashed multiple times against a mirror by a faceless killer wearing black leather gloves. Talk about your gruesome openings. Think about it, I barely had time to adjust to surroundings, when, blamo, a woman in a pink bra is having her face literally rearranged. If things are this gory in the first ten seconds, who knows what kind of sick and twisted shit we're going to see later on.

Reading about Miss Cream Puff's murder in the paper on his flowery cat vomit of a couch, Abraham Gentry (Frank Kress) hears a knock at the door. As he approached the door, the voice in my head kept saying: Please be an attractive novice reporter with shapely legs and long reddish hair, over and again. And wouldn't you know it, an attractive novice reporter with shapely legs (which I'm sure would look great sheathed in tan pantyhose) and long reddish hair is standing in Abe's doorway.

Say hello to Nancy Weston (Amy Farrell), an attractive novice with... (You don't have to mention that part again.) Yeah, I guess I don't. At any rate, after mistaking him for the butler, Nancy offers Abraham Gentry a large sum of money to help her investigate the grisly murders that are currently taking place within the city's flourishing go-go dancer community.

(Hey, I thought you said Nancy's mini-skirt was ecru? The mini-skirt she is wearing in Abe's apartment is clearly taupe or beige.) Which is it, taupe or beige? Um. Just kidding, the ecru mini-skirt makes it first appearance in the next scene.

After making yet another clever remark, Nancy asks Abraham if he's finished being clever, to which he replies, "I'm never done being clever." Pompous as he may sound, he's actually right, Abraham Gentry's cleverness knows no bounds.

Don't believe me, just ask Marlene (Hedda Lubin), the waitress who seems to work at every strip club in town, as she is constantly on the receiving end of Abraham's clever retorts throughout the film.

At first, I was confused by the Marlene character. What I mean is, I thought she was played by different actresses. For example, the waitress who takes Abe's drink order is wearing a purple leotard with a green wig, but the waitress that brings Abe his order is wearing a pink leotard with a blonde wig. Well, I soon discovered that Hedda Lubin played Marlene in every scene. And what she did was, she simply changed leotards and wigs between shots.

(Did she wear tights with her legion of leotards?) Of course she did. What's wrong with you? She's a sophisticated modern woman who wouldn't be caught dead without a thin layer of nylon pressing tightly against her uncomplicated vagina.

It's true, most people will tell you the reason they love The Gore Gore Girls so much is because of the gore, but the snarky back and forth between Abraham Gentry, a never not clever dandy fop who carries a cane, and Marlene, a cynical no-nonsense go-go bar waitress, was definitely my favourite non-mini-skirt/non-tan pantyhose-related thing about this movie.

The utter contempt they have for one another right from the get-go was exquisite. And add the fact that Marlene never appears onscreen in the same leotard or wig does nothing bring an extra level of oft-kilter weirdness to an already weirdly off-kilter set of circumstances.

After obtaining information from a go-go dancer in blue pasties and yellow panties, Abraham sets out to obtain more information. Utilizing a seemingly endless supply of cash, Abraham is quickly making progress. Insisting on tagging along is Nancy, who is waiting for Abe outside the Candy Cane Club.

Anyone care to guess what Nancy is wearing while lounging on top of Abe's white 1966 Corvette? That's right, an ecru-esque mini-skirt.

Even though Herschell Gordon Lewis drops the ball early on when it comes to filming Nancy in her ecru-esque mini-skirt, he more than makes up for it later on, as we see her lengthy legs in all their lengthy glory when Nancy and Abe stumble upon the crime scene of another faceless dead go-go dancer. The way H.G.L.'s camera lingers on a distraught Nancy (it's not everyday that you stumble upon a go-go dancer without a face) as she sits in a leggy manner was much appreciated.

In order to mislead the audience, we're introduced a character/red herring named Grout, a bouncer who works at Tops and Bottoms. Usually seen sitting at the bar, Grout spends most of his time drawing faces on fruit and then smashing them with his fists. If that wasn't enough, we're also introduced to a group of feminists who like to protest (they carry signs that say things like, "Lewd is Crude") the go-go bars owned by Marzdone Mobilie (Henny Youngman). I, for one, I'm not buying for a second that Grout or one of the feminists is responsible for the murders.

When the feminists cause a small riot to break out in Tops and Bottoms, Abe (after dumping a passed out drunk Nancy in a cab) goes home with a go-go dancer named Lola Prize (Nora Alexis). Not to have sex with her, mind you, but to interview her about her dead colleagues. (Are you sure Abe isn't a Friend of Dorothy? I mean, he hasn't tried to nail any of the chicks that have crossed his path so far.) Maybe he's picky. (Picky? Have you seen Nancy? She's a babe.)

Don't worry, I have a feeling Abraham Gentry knows exactly what he's doing. (Are you sure about that? After all, he had no idea the go-go girl killer was in Lola's kitchen.) Oh yeah. Speaking of Lola's kitchen, did anyone think the killer was going smash Lola's firm ass to a bloody pulp with a meat tenderizer? I didn't see that coming. The suspect sticks with the kitchen theme for their next couple of kills, as an iron and a pot of fries are used to gruesome affect. (Don't forget the nipple cutting/chocolate milk scene set to marching band music.) Ugh, that was gross. I mean, marching band music?!?

Culminating with an amateur striptease contest at Marz's Heaven, Abe plans an elaborate ruse to expose the identity of the go-go girl killer. How does he go about this? It's simply, really. Tan pantyhose. (What about 'em?) If you want to a catch a serial killer who is bumping off go-go dancers, just put a leggy gal in tan pantyhose. And who's more leggy than Nancy Weston? (I can't think of anyone. But Nancy isn't a go-go dancer.) Yeah, but you don't have to be a professional go-go to enter the amateur striptease contest (the word "amateur" is in the title).

(Oh, I see where this is going, Abe is using Nancy tan pantyhose adorned legs as bait.) Exactly. Now, I don't want to give away the results of Abe's tan pantyhose sting operation, but let's just say the results are pretty damn sexy.

(Do you want to summarize your thoughts regarding The Gore Gore Girls?) Not really. I think everything I just said pretty much summarizes how this film is close to perfect in terms of content. It's the sexiest, goriest episode of Law and Order ever.


  1. Ecru, huh? I learned a new word today. :) I color-code my closet quite regularly (yes, weird, I know), but I don't think I have any ecru clothes. Husband might have some cycling t-shirts since he has them in every shade of the freaking rainbow.

    Have you seen Rob Ford around? :D

    1. Spreading the word about ecru since 2014. :D

      They make shirts specifically for cycling?!? And here I am wearing a faded Laibach t-shirt like some chump. ;)

      Last I heard, he was spotted at a laundromat in Gravenhurst.

  2. I was puzzled, and disappointed, that we the viewers were denied the sight of Nancy performing during the amateur contest. After showing so much gore, why the belated modesty?