THE GRUESOME TWOSOME (1967)
Article #201 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 10-3-2001
Posting date: 2-16-2002
A mad woman who runs a toupee shop has her idiot son scalp women for their hair.
Could there be a more inauspicious way to start this next run of one hundred movies? When I first conceived of this movie-watching project, I almost set a limit to include only movies from 1962 backwards. Why 1962, you may ask? It’s because I could have then avoided having to cover Herschell Gordon Lewis and the rise of gore, a development that went a long ways towards taking the fun out of horror and turning these movies into dare games. Nonetheless, there is a lot of great horror after this year, so I didn’t set that limit. Unfortunately, HGL popped up all too quickly on my viewing list, and I found myself having to watch this.
The problem with the use of gore in this movie is that he dwells on the scenes for so long that you not only figure out how the effect was done, but whatever initial shock you may have had dissipates into a sort of tedious boredom long before he cuts away. Another thing I noticed was how bad the sound was throughout this movie, even on DVD; he must have been using the cheapest equipment available. Actually, I found myself less embarrassed by the gore than by some of the other scenes; there is a long sequence here where a college girl tails a janitor carrying a package which is one of the most amateurish things I’ve ever seen committed to celluloid. There’s also a scene in a drive-in where he demonstrates that he doesn’t even know how to show people watching a movie on a screen; he just cuts back and forth between the character and what they’re watching (a pointless film with lots of eating) without any indication that what they’re seeing is on a movie screen.
Some people may admire this movie for its comedy; they might even think the opening scene with two talking dummy heads (put into the movie for no other reason than to add running time) is brilliant cinema. But for comedy to be effective, it has to be funny; it certainly doesn’t tickle my funny bone as much as appal me. It’s obvious that all Lewis really wants is to gross me out, and I have no use for this kind of movie.
Well, let’s see. With this movie, I’ve now covered at one time or another Herschell Gordon Lewis, Phil Tucker, Edward D. Wood, Jr., Larry Buchanan, and Al Adamson. Can Andy Milligan be far behind? Sometimes it’s best not to look too far into the future.