Tuesday Too Scared to Watch It Twice: Week Three

Gather ’round, y’all, for another edition of the Tuesday Too Scared to Watch It Twice.  This week B-Sol and I take on films that are all about penetration–of the flesh, of the soul, and of the eyes.  I take on one of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s more notorious gorefests while B-Sol takes on one of the more rapey exploitation flicks.  What can we say?  Violence against women just isn’t that fun for us.

Me Me Me of This Here Site on The Gore Gore Girls (1972)

I love Herschell Gordon Lewis.  Never in my life have I encountered a director so uninterested in making a quality film.  What can I say?  I love the arrogance required to make his kind of films.  The man has got cajones.

I sat down to take in The Gore Gore Girls as my first HGL film.  That’s right.  I hadn’t seen Blood Feast or The Wizard of Gore or anything else before sitting down to what has rightly been called an “unwatchably offensive” film.

Reading the description of the film (strippers are being hunted and murdered one by one in a grisly fashion) confirmed for me a deep-down belief that this would either be the best film of all time or the worst.  I was getting excited to see this Gore Gore Girls movie.  Unfortunately, it is neither of those things.  Oh, it’s bad.  It’s terrible, in fact.  But it’s not the worst, and as such, it sort of falls into that netherworld of “Meh” that bums me out so much.

Why then, you must ask, am I writing about this for the Tuesday Too Scared to Watch It Twice?  It’s quite simple, really.  This movie is filled with a gleeful hatred and a series of images one can never be prepared to see.  From the first murder, we realize that the French have nothing on bodily mutilation.  Our first stripper’s face is all but obliterated with the most aggressive facial stabbing I have ever seen.  I’m pretty sure Lewis was just chopping up chicken parts.  Another stripper is… how shall I say this?  Tenderized?  And, you know, that’s all well and good, and if the murders from then on were of the average stab-bleed-dead variety, then I likely wouldn’t think anything of it.

But then comes the boob-abuse.  During a particularly brutal scene, our killer decides to cut off the nipples of a woman.  Out of one nipple spills white milk.  Out of the other spills chocolate milk.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

The murders in this film are done with such wanton glee that it’s hard to notice the underlying tone of hatred.  But this film does hate women.  There is no way around it.  To make a joke of not just the sex industry but also the ways in which the female body can be mutilated and destroyed is a dangerous choice and one that Lewis failed in making.

Still, try as I might, I can’t quite dismiss it.  It’s quite a picture.  And as much as I am sure it’s never going to be put in my DVD player again (even though I own it), I am also sure I will always be talking about it.  And that’s worth something, right?  Right?

B-Sol of The Vault of Horror on House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

Make no mistake, this is not a movie for everyone. It took a full five years for it to be released in the U.S. Banned in Singapore, Finland, the U.K., Canada and Norway; denied ratings classification in Australia and also released unrated in America. One of Britain’s notorious “video nasties”. Chock full of rape, torture and sadism.

I cannot deny that this movie enthralled me. I found it distasteful at times, but nevertheless I was fascinated by it, and also cannot deny that it is a fine little piece of filmmaking, for what it is. But there can be no question that it was designed to titillate, and to do so using some very questionable means. More than most of the movies today that get labeled “torture porn”, this is a movie I would certainly classify as such.

The main problem I have with it is in the depiction of rape. This is the kind of story in which the rape victims actually start to “enjoy” themselves and give in willingly to their rapists. In other words, at times it feels like some guy’s warped sexual fantasy, and I found it pretty damn uncomfortable in parts. There’s a certain hypocrisy here–on the surface the film is condemning the callousness of these characters, but truth be told, you’re intended to get off on watching what they do.

It walks a dangerous moral line, that’s for sure. And yet, I’d rather have a horror flick like this which challenges me and makes me uncomfortable than most of the cookie-cutter, soul-numbing drek we get spoonfed these days.

While I’m not sure what it says about me, I admittedly eat stuff like this up. Maybe it’s because it disturbs me–maybe I find it somehow cathartic to deal with material like this in a relatively safe way. It’s the kind of movie that definitely provokes strong emotion.

Stepping back from it, I can certainly see how people would have problems with it. Much of the movie is simply one tense, gut-wrenching rape or near-rape after another. And when you watch a rape scene in which the supposed victim begins to “get into it”, there’s no denying it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And yet, I somehow relish the power the movie has to provoke strong emotion, even if that emotion is disgust.

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~ by acaseofyou12581 on November 9, 2010.

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