The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
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DOCTOR GORE (1973) **

Herschell Gordon Lewis introduces (and unofficially produced) this maddeningly uneven gore flick.  Lewis warns us upfront that we probably won’t like it, but if you’re an indiscriminate gore fan, you’ll probably want to check it out.  It’s no Frankenhooker, but it’ll do I guess. 

 

Writer/director/producer/make-up effects man Pat Patterson (billed as “America’s No. 1 magician”) stars as a chain smoking doctor who is grieving over the loss of his beloved wife.  He deals with his grief the only way he knows how:  by hypnotizing a bunch of women, cutting off their choice parts, and sewing them all together to make his “perfect mate”.  He gets the torso from a beach bunny, the hands from a girl in a nightclub, and the eyes and arms from a secretary.  (Where he gets the legs and feet from is a mystery.)  Assisting him is his red-headed mute hunchback named Greg who he bribes by promising to fix his unsightly hump.  Greg mostly is there to throw the spare body parts in the convenient acid bath and when the doctor’s new “bride” gets the hots for the deformed dumb ass, guess where old Greg ends up?  In the end, Mrs. Gore runs away to have sex with truckers while the good doctor gets thrown in jail. 

 

In his introduction, Lewis informs us that literally Patterson was a one man crew, and boy does it show.  The production values are positively awful and the “high tech” lab equipment includes aluminum foil and duct tape.  (I’m not kidding.) 

 

Things are even more erratic behind the camera.  The editing is atrocious.  Seriously, there is a scene in this movie when the doctor opens the door to a sheriff who was clearly in another state (or more likely in another movie) and Patterson actually tries to pass it off as a “scene”.  There are also whole sections of the film that were recorded silent and features Patterson doing narration of what the characters would’ve been talking about over the footage.  But the worst mistake happens near the end of the film in a jail cell where the film slate is clearly in the frame for a good five seconds before the scene even starts! 

 

Incredible. 

 

And don’t even get me started on the annoying non-stop country music. 

 

With all the incompetence, you’d think Doctor Gore would be a complete waste of time, but it certainly has it’s moments.

 

Patterson is pretty bad in the lead role, but gives the character enough odd quirks (like picking his fingernails with a scalpel) to make it worthwhile.  The gore is top notch and there’s plenty of it to go around.  Limbs get hacked off, eyeballs get plucked out and the hydrochloric acid flies fast and free.  For all of his clumsiness behind the camera, Patterson manages to pull off at least one incredible shot when we see the point of view of an organ as Patterson slowly slices through the flesh.  Had Patterson put as much panache into making the rest of the movie, there’s no telling how great Doctor Gore could’ve been.  

 

I also liked how Patterson resisted giving the hunchback a stereotypical hunchback name like Igor or something equally derogative, and chose to simply name him “Greg”.  It’s little moments of dignity like that that separates Doctor Gore from the rest of the pack. 

 

Lewis says that Patterson died shortly after making the movie (he only directed one other movie, the abysmal The Electric Chair) which isn’t surprising given the fact that he’s constantly lighting up a cigarette in nearly every scene. 

 

Future director William (The Manitou) Girdler was part of the sound crew and was responsible for the idiotic music. 

 

AKA:  The Body Shop.  AKA:  Shrieks in the Night. 

Tags: d, horror
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