The Gruesome Twosome is somewhat of an unsung classic in goremeister H.G. Lewis’ career. I mean everyone knows Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs and The Wizard of Gore, but nobody really bandies around The Gruesome Twosome when talking about Lewis’ films. I hope to in some way remedy that with this review.
For starters, this film is the only film on record that begins with two mannequin heads talking to each other in Southern accents. And they talk for FIVE MINUTES straight, people! Are you feeling the love I got for this movie yet?
The plot has a little old spinster named Mrs. Pringle (Elizabeth Davis) who runs a wig shop out of her home and lives with her mentally deranged son Rodney (Chris Martell) and their stuffed leopard Napoleon. Mrs. Pringle has a room for rent and whenever a young co-ed comes to take a look at the room, Rodney scalps them. The old biddy then sells the scalps as wigs to her unsuspecting customers.
Okay, I admit there are long stretches of this movie in which NOTHING happens. I will admit that the heroine of the film totally overdosed on Nancy Drew pills while trying to figure out why all those college girls were disappearing. I’ll even give you that this flick features some of the worst editing in the history of the medium.
That being said, The Gruesome Twosome simply has some of the best moments ever captured on film, so to me it’s totally worth it.
Let’s talk gore. While no means is The Gruesome Twosome in the same league as Blood Feast when it comes to the red stuff, it still has enough scalpings, decapitations and gut ripping to be loads of fun.
The acting by the two leads is also pretty stellar. Martell is nothing short of amazing as the crazy as an outhouse rat Rodney. Looking at him in this film, you’ll swear he really IS retarded, and his performance is ten times better than Leonardo DiCaprio in that Gilbert Grape movie.
Yeah, yeah, yeah so what if the movie features long pointless scenes of people walking aimlessly around, I don’t care. This movie features one of the greatest scenes of all time. Of course, I’m talking about the inexplicable scene where a bunch of co-eds sitting around in their nighties start go-go dancing for no apparent reason while chowing down on Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Look, it’s pretty hard to defend The Gruesome Twosome in any way, shape or form. I admit it’s not a perfect movie. I admit that the 72 minute running time sometimes seems more like 720. I admit that you might have to be under the influence of a controlled substance to fully enjoy this movie, but dammit I do love me some Gruesome Twosome.
Let me put it to you this way: Mannequin heads talking incessantly for five minutes about God knows what? CLASSIC! The scene where Rodney has to rip open a girl’s stomach in order to get Napoleon’s fresh liver dinner? CLASSIC! Crazy old women talking to stuffed leopards? CLASSIC! Random ass go-go dancing complete with gratuitous KFC product placement? CLASSIC!
The Gruesome Twosome is still Number 7 on The Video Vacuum Top Ten for the great year of 1967, just above Point Blank and resting below Zatoichi Challenged.
Suggested Drinking Game: If you take a shot every time Mrs. Pringle talks to her stuffed leopard Napoleon; say hello to Charles Bukowski for me once you reach the great saloon in the sky.