Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Don Brandon (J.G. Patterson, Jr.) is a gifted plastic surgeon, but he also has an interest in darker kinds of experiments. So when his gorgeous wife is taken from him in a tragic accident, he is crushed, but decides to put his grief into his work. He seeks to have a new female companion, but not only must she equal his last lover, but in short, she must be flawless and live up to all of Brandon’s expectations. Instead of hitting the singles bars and cruising for such a woman, Brandon opts to find true love in an unusual fashion. His assistant Greg (Roy Mehaffey), who is hunchbacked and behaves in odd ways, brings back the corpse of a beautiful woman and of course, Brandon seeks to bring the woman back from the realm of the dead. Even though he covers her in tin foil and performs a bizarre experiment, his efforts fail and as such, he turns his attentions toward a second plan of action. Now he wishes to collect the perfect parts from deceased women, put those pieces together to create the perfect woman, and then reanimate the corpse, giving him his love slave and ideal companion. But when his experiment works and he is able to bring “Anitra” (Jenny Driggers) to life, he might be in for some serious surprises…
The title makes this sound like some sadistic quack is on the loose, carving up bodies for fun, but in this case, Doctor Gore is more concerned with sex, as opposed to cold blooded murder and dismemberment. But this is a story about creating a perfect woman from assorted parts, so bloodshed is involved, though it isn’t that gruesome. If you’ve seen the Herschell Gordon Lewis gore pictures, then you know about what to expect here, though the bloodshed has been toned down from those to an extent. The dismemberment scenes are graphic and provide ample gore, but on the whole, Doctor Gore isn’t as blood laden as its title suggests. Once you’re past the well crafted gore however, this movie runs out of gas and proves to be just another low rent schlock picture, and not even one that supplies frequent unintentional laughs. The budget was miniscule to begin with, but I guess it was all blown on the special gore effects, as the cast is miserable and the production values sink below even normal B movie standards. The premise has some potential, but without a decent cast and some sizable writing changes, Doctor Gore is unable to fulfill that potential. I do think fans of low rent gore movies will be of interest, but outside of them, its hard to recommend. But Something Weird has drummed up a knockout treatment here, so if you are interested, this disc packs enough value to make it worthwhile.
Video: How does it look?
Doctor Gore is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an open matte edition. I would love to see proper anamorphic widescreen editions of Something Weird’s releases, but given the low profile and low selling potential of most of their properties, its understandable that we’re given these basic editions. I mean, even the cult horror titles released by companies like Synapse and Anchor Bay has broad selling potential, but Something Weird deals in highly obscure, hard to market pictures. The image is sharp and clean, without much in the way of print defects, though some minor flaws do surface at times. The colors are bright and haven’t faded much, while contrast remains smooth and well balanced also. I can’t see much room for complaints here, as this looks much better than I had expected.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release uses the original mono track and while this isn’t a room shaking mix, it handles the film’s audio needs very well. This type of material doesn’t call for much in terms of dynamic sound, so the mono format is more than adequate in all respects. The dialogue is crisp, with no harshness or separation issues in the least. The sound effects have no problems either, as they come across in distinct and clear fashion. I found very little distortion present and the usual mono hiss is thankfully absent.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The waiting room is loaded with special features here, starting off with an audio commentary track from Jeffrey C. Hogue from Majestic International Pictures and film historian Cynthia Starr-Soroka. This session runs like an interview more than a traditional commentary, as Hogue recalls his life & times in the movie business. He tells some interesting stories and gives some solid insight on low rent filmmaking, making the track more than worth a listen. Then we have two bonus short films, Quest of the Perfect Woman- The Vampire of Merrakesh and Maniac Hospital. As usual, these bonus shorts are fun to watch and add some solid content to the release. An alternate title sequence can also be seen, which comes complete with audio comments from Herschell Gordon Lewis. The usual artwork gallery and assortment of trailers for other wild movies is also found here, though no trailer for Doctor Gore is included. The coolest extra however, has to be the bonus feature film How to Make a Doll, which was directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis himself. I was a little let down because of a burned in logo that’s present, but it is very light and worth the tradeoff for such a fun, offbeat picture.