Plot: What’s it about?
Mrs. Pringle (Elizabeth Davis) runs a special wig shop and she always has the best wares in town. Her wigs aren’t made from just anything, she uses real human hair and that makes her materials a step above the others. But even when her supply of real hair runs low, she always manages to somehow come across more than enough to keep her in business. How? Well, she rents a room inside her home to young, female college students in exchange for their hair. Now this seems like a nice trade off, but no one ever stays very long. Once the women move in, Mrs. Pringle sends her slow witted son (Chris Martell) to fetch their hair and he uses a most painful method, he scalps them. So that gives the old woman the stock she needs to make some more product and no one is the wiser, at least not yet. But the whole plan is in trouble when a friend of the girls (Gretchen Wells) shows up looking for a reason her friend is gone. Getting those answers is one thing, but can she escape with that information before she loses her own scalp in the process?
When it comes to low budget horror and exploitation flicks, Herschell Gordon Lewis is one of the power players. His resume is loaded with classics of the genres and must haves for fans of blood and breasts. As influential and fun as his movies are, fans have had to settle for below average home video versions, if they could find them at all. But now, thanks to Something Weird Video and Image Entertainment, fans can view these classics in full splendor, as well as enjoy some terrific bonus features. This film, The Gruesome Twosome combines the elements of blood laced gore and black comedy, with terrific results. We go from one episode of violence to another, with a time in between to squeeze in some laughs and prepare ourselves for the next act of brutality. There’s blood and gore, but you don’t take it seriously because of the wacky characters and situations in between the killings. Plus, Mrs. Pringle is just such a sweet old lady, how could you be mad at her for long? As usual, Something Weird has issued a top notch disc and as such, I can give this release a high recommendation to fans of the genre, and of course H.G. Lewis followers.
This film was directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, who is counted among the masters of gore and exploitation cinema. Despite low budgets and other obstacles, Lewis and his crews always delivered the goods and pushed out movies his fans devour, even to this day. Lewis’ films might not be for everyone, but if you like blood, breasts, and all the other exploitation staples, Lewis always comes through. This film features much of the blood we expect, but never in a grisly sense because Lewis uses recovery time between attacks to lessen the impact. We might be laughing mere moments after someone gets killed, so it’s never too dark or somber. Lewis knows how to work his audiences and this film is a testament to that skill If you want to see more Lewis masterpieces I recommend Blood Feast, The Gore-Gore Girls, She-Devils On Wheels, The Wizard Of Gore, A Taste Of Blood, Color Me Blood Red, and Two Thousand Maniacs. The actors in this film all turn in acceptable performances, though Elizabeth Davis and Chris Martell steal most of the spotlight. Davis (Hype!, Pretty Smart) is a hoot in her role, while Martell (Flesh Feast) seems like a perfect fit for his. The cast also includes Rodney Bedell (She-Devils On Wheels), Ronnie Cass, and Gretchen Wells.
Video: How does it look?
The Gruesome Twosome is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the original aspect ratio of the film. As with most older, lower budget pictures this one is never going to look perfect, but this transfer delivers an image that’s about as good as it gets. Some flaws still emerge such as print grain and debris, but this is the best you can hope for unless a full restoration is executed. The colors still look bright, with only minimal fading and flesh tones seem normal and sharp also. I found no contrast issues either, detail is always high and shadow layering is in fine order. Some small moire patterns arise, but no other compression hiccups at all.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses the original mono track and the years have taken some toll on it, but it still comes through in the end. There are minor traces of harshness to be heard and some distortion on the music at times, but this hardly detracts from the movie so I won’t knock too much off the score. The sound effects ring true at all times, with a loud and effective delivery in this mix. If you’re supposed to hear something, this mix will make sure you do and in the way you’re supposed to. The dialogue is as smooth as silk also, no volume or clarity problems to deal with at all.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A nice selection of bonus materials is included and I am always pleased to find an audio commentary on deck. This track features a couple folks from Something Weird Video along with producer/director Herschell Gordon Lewis, who always makes for an informative listen. Lewis discusses product placement, his busy schedule the year this picture was made, and even the boom in electric carving knives, among other things. If you’re a fan of Lewis’ efforts, then you have to listen to his commentaries, as they are loaded with anecdotes and inside information. A bonus short film has also made this disc, titled Wigs-O-Rama and it is an unusual, but welcome piece. The usual theatrical trailer and gallery of promotional artwork round out this impressive disc.