December 23, 2007

Doctor Gore: The Holy Grail of 70's Horror Movie Badness

As a Horror Hound, I consider it a personal quest to find the Holy Grail. That is, I'm always on the lookout for horror movies that are not only "so bad, they're good," but that are "so bad, they're iconic." Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great jubilation that I report to you today that I have found it. I have been to the top of the mountain and I have returned with the perfect storm of bad 1970's horror films. I feel like a cheese-encrusted Moses; the tablets I bear are not of stone but of digitized video, and the words inscribed upon them are but two:

Doctor Gore

Originally released as The Body Shop in 1973, and now brought down from whatever befuddled heaven it is in which terrible and terribly funny low-budget horror flicks reside by Something Weird Video, this is the perfectly bad movie with which I have fallen in love for all the wrong reasons.

From the moment the opening credits began rolling and the theme song — a rip-off of the refrain from "My Favorite Things" minus one note — began to play, I knew that I was watching something very special. I was not disappointed by the second scene in which Dr. Brandon, the mad plastic surgeon, and his hunchback assistant Greg (yes, Greg the hunchback) laid out the body of a woman on an operating table that looked like a cheap workbench and then covered her with a large, wrinkled sheet of aluminum foil. Then, of course, they hooked up some clamps to the foil and threw some switches on some machines that clearly came from a high school shop class... and I thought for a moment, as the body twitched, that this was the most complicated way mankind has ever devised of popping Jiffy Pop.

You see, Dr. Brandon's wife had just died in a car accident and now he was going to build himself a new mate. Being that Dr. Brandon sported the worst combover in history and numerous facial warts of some kind, the dating scene was right out of the question for him. Luckily, he had mysterious hypnotic eyes (don't all mad plastic surgeons with combovers have hypnotic powers?) that allowed him to instantly seduce any woman he looked at, so long as high-pitched, screechy music was playing at that moment, of course. The Horrible Dr. Brandon and his even more horrible combover.Yes, before long, Dr. Brandon and Greg had assembled a collection of body parts and stitched them together into a knockout blond stripperish brid played by Jenny Driggers (who never appeared in anything else, probably because she couldn't act). Ah, but Anitra, the creature that Dr. Brandon made, soon comes between him and Greg the Hunchback, and everything soon goes downhill. Before long, we find Dr. Brandon in jail (though we never find out anything about how he got caught), Greg dead, and Anitra running off with some random guy in a van who has picked her up as she strolls down an empty road dressed in nothing but a bikini.

Along the way, we get some of the worst dialog ever recorded. For example, Dr. Brandon explains how femininity is all in the hands. Greg the Hunchback goes "UUurrgghh arrr goooorggggle" quite a lot. We get a country singer named Bill Hicks (no, not THAT Bill Hicks) who croons songs about how "A Heart Dies Every Minute" and something about falling in love with a girl made from cadaver parts under an oak tree. But best of all, we get unbelievable technical glitches wherein people suddenly jump three feet to the left as if teleported there. Yes, this is actually a frame from the movie!We get a scene toward the end of the film in which the director didn't shoot enough footage for the dialog recorded, so he just used a shot of two characters squatting outside of a prison cell and clearly not talking — even though we hear their voices — as a hand bearing a slate pokes from some jail bars. And that combover!

Ladies and gentlemen, if you only see one movie this year about an insane plastic surgeon with hypnotic powers and a bad hairdo who cuts up women to make a mate for himself, please please please make it Doctor Gore. There has never been another film of its kind that was so incredibly good at being so stupendously awful. If you can't find something that unintentionally makes you laugh in this film, check your pulse. You may not have one.

Mind you, this flick is nothing if not misogynistic to the extreme. Still, it's so blatant and so completely out of the mind of Archie Bunker that one can only laugh at this aspect of the movie. Also, be forewarned about the scene on the beach between Dr. Brandon and another woman in a bikini (there are several scantily clad women in this flick, of course). You may find yourself with a mild case of the dry heaves at this scene. I won't tell you why, but it's probably not what you're thinking.

Still, you must see this movie. I can't explain it all to you; this thing has to be seen to be believed. It's Plan 9 from Outer Space meets Frankenhooker, but it's so much more. There can never be another Doctor Gore. One could never make something so laughably bad, and thus so thoroughly entertaining to fans of Big Cheesy Horror Flop, on purpose. Netflix has Doctor Gore available for rental right now for those who have an account with them. But whatever you do, see this icon of trashy exploitation crap horror schlock cinema!

If I haven't convinced you yet, just watch this trailer!

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