Friday, July 25, 2014


HG Lewis Close-Out Sale! Part 1

By Kris Gilpin

Here are short reviews of several Lewis pix I've finally had the chance to see thanks to Something Weird Video and their sleazy and cheap Dvds (R.I.P Mike Vraney and Dave Friedman).


The title can be taken two ways, I suppose. It's one of the prettier undies from the early Herschell era, as it's in color. Directed by "Lewis H. Gordon" and produced by "Davis Freeman" (David F. Friedman). The credits offer hand drawn nudes and names typed so small you cant read them (at least on tape). It begins with two silly-acting buddies who, after viewing a double bill of Lucky Pierre and Nature's Playmates (two previous Lewis/Friedman collaborations), decide to shoot a "nudie-cutie" (as Friedman calls them) of their own (the marquee for these nudist films offers a "free tube of suntan lotion" with each admission). One of these guys is Herschell leading man Tom (Blood Feast) Wood, here billed as Sweetwood. Shot in 1963, it was funny for me to see a store sign for S&H Green Stamps, which my family used back in Miami! The two guys drive a vanful of girls to what looks like some pseudo-mansion's front lawn, then film them with a hand-cranked camera as the script acts out a series of unfunny vignettes; of course, the men who paid to see these flicks nearly 30 years ago didn't give a shit about comedic relief, but why does so much soft-core--up to and including teenage Crown International flicks, and even some hard-core--feature embarrassing antics by grown men?

   Is sex and skin that embarrassing for filmmakers to deal with? Anyway, they hire a cameraman for their shoot, and by the end of the film I recognized the face and voice to be that of Herschell himself--or at least in the last two scenes (knowing these films, Lewis probably stepped in for the part with Friedman holding the real camera, after say, the original actor either walked or was fired). 
   There's lots of saxy and horn-y type music on the soundtrack, and one blonde and one brunette have great bodies; there's lots of nice skin on display here, as opposed to say, the tease of Scum of the Earth, but aside from the good epidermal delights on display, the movie gets kinda boring before the buddies finally finish their epic (Nature's Nudnicks). They then screen it for a distributor named Mr. Halitosis--will he buy it from them? What do you think? Worth a cheap purchase, this film is, if you're interested in cinematic 60's skin.


I saw this one a long time ago, then lost my notes. Yes, it's two full hours (!), Lewis' longest opus ever, and yes it gets a bit boring after awhile, and no there's very little blood dripping in it. Herschell has his much-publicized cameo with phony hair/mustache in funny "Cockney" (?!) accent. I saw something (a wing perhaps) hanging off of the camera in one early pan in the film. This businessman gets a package (sealed by wax) from his royal ancestors in London. It's two bottles of brandywine addressed to the Master of Corfax ("1888, wow, this should really be smooth)!" (An aside: I saw this at a Herschell fest full of typical older pretentious L.A. art-farts in semi-formal wear! This shitty city has high and low-scum)!

   Anywho, you know what the red stuff really is and after awhile the guy's hooked; this main actor tries but the rest of the cast sucks (for a change--ha ha)! He turns vampiric and the proceedings are melodramatic, with some laughs; he gives his girl the chills when they kiss and there are reams of dialogue. Tom Wood's on hand for his usual good Lewis support. More hokey gaffs as the bloodsucker shies away from the sight of a cross/locket; he also knocks over a pawn on his chess board after taking his third sip of vino, as a howl rings through the night (he laughs, then steps outside to hear it some more). Hilarious shot of a boat in a harbor for London, along with old stock shots. Our Dracula hypnotizes with a shiny light from his ring, then gets staked with a broken pool cue. The pace is slow and it's mostly made up of master shots, with few close-ups and much more story then gore, unfortunately (a definite Lewis liability)! One typically intense moment features the line "There's a flowerpot in the mirror and not you! The only intentional laff is some guys dragging around their "detective dog" ("which way do we go?;" "I don't know, ask the dog)!" The film drags its ass to its Big Ending, a close-up of the family emblem in a coffin: two dogs. Because of this flick's rarity though, it's worth a look of course for HGL' ophiles. Made in Miami.


Herschell's "destruction epic". It starts with a long scene of shitty rock filler/music in a club (OK Kris I gotta step in, The band on stage were called The New York Square Library and had incredible garage rock fury-Crank, the editor).

Teenage garage mayhem not dipshit music!

   As we then follow a gang of "long-haired hoodlum youth with a bad 'tude. Mostly a silent movie with dipshit music, we see them light people's newspapers on fire as they're reading them (they don't notice for awhile, just slow I guess). They light paper on fire on a lady's lawn, spray her with a hose (she stands there and takes it; just slow I guess), and drive off as she says, "You damn kinds!"; they bug sweltered straights; toss a cop's helmet in the air; put cigarettes out in people's coffee; trash a ridiculously barren "restaurant" set and burn the owner's hand; bother a blind man; beat up a crippled accident victim; stick a young' un in a garbage can; tear clothes off a line and stomp them, etc. One of these guys is Ray Sager, the youthful Wizard of Gore hisself.

   A song on the soundtrack explains, "They're a bunch o' smelly, hairy apes; nowhere to go but down!" This thing probably scared a few really old, easily frightened farts in its day. The actors take long, dead pauses between dialogue, as they struggle to remember their lines (or wait for direction which never comes); and there's the longest silent montage (of harassment, in this case) which, stunningly, goes on and on forever (interspersed with bizarre, discolored close-ups of the kids laughing) since Larry Buchanan's It's Alive! 

the original Garbage Pail Kid

   There's a cheesy fisticuffs scene where the good guy splits his pants, and transitions are implied by shots of newspaper headlines telling of the gang's terrorisms; there papers are subsequently axed, set bonfire, have blood thrown on them, etc. This film's amusing in its dipshittiness today; it must have cost all of $10 to make. The plotless plot ends with the kids being taken away after they drug four girls at a wild party; they "rape" them (they're wearing their underwear) and rape a girl on the beach, then upset a putt-putt boat in the water. The camera's stiff, with lots of simple master shots and the sound's mostly terrible (when it's there of course). The lighting's often too dark and tinted, too, while we're talkin' bout it. This time, though, it all makes for a movie you can giggle at in its cheesiness. A couple blows up in the climax, after a bike chase and a final painted warning warns, "The end of the story, but not of violence." A brick then sails through a pane of glass.

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