Friday, July 28, 2017

Dr. Gore

The Body Shop/ a.k.a. Doctor Gore. Written, Produced and Directed by J. G. Patterson.

Reviewed By Herbert Strock.

(Crank here, so we did it, we sent the call out for new writers and one person sent in a response-- soft clapping sound. This film has become an overly priced SWV DVD, which has been lampooned on Reel Wild Cinema, Cinema Snob, every other schmo with a YT channel's account as dreadful. The director apparently killed himself directly after this release but this is according to Chas Balun. Beyond the DVD extras you'd be hard pressed to find any info on the "greatest magician's demise of Don Brandon). So let's welcome our newest film critic (who also writes under a pseudonym like me), take it away Herb. 

I remember seeing the big box VHS at video stores back in the 80's and 90's.  J.G. Patterson, a former magician and TV horror host wrote, produced and directed this interesting low budget gem. The basic plot is Dr. Don Brando (J. G. Patterson under the pseudonym Don Brandon) loses his wife Anitra in a car accident, so he and his hunchback assistant Gregory start experimenting with reanimation of corpses, but when this doesn’t work out, they resort to murder. The Dr. begins luring young women with his hypnotic powers to their death. Procuring various body parts from these victims in order to rebuild the Dr.'s version of a perfect mate--a new Anitra.

It's a full bird stuffed with ham, topped with gorgonzola.

J. G. Patterson worked for the great Herschell Gordon Lewis on a few films such as Moonshine Mountain (actor / asst. director), She Devils on Wheels (asst. to producer) and The Gruesome Twosome (associate producer). Patterson's time with Lewis definitely shines through in this film.  The gore scenes are extremely similar in execution and style to any of H. G. Lewis gore film. Dr. Don's use of hypnosis on his victims recalls Fuad Ramses from Blood Feast (1963) and especially Montag in The Wizard of Gore (1970). The showmanship style of the film also seems very much a holdover from Patterson's time working for Lewis. The film's humor is similar, as well. A scene has the Dr. running his finger along the blade of a scalpel seeming to test the blade’s sharpness, then he suddenly begins using it to clean out dirt from under his finger nails.  Another scene has the hunchback Gregory cleaning up around the lab, he decides to take a break and opens a cold storage unit used to preserve the victim's body parts and reaches into it. Instead of pulling out a body part, he pulls out a bottle of booze, which he proceeds to take a drink from.

Zack Galafinakis and Meathead made love and produced me.

Despite what some reviews have stated about the camerawork consisting of the point and shoot variety, I have to disagree. There are some very interesting shot compositions throughout the film including a shot from inside a woman's arm as the Dr. slices it open with a scalpel. This shot reminded in Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper, where the shot is made to appear inside the victim's throat as it is slit open. The eye removal scene has some inventive compositions with the Dr. looking down towards the camera lens, plucking an eye ball from the left side of the screen, and holding the container for the eye on the right side of the screen.  The romantic montage between the Dr. and his new creation has some very artfully framed shots, one with a light post, a few others with various trees composed like a painting within the frame.  

Reynolds Wrap seals in the juices.
Underneath all the gore and absurdist humor is a film about mistaking control for love. A film about controlling another human being under the illusion of love. The desire to make someone into who you want them to be. Throughout the film, the Dr.'s interactions with females, victims or otherwise, has a feeling of cold emotionless detachment. The Dr. has a narcissistic, “all about me”, view of relationships / love, as expressed by the lines he says to the newly created Anitra , " You will have every desire to follow my every bidding. Your pleasure will come from doing what I ask you, things that will make me happy."   He seems totally unconcerned about what his mate wants, thinks, or feels.  He is, as he says, " Excited to be able to teach her how to think."  Total control is the name of the game.  The DR. tells his assistant Gregory that he will isolate his new creation from other people, even the assistant himself.  Gregory eventually is killed by Dr. Don, when Anitra comes onto him.


It is in this latter portion of the film that the Dr. and the new Anitra's relationship takes on a controlling parent and overly compliant child with strong and disturbing incestuous overtones. Using gender stereotypes, rigid gender roles and expectations, he attempts to indoctrinate the new Anitra to do whatever he wants.  The final moments of the film where Anitra hooks up with a variety of men comes across as a cautionary tale.  The compliant child, the new Anitra, has become like her controlling parent, Dr. Don, cold and emotionally detached, using others to fulfill her selfish desires.  An over the top gore fest with an interesting subtext, I highly recommend The Body Shop / Doctor Gore.  That is my opinion, yours may differ.

our dressings tonight are vinaigrette and contempt for the human race.

Did you ever suck the jelly out of a jelly donut--simply marvelous.

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