The Gruesome Twosome (1967)

Rating: N/A

Dir: H.G.Lewis
Star: Elizabeth Davis, Chris Martell, Gretchen Wells

[0] Ah, this is MUCH better. This is what they want! Made the same year as Something Weird, but while that was just a bad film, this one is so bad it becomes entertaining. A little old lady, Mrs. Pringle, and her mentally deficient son run a wig shop, which specializes in ‘100% real hair wigs’. The also rent out rooms to female students. Especially ones with long hair. The film revolves around the gore set-pieces, three girls being slaughtered and the son having an eye gouged out, with the rest of the story being the attempt of a student to find her room-mate, who vanished after going to rent a room from Mrs. Pringle.

It initially came in at well under feature length, so extra scenes had to be bolted on to bring it up to the mark – half the fun is in trying to spot these scenes. There is a prologue involving two talking polystyrene heads, a beach party, and scenes at a stock-car meet and a drive-in which add absolutely nothing to the plot. There is one long section where the heroine is following a suspect, in which her attempts to conceal herself turn what was presumably supposed to be a masterpiece of tension into classic comedy. Over-acting honours this time go to Davis as Mrs. Pringle who acts the complete psycho, down to talking to a stuffed wildcat. Another wonderful moment is where she gives her son, Rodney, a lovely present of an electric carving knife…

The blood is copious. One killing is especially noteworthy – Rodney spends what seems like hours with his hands in a dismembered body, rooting about for some liver (for the stuffed wild-cat!). It just never seems to end. Overall, this is comfortably the best film of Lewis’s that I’ve seen, with the acting, plot and effects combining to produce a classic of its type that deserves as least as big a place in movie history as his earlier ones. Movie trivia the house inhabited by the wig-makers is on Elm Street. Has Wes Craven seen this film?