Gruesome Twosome, The (1968)

Herschell Gordon Lewis was the first filmmaker on earth to show audiences what happens when a tongue is ripped out of a face. So he’s basically a great humanitarian. From Boin-n-g to The Wizard Of Gore, Lewis’ filmography is a treasure trove of horror and exploitation history.The Gruesome Twosome is a lesser-known entry in this legacy of sludge, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything less than insane(ly awesome).

Old Mrs. Pringle owns a wig shop. She lives in a house adjacent to the shop with Rodney, her mentally challenged son. There’s a sign in the window of the shop that reads “Room For Rent,” and since it’s located near a college campus, many co-eds stop by to check it out. There’s a problem though. When they arrive, the girls find out that no such room exists! Gotcha! The wigs have to come from somewhere, right? Scalp ‘em up!

The Gruesome Twosome shovels on the scalpings and disembowlings. It also shovels on the heavy padding. But where most no-budget filmmakers pad their movies to feature-length running time with scenes of people talking on the telephone or driving cars, Lewis takes it twenty steps further. He fills this absurdist gore-comedy with talking mannequin heads, people eating potato chips while making out, and people eating Kentucky Fried Chicken while go-go dancing on a bed.

Of Lewis’ lesser known features, I find Gruesome Twosome to be one of the most entertaining. A somber surf guitar/cartoon music score. Hilarious KFC, Coke, and Michelob product placements. Mannequin gore. Actresses that blink and move their eyes after they’ve been covered with the red stuff. All that glorious padding.

H.G. Lewis is a genius.

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