The Curator of Schlock #370: The Gruesome Twosome

The Curator of Schlock #370 by Jeff Shuster

The Gruesome Twosome

They had KFC in the 1960s?

Edwige is on the mend and we should be back on the road soon. Who knew kangaroos had such delicate constitutions? I’ll make it up to her once we get to Saskatchewan. I wonder if they’ll give me a hero’s welcome. Maybe that’s too much to ask, but I will be saving a small town with this factory equipment I’ll be dropping off. Maybe they’ll erect a statue of me in the town square.

This week’s Arrow Home Video release is 1967’s The Gruesome Twosome from director Herschell Gordon Lewis. This is the same guy that gave us Blood Feast so expect this one to be a splatter fest. I don’t know what kind of sick individuals watch these kinds of movies. You should be ashamed if you like The Gruesome Twosome!

What’s the movie about? There’s this old lady named Mrs. Pringle (Elizabeth Davis) and she owns a wig shop. These are very fine wigs that are the talk of the town. They are made from real human hair. She runs the business with her mentally challenged son, Rodney (Chris Martell). She also has conversations with a stuffed tiger or was it a stuffed leopard? I don’t know. The point is she’s crackers!

So Mrs. Pringle has a room for rent in her business which she rents out to the many young women attending the local university. But she doesn’t really have a room to rent. If some pretty, young coed with lovely hair walks into the shop and wants to check out the room, Mrs. Pringle locks her inside. Turns out the room to rent isn’t really a room to rent, but a workshop room where the wigs are made. And in that room Rodney lies in wait.

We get plenty of scenes of Rodney scalping young women for their hair. And the camera lingers on these scenes so no detail is spared. And even as Rodney holds the scalp in his hand, we get to see jellied bits of blood sliding down. Sometimes Rodney also slits a throat or guts one of the young victims so he can play around with the organs.

In the intro on the Blu-ray, director Herschell Gordon Lewis describes this movie as a splatter comedy. I suppose the comedy comes from the amateur sleuthing of a young student named Kathy Baker (Gretchen Wells). She’s determined to find out who’s murdering her classmates. She follows one mysterious gentleman around the neighborhood who’s carrying a large paper bag. Kathy witnesses him burying large bones in his backyard. She digs them up and freaks out when the mysterious gentleman confronts her. Turns out the bones are a birthday present for his dog. The dog likes to dig up bones. Kathy then gets lectured by a local police officer about disturbing the peace.

Will Kathy discover who the killer is? What do you think? One curious thing about this Blu-ray is the disclaimer that comes on before the movie starts. The statement reads something like “This transfer was made from the best available elements.” That’s fine, but the print is in terrible shape. I don’t know that we’ll ever get a proper restoration of The Gruesome Twosome. Maybe this can be a new pet project of George Lucas. THX this baby!

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, and 477) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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