Review Date: September 14, 2000
Released by: Something Weird Video
Release date: 8/226/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1
Mrs. Pringle and her son Rodney run a wig store. This wig store is a big unusual for a few reasons. First, the store only sells wigs that are made of 100% human hair. That in itself isn't all that unusual, but how they obtain the human hair to make the wigs is. They hang an "apartment for rent" sign on their window, which attracts young girls attending the nearby college. When the girls arrive to look at the apartment they are led into a back room where Rodney murders and scalps them.
Sally, a student at the nearby college, hears the reports of missing girls on the radio and decides to do some investigating on her own to try and find the killer(s). She begins following people around, spying on them. She falsely accuses the wrong man and gets herself into a bit of trouble over it. Turns out Sally likes playing the investigator and has done these sorts of things before.
When Sally's friend Cathy disappears after going to look at an apartment, she quickly resumes her investigative work. Sally goes to the wig shop where Cathy was looking at the apartment for rent. Sid, Sally's boyfriend, discovers Sally's plans and heads after her. Little does Sally know what's waiting for her at the wig shop. Will Sally's snooping lead her to the same fate as all the others, or will Sid make it in time and be able to stop this crazy family from scalping her?
The Gruesome Twosome is just plain bad. If you're an H.G. Lewis fan you may be used to that, however. Why is it bad? Well, at a running time of 72 minutes the movie really crawls, and it's obvious many pointless scenes were added in to lengthen the running time (it's explained in the commentary that this was done for a reason - more on this in the Supplements section). If you take out all the pointless scenes you'd easily have a movie that's under an hour. What story does exist is pretty weak, having no tension, no scares and bad acting. There is a fair amount of gore if you take into consideration the running time, but I sure wish they would've made Rodney's character scary. Instead, you have this person that appears to be retarded to some extent, running around scalping college girls. It's humorous if anything. Mrs. Pringle's character is just plain annoying, continuously talking to her stuffed cat as if it's alive (interestingly, it is alive at the beginning of the movie, but it's explained in the commentary that the live cat was too difficult to work with so they switched it to a stuffed cat without explanation). That's probably just to clue you in on the fact that she has a few marbles loose, but I think it's safe to say you'd be clued into that regardless of whether she talked to a stuffed cat or not.
As I mentioned earlier, there is some gore, but be warned that it's not all that realistic looking. Obviously the film is low budget so you can't expect too much. Still, poor effects combined with bad acting and a poor story....well, I guess that's an H.G. Lewis movie for ya. You either love it or hate it.
Image Entertainment presents The Gruesome Twosome in a full frame transfer in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Overall the image quality is good, boasting a fairly sharp image, but given the age and low budget nature of the film it's no surprise that there are some problems in the transfer. The biggest "problem" would be the colors, which are dull and faded. Again, this isn't too surprising for a low budget film from 1967. Image did a good job on the restoration; there are relatively few print blemishes that appear. What blemishes to appear mostly consist of some vertical lines that fade in and out for a few seconds. There's also some specks of dirt that occasionally appear. Some scenes had light grain appear, especially during the nighttime scenes, but the majority of the movie is grain free. Overall a good transfer by Image.
The Gruesome Twosome is presented in Dolby Digital Mono sound. Some scenes did have a hissing noise in the background but that didn't happen often, nor did it last long. Besides the noted problem, sound was distortion free.
Image has gone all out with The Gruesome Twosome, giving us a nice special edition DVD. First is the commentary track with Mike Vraney from Something Weird Video, Jimmy Maslon from Shock Films and director Herschell Gordon Lewis. Mike acts as the moderator and goes a good job at keeping the conversation interesting. The first thing discussed during the commentary is the length of the movie and why scenes were added to lengthen the runtime. Turns out that after the film was cut it was 10 minutes too short to be the first feature in a double feature showing, hence the "added scenes", many of which are girls dancing about for minutes at a time. H.G. Lewis also give lots of details about low budget filmmaking, which I'm sure many will find interesting. They also talk about the various actors in the film, some of which are still around today. Between the three they do keep the conversation interesting with literally no gaps of silence. It's definitely an enjoyable, informative commentary track.
Next we have the short subject: "Wigs-O-Rama". It runs about 4 1/2 minutes. It's basically a wig commercial from the 60's it seems. You see people in Italy selling their hair, the hair being imported to the USA where it's sold. It's certainly fitting given the movie, but it's funny because it's the last thing you'd expect to see on a horror DVD, or any DVD for that matter.
Also included is the Herschell Gordon Lewis Gallery of Exploitation Art, which contains lots of cool looking artwork for various advertisements to H.G. Lewis films. Lastly, the original theatrical trailer to The Gruesome Twosome is included on the DVD. Definitely some nice extras here that H.G. Lewis fans will love.
To summarize: The first Ghoulies is long, boring, and could have about 75 minutes cut from its 81 minute runtime to make it a bit more enjoyable. Ghoulies II, on the other hand, is much more enjoyable as it focuses primarily on the ghoulies themselves, who fortunately get much more screen time in the sequel.
Movie - D (Ghoulies)
Movie - B- (Ghoulies II)
Image Quality - A-
Sound - B
Supplements - C
- Running Time - 1 hour 21 minutes (Ghoulies) | 1 hour 30 minutes (Ghoulies II)
- Rated PG-13
- 1 Discs
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Mono (Ghoulies) | Dolby Surround (Ghoulies II)