In an attempt to continue a theme started with last weekend's Tex-a-Thon, I pulled J.G. Patterson's 1972 flick The Body Shop off the shelf.
A grieving mad scientist (also Patterson) and his hunchbacked assistant Gregory (Roy Mehaffy) dismember young women to assemble his perfect mate.
I fully admit I got duped here. Within five minutes of putting this on, I was like, “uh-oh I think I've made a terrible mistake.” I was expecting a low-rent cannibal slasher, but I wasn't even in the right decade. This is a baaaad movie, folks.
The Body Shop aka Doctor Gore was basically what it would look like if Herschell Gordon Lewis had made a Bride of Frankenstein movie. Except worse. Much, much worse. Every facet of this production is Z-grade. I'm not sure if it was my VHS transfer, but it often seemed like the camera was off center (like the DP fell asleep or something) and location sound was definitely an afterthought. I could see people's mouth's moving, but nothing was coming out. Don't worry, I'm sure those incessant voice overs and musical interludes that kept playing over and over will distract from that, right?
Looking up Patterson I saw that he had worked on a few of H.G. Lewis' pictures, which makes a lot of sense. He must have been like, “well if H.G can do it, so can I!” No. No you can't buddy. Lewis was a showman and knew what the people wanted. He knew to fill time with badly overacted dialogue, not long drawn out montages of nothing. It looks like they were pretty tight though as evidenced by Lewis' touching introduction for its home video release.
For real though, so much of The Body Shop is filler that it is barely a movie. There's no flow and there were times when I thought I had missed a scene. There's like no exposition as to why a surgeon also happened to be a master hypnotist. Chicks would follow this guy to the slaughter for no other reason than Patterson couldn't think of one.
|Jenny Driggers & J.G. Patterson in The Body Shop.|
Most of this would have been forgivable if it delivered on the gore, but it doesn't. When these repetitive sequences finally came around, they were fairly rudimentary. When you compare this to Lewis' pictures like 2000 Maniacs, Wizard of Gore and Gore Gore Girls (released '64,'70 and '72 respectively) there's really no comparison. The set pieces in those movies were not only better executed, but wildly grotesque and unique.
And all this trouble for a living sex doll? Seems like a lot of work. And I wager that Doctor Gore may have been the first horror baddie with a hand fetish. “Hands on a woman are the most important. Delicate hands bring out the true femininity!”
|I'm a breast man myself.|
The Body Shop is the perfect example of a movie that you would rent by accident at the video store and immediately regret your decision. It's shoddily made, threadbare and mainly just boring. If you're going to fail, at least fail upwards and make it entertaining.