Sunday, October 3, 2010



We met Herschell Gordon Lewis and he could not have been more congenial and memorable. I never imagined that I would one day be discussing Alfred, Lord Tennyson with the Godfather of Gore, but it happened! And he led a bunch of Yankees in a rousing singalong of "Yee Haw! The South's Gone Rise Again" later that night. Suffice it to say that my adoration for H.G. Lewis is cemented forever.

But I'm still going to approach the movie with a critical eye. Lynn Lowry was so sweet that I died of diabetes immediately and yet I still trounced SCHISM. So don't worry.

When one's been away (BLOOD FEAST 2 excepted and that was more of a hired gun thing) as long as H.G. Lewis, it's natural that there would be some skepticism when a new title emerges. And I will admit that UH-OH will never displace 2000 MANIACS or WIZARD OF GORE from my heart. But it's heartening to see just how fun it is!

A blood-soaked game show called Uh-Oh has become America's newest hit. But! Like Videodrome, what is widely perceived to be faked is, in fact, quite real. And it's still not enough for greedy TV executives, who stage a thematic spinoff entitled Grim Fairy Tales.

One area in which UH-OH tops some of Lewis's older stuff is acting. The acting in this movie across the board is right on target. Especially impressive are lead protagonista Nevada Caldwell and the brilliantly vile Joel Wynkoop as our malevolent producer. Whereas the old stuff had undeniably astonishing turns (I'd cite Ray Sager's performance in WIZARD as pretty much flawless for this sort of film), UH-OH delivers acting that is beyond reproach all the way through. Even Lloyd Kaufman drops an Oscar-bait performance. Fun enough, but also pro enough. There are no Connie Masons here.

The gore is reminiscent of the good old days. No MARTYRS-y super-realistic grue, really, just what resembles a mixture of ground meat and yarn, along with kegs of stage blood. And I prefer that, evocative as it is of the staged sections of driver education films. It brings to mind a different time in America, when we didn't outsource our horror to the snooty/angsty French or Asians who use child labor in their ghost roles. DAWN OF THE DEAD-level splatter wouldn't work in this film. It's a fun, ridiculous ride, not some attempt to grasp the nihilistic side of life and death.

And it's SO funny! The sort of gallows humor that made the sixties Blood Trilogy, et al., must-sees for our kind of people.

A worthy addition to the Lewis canon! It should be out on DVD sometime next year and Mr. Lewis said that he has another tale in the works, too. Maybe the NBER is right and things really are turning around. #8 of 31.

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