Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 20th, 2018
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1967 (Both Films)
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis (Both Films)
Writers: Allison Louise Downe (The Gruesome Twosome), Donald Stanford (A Taste of Blood)
Cast: Elizabeth Davis, Gretchen Wells, Chris Martell, Rodney Bedell (The Gruesome Twosome), Bill Rogers, Elizabeth Lee, William Kerwin, Lawrence Tobin (A Taste of Blood)
BluRay released: February 5th, 2018 (UK), February 6th, 2018 (USA)
Approximate running times: 72 minutes (The Gruesome Twosome), 118 minutes (A Taste of Blood)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (The Gruesome Twosome), 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (A Taste of Blood)
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Films)
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95 (USA) / £14.99 (UK)
Throughout his career Herschell Gordon Lewis would work within a wide variety of films. Most notably his contributions to gore cinema and roughie films. And with The Gruesome Twosome, he would return to familiar territory, the gore film sub-genre.
With that being said, though The Gruesome Twosome has many of the elements that have since become synonymous with the gore film sub-genre. The end result is a slight detour from the gore films that he had directed prior to making The Gruesome Twosome. And nowhere is this more evident, then in regards to this film’s use of humor.
From a production standpoint, though this film is going to be most remembered for its gory set pieces. It is ultimately, this film’s use of humor, that proves to be its greatest asset. And not to be overlooked, when discussing this film is Elizabeth Davis’s delightfully demented performance in the role of Mrs. Pringle, the owner of the wig shop.
A Taste of Blood: A brandy laced with vampire blood transforms a businessman into a vampire executioner.
The basic concept of this film is clearly inspired or at the very least a take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. With that being said, this film takes already established vampire themes and puts an inventive twist on them.
At just under two hours in length, A Taste of Blood is in direct contrast the majority of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s films. There is a deliberateness to this film pacing and when it comes to character development, this film devotes more time to this, than any other Herschell Gordon Lewis film.
Though, the death in this film are not as gruesome, when compared to Herschell Gordon Lewis’s other horror films. What bloodletting there is in this film, is sufficiently gory.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this film are the performances. Most notably, Bill Rogers In the role of descendant of Dracula named John Stone. He delivers a solid performance that is arguably, the strongest performance any actor gave in a Herschell Gordon Lewis. Another performance of note includes, William Kerwin (Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth) in the role of Dr. Hank Tyson.
The Gruesome Twosome and A Taste of Blood come on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. Both films are presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Print related damage in varying degrees shows up throughout both of these transfers. With the print damaged being more pronounced on The Gruesome Twosome. With that being said,, when compared to previous home video releases, their transfers are by far and away the best these two films have ever looked on home video.
Each film comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Though there are limitations to sources used for both audio mixes. These are just minor imperfections that never become intrusive. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles for both films.
Extras for this release include, reversible cover art, director Herschell Gordon Lewis introductions for each film, a radio spot (1 minute 6 seconds) and a trailer for The Gruesome Twosome (2 minutes 44 seconds), a trailer for A Taste of Blood (1 minute 24 seconds), an interview with San Francisco performer Peaches Christ titled Peaches Christ Flips Her Wig! (9 minutes 54 seconds), an interview with filmmaker Fred Olen Ray titled It Came from Florida (10 minutes 48 seconds), an interview with Herschell Gordon Lewis titled HG Lewis vs. the Censors (7 minutes 43 seconds) and Herschell Gordon Lewis audio commentaries for The Gruesome Twosome and A Taste of Blood.
Topics discussed in the interview with Peaches Christ include, The Gruesome Twosome and Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Topics discussed in the interview with Fred Olen Ray include, the Florida film industry in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Topics discussed in the interview with Herschell Gordon Lewis include, how localized censorship was during the time when he was making films, the benefits of pushing the boundaries in regards to censorship and how society standards have changed, since the time when he made films.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary for The Gruesome Twosome include, background information about the pre-credit opening scene, the cast, mixing horror with humor, product placement in film, production related topics, other films he directed and his thoughts about The Gruesome Twosome.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary for A Taste of Blood include, the origins of the film, screenwriter Donald Stanford / the screenplay, the cast, locations, lighting / the visuals, vampires, William Kerwin, composer Larry Wellington / the score, other films he directed and his thoughts about A Taste of Blood.
Overall another solid double feature release from Arrow Video.