Written by: George Pacheco on October 22nd, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Florida/USA, 1976
Director: Robert J. Kaplan
Writer: Robert Kaplan, Sam Coen, Paul Coen
Cast: Brother Theodore, Terri Hall, Robert Kerman, Jody Marshall
DVD Released: May 22nd, 2012
Approximate running time: 66 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Sinful Mermaid
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Gums is a ludicrous, pornographic parody of Jaws, notable primarily for its casting of famed comedian and spoken word artist Brother Theodore in a non-sex supporting role, alongside such other hardcore stars as Terri Hall and Cannibal Holocaust actor Robert Kerman.
The film deals with a sex hungry mermaid which is preying upon the men (and women) of a small coastal town, orally attacking anyone unlucky enough to be swimming in the water, leaving a trail of withered willies in her wake. Theodore takes on the Captain Quint role popularized by Robert Shaw, only this time Theodore’s character is the lunatic Nazi ‘Captain Clitoris’ who takes on the mermaid hunt for financial gain. Elsewhere, it’s Kerman who adopts the Richard Dreyfuss persona—twisted a bit via Kerman’s too-tight swimsuit and ever-present blow up doll—leaving the town’s Sheriff Coxswain (Paul Styles) top be set up as Roy Scheider’s Brody by default.
The most curious aspect of Gums is the film’s perverse use of puppetry during some of the latter sex scenes, the effect of which is both disturbing and side-splittingly hilarious in its vulgarity. It should be noted, however, that this version of Gums has been edited a bit, with all of the hardcore bits either being truncated or obscured by various optical effects or cartoon imagery.
Despite this censorship, Gums still provides plenty of entertainment value, simply due to the sheer absurdity of the whole affair. The people behind Gums—a crew which included future Terminator and Fright Night composer Brad Fiedel in the music department—were clearly having a grand ol’ time putting this slice of sleaze together, with the film resonating to this day as an ‘only in the Seventies’ curiosity which is bizarre, crass…and thoroughly enjoyable.
Sinful Mermaid’s release of Gums shows the age and wear of an adult film which probably hasn’t endured the best keeping over the past thirty-plus years. Released in its standard ratio of 1.33:1, the film’s colors suffer from a bit of print damage and dirt, but overall the video presentation is solid. The audio levels are a bit muffled at times, but this might be due to poor sound handling on the set, as opposed to any fault of the DVD mastering. Extras for this release are kept to a minimum, with only three black and white stag reels—totally unrelated to the film’s source material—set aside on the bare bones menu. Overall, Gums gets a serviceable, but below average presentation from Sinful Mermaid.