With pipe as prop, cinema’s undisputed godfather of gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis, introduces the “lost film” of Doctor Gore in a five-minute prologue, overselling pal J.G. “Pat” Patterson Jr. as “the master of gore.” That’s not to say Mr. Patterson’s directorial debut doesn’t kick over buckets of blood; it just doesn’t carry that undefinable H.G. Lewis magic. Keeping consistent for the one and only time, Patterson oversells himself, too, by starring as the titular madman under the curious pseudonym of “America’s No. 1 Magician,” Don Brandon.
Lanky, balding, the doctor has discovered the secret to regenerating life — so complex, it entails wrapping a corpse head-to-toe in aluminum foil like human Jiffy Pop. Anxious to resurrect his dead wife piece by piece by piece, the would-be Frankenstein lures foxy women — at the beach, in a restaurant, what have you — so that he may kill them for parts. Aiding him is Greg (Roy Mehaffey), a grunting hunchback.
When Dr. Brandon acquires enough “ingredients,” we meet the lovely spouse, Anitra (Jenny Driggers). A (un)dead ringer for swimsuit model Kate Upton, she is just the way Brandon (Patterson?) likes ‘em big-titted and baby-stupid. He sees to that, in fact, hypnotizing her to wipe her brain into total subservience: “You will not even remember what a glass of water is.” With Anitra lounging in a bikini, her hubby re-teaches her everything, from the ABCs to the smell of vinegar. His curriculum seems a lot more trouble than it’s worth.
Equally not as thought-out is Patterson’s point-and-shoot direction, inert enough to make Lewis look like a Palme d’Or contender. Shots of a two-character conversation don’t match; one scene begins with the clapboard in clear view, as if Patterson simply didn’t care anymore. His alarming ineptitude is exactly what Doctor Gore, also known as The Body Shop, has going for it. —Rod Lott