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GUMS (1976).

During its initial theatrical release, this no-budget porn-version of JAWS had a lengthy run on the midnight-show circuit (with both hardcore and softcore cuts). But even if it sounds like a porno relic that might well be left forgotten, you'll be shocked to discover just how watchably dopey it is, thanks to some savvy casting... The plot involves a dick-sucking mermaid (a naked Terri Hall, from Gerard Damiano's THE STORY OF JOANNA, sans any expensive fish-tail), who leaves her victims dead (but extremely satisfied). The rest follows Benchley's well-worn structure, with hard-humping Sheriff Rooster Coxswain (Paul Styles) closing down Great Head's beach due to this Sex Monster and calling in kinky ocean (s)expert Dr. Sy Smegma (Robert Kerman) for advice. Meanwhile, the townsfolk (in between blow jobs) are furious, including Henry-Jaglom-arthouse-flick-regular Zack Norman as the local reporter! But the moment a reward is issued for this "she devil", up pops Brother Theodore at a town meeting, doing a Robert Shaw schtick (albeit in a Nazi Officer's uniform) as Captain Carl Clitoris. Instead of cash, this nutcase demands oil for his efforts, and has a (thankfully fake) well-hung pet buzzard! For folks who don't know Theodore, in addition to frequent David Letterman appearances, he's been a Greenwich Village celeb since the '70s, thanks to a startling one-man live-show that's been running forever (and which I first caught back in '83). And though he's only in a handful of scenes, it's nice to know that even if Theodore had to sign onto this cinemanure to pay the rent, this mad fucker steals the show with such classy lines as "Let me piss on her tits, let me rip apart her fucking entertainment center." And I don't even want to discuss Theodore's faked orgasm at the very end... Meanwhile, any waterbound male is being orally-attacked by this topless "great white mermaid in heat." And while awaiting the end credits, we get blow-up dolls, a lesbo beach encounter, a fake Fuhrer, and -- in the softcore version -- plenty of "comically" concealed hardcore footage, with cartoon illustrations conveniently obscuring any unsightly cum shots. The weirdest bits are saved for the end, with the male cast suddenly replaced by puppets(!?) in the final five minutes and a raunchy "Mack the Knife" homage tune over the end credits (courtesy of Brad Fiedel, who went onto dozens of legit musical scores, like THE TERMINATOR, THE ACCUSED and THE BIG EASY). Theodore brings the only energy to this drivel -- it's like he's on speed throughout -- Ms. Hall occasionally shows off her dancing skills, and director Robert J. Kaplan just barely keeps it up for the flick's whopping 66 minutes. Still, GUMS is an inventive porno aberration, as well as the first in a long line of X-rated Spielberg send-ups, that include JURANAL PARK and E.T. THE EXTRA TESTICLE.

[POSTSCRIPT: Since first reviewing GUMS back in 1996, I've located a hardcore print of this porn-aberration. Here's the lowdown. While the softcore print runs 66 minutes, the hardcore one is 79 minutes. Minus its cartoony obstructions, when the Mayor gets his cock sucked, it's obvious that he has a stunt-penis (since the actor is white, but his member and groin are black). The triple-X print also includes several engorged dicks, the mermaid's toilet attack, a Smegma speech about fellatio (probably cut due to his graphic hand puppet), plus a filthy threesome between Smegma, the Sheriff and his missus (who also blows a puppet midway into the movie). Alas, some incredible Brother Theodore footage was also jettisoned, including shirtless Theodore (hubba, hubba!) awakened in the night, and (in one of the weirdest sequences to ever appear in a sex film) Theodore ranting insanely inside his curio-stuffed home, reveling in Nazi memories and sharing some serious bad craziness with the Sheriff and Smegma. Yow!]

© 1996 by Steven Puchalski.