The Body Shop (1973)

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All righty!  This is what I’m talking about!  Here we have a creepy, sick, disturbing and underrated splatter classic from writer/director J.G. Patterson Jr., who worked with and drew inspiration from H.G. Lewis but managed to make a movie that is actually kind of good!  The Body Shop – also known as Doctor Gore (a better title IMO) – serves as a prototype for Re-Animator with its theme of a doctor that tries to bring his dead wife back to life.

Now I don’t know if Stuart Gordon was inspired by The Body Shop but the main, glaringly obvious thematic difference between the two movies is that Dr. Brandon (played by Patterson) had no altruistic goal in mind.  In fact, when I said he wanted to resurrect his wife, I meant to say he wanted to create a really hot woman from the parts of other women and bang her a whole lot.  I’m not kidding!  How else could a creepazoid like that get a woman?  Well he did inherit his dead, rich actress wife’s will but I digress.

According to the poster above, The Body Shop was filmed entirely in North Carolina but why does the doctor’s house look like a castle you’d find on the European country side?  Was his house that big?  Pretty crazy.  Within the house is where the doctor does his experiments assisted by a typical, cliche laboratory hunchback who just wants the doctor to fix his body.  The doctor of course has other goals in mind; that is to assemble the parts of female corpses to create the ultimate super woman.

The story gets a little strange at this point though.  You see the doctor apparently has the capability to seduce and/or hypnotize women into going back to his lab, where he proceeds to cut off a leg, arm or whatever is necessary.  But, if he’s such a charmer, why does he NEED to assemble a woman in the first place?  He picks up one victim from a local bar where undiscovered country heroes Bill Hicks and the Rainbows are performing.

I suppose his seducing women just to use them to build his “super woman” adds to his being a completely loathsome character with no redeeming qualities.  And, to be sure, the scenes are hella gorey!  It’s obvious how the effects were created; whether it be a carefully hidden limb or a “severed” head sticking out from somewhere but the fact is the effects look real and gross.  The doctor cuts off limbs, cuts open torsos, cuts out eyes and does a whole bunch of unsavory things with his creepy set of surgical tools.

Eventually he builds a woman and she definitely is quite hot.  He attempts to teach her stuff the way a parent would teach a little kid.  But, as these things typically do, the plot goes awry and, well, I’m not going to spoil it for you.  The Body Shop has its obvious flaws with the least of them being its miniscule budget.  There are moments that don’t make that much sense and an ending that’s a tiny bit confusing but as a whole, it’s worth the 80 minutes you’ll spend watching it.

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