[Editor Interface: enter review Stealth Mode styletype ="they must not know"
Begin Transmission] Gums is a whacked out parody of Jaws involving a strange carnivorous mermaid, who, on her raids of a small coastal town, kills the gentlemen while sending them off to their watery graves with smiles on their faces. Aside from loosely following the plot of the aforementioned toothy blockbuster, the short feature (at 66-minutes certainly truncated, as well as enthusiastically censored) makes almost no sense at all. Providing a smattering of fitful laughs, and maybe rerouting blood flow away from your brain, Gums pays modest rewards mostly to those interested in finally seeing every last weird-beard movie ever made. It helps if you like S E X, too, though sadly this is neither the place, nor release, to really get into all of that.
While movies like A Serbian Film dangerously skirt the territory, their interest in such things as extreme violence mean they're OK to review for this website. Gums, on the other hand, is actually a Jaws parody of the type that rhymes with 'morn,' or 'born,' or 'horn,' if you get my drift, to which extent, even in this gentle version the movie goes against the Parent Company's (and mainstream media's) morals: violence is OK, sex, not so much. Why spend so much time on the soapbox? Because there isn't a heck of a lot to say about Gums, a silly, senseless time waster benefitting mostly from the presence of Brother Theodore.
[Transmission cut: ..."reviewer is about to mention mermaid oral sex ... prepare the restraining bolts"] When mysterious deaths occur and really lame looking severed penises begin washing up on shore, Sheriff Cockswain shifts into high gear, wandering around the beach with a gay sailor, fitfully making lame jokes that speak less to improvisation and more to pot-smoking writers using whatever comes to mind with no editing whatsoever. As drama goes, it's a wash, until Brother Theodore appears in the Quint role, though in this case, he's dressed in Nazi regalia and goes by the name of Captain Clitoris. Theo's galvanizing performance is the best thing to be seen, though even he's not very funny until he goes completely off the rails, threatening to "rip apart [the mermaid's] entertainment center."
Other than sporting a decent conceit, there's little else to recommend this movie. The things you can't see might have livened it up a bit. Those seem to be mostly cut out - or else they're extremely brief for a movie of this ilk. When those scenes remain, they're censored with cutesy clip art images of lobsters and such. Even when fake vultures or weird puppets reach their happy endings, the visuals are censored. One must ask, what's the point of releasing this version? Is there not a complete, hardcore version? [INTERCEPT: "OK, we're taking the reviewer down. Move in, cybertroops."] On the other hand, the male leads inexplicably turn into ugly hand puppets as the film limps to some sort of conclusion in the final ten minutes. Even the risible Zombie Lake trumps Gums in the completely-nude-underwater-photography department, but this one has dog-sex accompanied by human sound effects, so there's that.
This digitally remastered 16 X 9 widescreen release still looks a bit rough around the edges. It's soft, it's washed-out, and it has some scratches, damage, and plentiful grain. But, it's probably not going to turn up looking much better than this.
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Audio is enhanced as well. The audio isn't great, though it's not degraded or damaged enough to complain about, with most quibbles resulting from poor recording in the first place, for example room sound with echoes. The hypnotic score, leaned upon quite heavily in the film's last 20 minutes, sounds pretty good.
Extras come in the form of three 10-minute long Short Films - chaste strip-tease reels from the Fifties by the look of things. We're talking buxom gals writhing around semi-seductively with breasts a-flying.
Porno parodies always earn points for cheek, especially the ones that go after big targets. Usually they have more creative names than this one does. Usually, they don't have Brother Theodore or hand puppets. For weirdness and Theodore, Gums has oddity value aplenty, which isn't exactly enough to make up for the other weirdness and overall aimlessly amateur qualities you'll find. A movie like this needs to have the good stuff intact for it to register much of an impact. Rent It if your viewing tastes travel the dark path, but know you'll not be getting a heck of a lot of satisfaction, if you get my tidal drift. [Editor Interface: - We'll let this one pass, for now.]
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com