Herschell Gordon Lewis  

The true Godfather of Gore and Splatter. Starting off with sexploitation and looking to expand his repertoire, he invented the concept of exploiting extreme gore in 1963 with Blood Feast which was a cult hit despite its minuscule budget. He continued making various exploitation films until his retirement in 1972, then made a comeback of sorts with three random films between 2002-2017. Despite the obvious fakery of his low-budget gore effects, they were shockingly extreme, imaginative, and wrapped in campy & dumb horror fun that demanded not to be taken seriously. The goofy attitude of his splatter films is always disarmingly fun, inimitable and likeable. In short: a cult, camp director who made entertaining bad movies and who is respected as a pioneer. Died in 2016.

Of Some Interest

Blood Feast  
The first splatter movie ever made and the first from Lewis in a line of campy gore movies that are so bad, they're good. Ramses is a local caterer who worships Ishtar. Since it's time for a blood-feast in honor of the goddess, he runs around killing young maidens and chopping off body parts for his ritualistic meal in preparation for a catering request. The buckets of fake blood and body parts are lovingly zoomed into as he pulls out tongues, chops off limbs, hacks off the top of a head, etc. Will detectives manage to find him in time before the party gets started?

Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat  
Thirty years after film-retirement and forty after the first Blood Feast, and Lewis has still got it. The only things that have changed are the gore effects which are more extreme and convincing, but the entertaining mix of camp, splatter, silly comedy, politically incorrect humor and mediocre acting are all served on a bloody platter as before. Ramses the 3rd re-opens his grandfather's shop and is worshipping Ishtar in no time, vigorously collecting the ingredients for a blood feast by slicing, chopping, mincing, skinning, and eviscerating the local bimbo models who prance about half naked and provide the caterer with kidneys, fingers, brains, livers, etc. An eating machine and idiot serve as the local bumbling policemen and John Waters makes an appropriate cameo. Hit-and-miss campy splatter comedy with extreme gore.

Chainsaw Sally Show, The
See Troma.

Gore Gore Girls, The  
Go-go strippers are being brutally butchered, inspiring a sexy reporter to hire an arrogant chauvinistic detective to find the murderer and give her a story while she follows him around like an obedient puppy. The comedy is hit-and-miss, but mixed with the outrageous gore and H.G.'s other love: nudity, this is, at times, great politically incorrect fun. The gore is H.G. at his most extreme, featuring face-ripping, eyeball squashing, face frying, face ironing and a butt that is literally hammered to a pulp.

Herschell Gordon Lewis' BloodMania  
H.G. Lewis's final film is a really goofy anthology of silly gore films. He introduces each of the four films with some random campy wordplay and he is still as likeable as always. He also directs the first and third films. The first is a really goofy one, with an accident-prone man and his possessed hook, and his splattery misadventures. It's dumb but good fun if you're in the right mood. The second seems out of place here, with a girl who keeps turning every romantic moment and gesture of her relationship into a repeating nightmare of sadistic splattery deaths. The sadism and relationship symbolism is too serious for this anthology. The third is something different from Lewis, a story about a horror house with a twist terror involving hair, and a really silly but funny ending that kinda riffs on Poltergeist. The fourth is a complete incoherent mess about the silliest serial-killer ever, and it is edited so sloppily it doesn't only make no sense, it even leaves in goofs and behind-the-scenes antics. Ir is very splattery however. A mixed bag, mostly silly, some fun.

Two Thousand Maniacs  
Trashy hillbillies from a mysterious town persuade some passing tourists to take part in their centennial ceremonies as tribute for some violent event in history. As some meet their gory deaths, the remainder try to escape, and discover a terrifying secret. Features bad acting, campy horror, and splatter involving a barrel full of nails, a boulder, an axe, and the quartering of a man with horses.

Uh-Oh Show, The  
This has got to be the only splatter movie made by an 80 year old. Not only that, but it's great fun. Herschell Gordon Lewis started the splatter genre in his thirties, and he's still got it. For the first 20-30 minutes, this may be his best work, but then it becomes the usual Lewis campy so-bad-its-good stuff. This is a silly satire on TV by way of a game show that dismembers its contestants when they get an answer wrong. A spin of the wheel decides what organ will be chainsawed off by Radial Saw Rex, and it's time for the audience to cover themselves with plastic. Uh-oh! Don't worry though, they will get their body parts re-attached later, or will they? When the executives decide to take it to the next level, the weary host of the show, and a reporter who got her boyfriend's head chopped off in the show, fight back. Think Network by way of Wizard of Gore and Running Man. By the way, the special effects are by Marcus Koch. Kaufman makes an amusing appearance as a pushy pimp with tips for his hookers, Lewis himself appears as a man who tells gory stories to children, and the splatter is over-the-top and all in the name of silly, bad, cheaply provocative fun. We wouldn't want it any other way from you Herschell.

Wizard of Gore  
A creepy, mysterious magician comes to town to perform gory magic 'tricks' on hypnotized volunteers, only to reveal that it was all a hallucination. Or was it? Campily explores the usual magician's tricks with saws and swords and other sharp objects only with gruesome, bloody, intestine-ripping results while the audience sits mesmerized. Unusually for H.G. Lewis, it even asks bold questions about imagination and reality.


Color Me Blood Red  
Dull and almost bereft of gore, this third movie in the blood trilogy tells the tale of a mad painter who can't seem to get his colors right until he discovers blood. His blood, his girl's blood (using her body as a paintbrush), and when that runs out, he makes use of anyone that passes by. Even the paintings are horrible.

Gruesome Twosome, The  
Silly outing that isn't as fun as Lewis' other camp classics, about an old lady and her retarded boy who make wigs for a living, only these wigs are 100% human hair cut off 100% humans. One girl does her own sleuthing to track down the murderers. Gore includes scalping, some neck sawing and disemboweling but not much else.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents