Herschell Gordon Lewis, the “inventor of the color red”—and the filmmaker who invented the modern gore movie in 1963 with the landmark drive-in chunk-blower Blood Feast—has died at 87. Raise your horns and fill your barf bags in tribute.
In addition to skin-splitting and ground-breaking splatter flick triumphs on the order of Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs (1964), Color Me Blood Red (1966), The Wizard of Gore (1970), and The Gore-Gore Girls (1972), Lewis also excelled in the manufacture and marketing of low-budget “nudie cutie” films, the psycho-sex shocker Scum of the Earth (1963), and the all-time great female biker blowout She-Devils on Wheels (1968). Each is a must for students of essential cult cinema and heavy metal movies.
Gross-out horror, however, is where the H.G. Lewis film canon figures as seminal in the realm of Heavy Metal Movies. Herschell Gordon Lewis shattered taboos and blasted established notions of art and entertainment to previously unimaginable ideas, mirroring much of what was going on among the fringes of rock and roll. Blood Feast and Lewis’s other early classics blazed the very paths that would eventually lead to The Exorcist (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and Cannibal Holocaust (1980) in the same manner that early terrors like Link Wray, Blue Cheer, and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown sparked the fuses that ultimately ignited Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Alice Cooper.
In later years, Lewis enjoyed a second life as a godfather of direct mail marketing. He was the author of several essential books on the subject and a perennial conference podium favorite after becoming a pioneer and expert on the subject thanks many years pounding the blacktop in support of his films on the Southern drive-in and grindhouse circuits.
Remember the man, the maniac, with our memorial gallery of killer H.G. Lewis trailers; each pumped to the gills with blood-red black humor and shocking cinematic scares…all for pennies on the dollar!
Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)
Color Me Blood Red (1966)
She-Devils on Wheels (1968)
The Wizard of Gore (1979)
The Gore Gore Girls (1972)
And read all about the sanguine cinema of Herschell Gordon Lewis in Heavy Metal Movies: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, and Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big Scream Films Ever! by Mike “McBeardo” McPadden.