The world has lost one of our most playful, creative and truly elegant men and filmmakers in Herschell.

“The world has lost one of our most playful, creative and truly elegant men and filmmakers in Herschell. He was better on his worst day than most of us on our best.” Jeremy Kasten

Horror Movie Legend Herschell Gordon Lewis Dies at 87

Lewis proudly wore the title of the “Godfather of Gore.” He created the “splatter” subgenre of horror films with the low-budget 1963 “gore film” Blood Feast. Made in four days in Miami with a budget of $24,000, Blood Feast was Lewis’ response to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which the producer thought cheated the audience of the action. Lewis didn’t skimp on the gore in Blood Feast. He used a real sheep’s tongue in a scene where a woman gets her tongue ripped out. Audiences were offered vomit bags before they were seated.

Lewis probed “the depths of disgust and discomfort onscreen with more bad taste and imagination than anyone of his era,” Allmovie wrote. He made horror classics like 2000 Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, The Gruesome Twosome, and The Wizard Of Gore, but also explored exploitation films, juvenile delinquent movies, nudie-cutie movies like the science fiction spoof Nude on the Moon (1961)  and two children’s films.

Lewis released Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat in 2002, a sequel thirty years in the making. Since then, sequels and remakes like Tim Sullivan’s 2001 Maniacs (2005) with Robert Englund, Jeremy Kasten’s reboot of The Wizard of Gore (2007), and the postmodern remake of Blood Feast have shown that his influence lives on.

RIP Herschell Gordon Lewis, the Godfather of Gore

In honor of Herschell Gordon Lewis, the legendary “Godfather of Gore” who passed away over the weekend (in his sleep, at the age of 90—nothing like the way people tended to die in his films), allow me to exhume an interview I did with him in 2008 for an appearance at a local film festival.

Your movie that was used in Juno, The Wizard of Gore, about a stage magician whose gruesome fake murders onstage later become real, was remade last year. Did you have any involvement in that?

No. Jeremy Kasten, who made that, is a very decent fellow, and he sent me a DVD of it and called to ask me what I thought. Which is like asking someone, “What do you think of my child?” He had Crispin Glover playing the Wizard, in a white suit, and one thing I didn’t understand, the effects take place behind a screen. This may have been his way of mollifying the distributors or the theater owners or Blockbuster or whoever will not stand gore being shown vividly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s