Herschel Gordon Lewis is a man who has made films in many genres, but he is most known for creating the horror sub genre known as splatter, a style of horror known for tongue and cheek humor and lots of gore. Because of this he is commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Gore”. Some of his best splatter projects include the 1963 proto-slasher Blood Feast, 1964’s redneck horror film 2,000 Maniacs and the bizarre and gruesome, The Wizard of Gore from 1970. Though hated by just about every film critic back when these films were made, Lewis is now considered a horror legend due to his influence on the genre.
Lewis has recently made a film titled Herschel Gordon Lewis’s Bloodmania a horror anthology film involving him and Canadian filmmakers Kevin Littlelight and Melanie Reinboldt. I recently had the chance to email interview the man on this upcoming films as well as his legacy.
On new film:
The full title is “Herschell Gordon Lewis’s BloodMania. It’s four unrelated episodes, shot in or near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I wrote one and directed two. The other screenplays and directors are Canadian.
On filming process:
I’ve never worked with a more dedicated and more talented crew. Funny stories will have to wait. My only negative comment is that I could shoot two more features during the length of time editing has taken up
On becoming a cult icon:
I’m extraordinarily pleased. That’s especially true when I look back at the early days, when the entire motion picture industry regarded me as an outlaw.
On being called “The Godfather of Gore”:
I do agree. Blood Feast was, regardless of film making quality or the lack of it, the first “splatter film.” Looking for a theme the major film companies had avoided, I decided to experiment. I spent as little money as I could without abandoning blood and guts beyond anyone’s expectations. The “experts” laughed and ridiculed … until box office results shocked them into reality.
On personal favorite none splatter film:
She-Devils on Wheels… and The Uh-Oh Show, a semi-gore film which in my opinion has been painfully amateurish in its distribution.
On being an author:
My books all are related to marketing. The best-seller, now in its fourth edition, is titled “On the Art of Writing Copy.”
Advice to young filmmakers:
Don’t let your ego take command. Don’t cast any friends unless they’re professional actors. Constantly remind yourself that you’re entertaining people who don’t know you.
On film he would like to see turned into musical:
Two Thousand Maniacs. Put an investment group together and you can be the producer.