Directed By: Frank Henenlotter, Jimmy Maslon
Starring: Herschell Gordon Lewis, David F. Friedman, Jerome Eden
Trivia: This movie had its premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival in July of 2010
“It’s like a Walt Whitman poem. It was no good, but it was the first of its kind”.
This is how filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis describes his 1963 classic, Blood Feast, a movie that, aside from being a box-office sensation, is considered the very first “gore” picture ever made, featuring on-screen violence more shocking than anything that came before it . Throughout his career, Lewis would direct a number of blood-soaked masterpieces, thus earning himself the well-deserved moniker "The Godfather of Gore".
Directed by Frank Henenlotter (who helmed both Basket Case and Frankenhooker) and Jimmy Maslon, The Godfather of Gore takes us through Lewis’ entire career, from his “nudie cuties” (like Daughter of the Sun and Nature’s Playmates) to such groundbreaking pictures as Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, The Wizard of Gore, and The Gore Gore Girls. A few celebrities pop up every now and then to offer their thoughts on the legendary filmmaker, including John Waters and Joe Bob Briggs, but the most interesting insights come from the man himself, who talks openly about his relationship with producer and longtime collaborator David Friedman (and why they had a falling out that lasted many years), his exit from the business in the early ‘70s, and his subsequent career as a lecturer and writer, penning self-help guides (“How to Handle Your Own Public Relations”) and making more money doing so than he ever made in movies.
For many of us, Herschell Gordon Lewis will always be one of horror’s shining stars. Sure, his films were crudely shot, poorly acted, and, in some cases, are now horribly dated, but that’s what makes them so great. Despite the fact he had next to no money to work with, Lewis still managed to create an entire sub-genre that remains as relevant today as it was back then. If you’re a fan of Herschell Gordon Lewis, or horror movies in general, then The Godfather of Gore is an absolute must-see.