Herschell Gordon Lewis

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Known as the "Godfather of Gore", Herschell Gordon Lewis is a trailblazer of cult cinema. We're very proud to present a selection of his goriest titles!
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Aptly known as “The Godfather of Gore”, Herschell Gordon Lewis is a pioneering name in the world of genre and exploitation cinema. His influence in bringing the “splatter” genre alive in a series of films that made the most of gory special effects can still be felt in the films of today. Born on June 15, 1926 in Pittsburgh, Lewis had an eclectic life before moving into film-making that included an academic career, working at an ad agency and directing TV commercials.

His film career began with a series of nude comedies made in collaboration with famous B movie producer David F. Friedman. Their plan was to make films on a low budget with the intention of making a big profit. Although successful, the nude comedy market began to decrease so Lewis turned his attention to horror with 1963’s Blood Feast. Regarded as the first “splatter” film with it’s copious amounts of blood and gore in a plot that involved a murderous food caterer chopping up women’s body parts, Lewis had hit upon a winning formula.

This continued with Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) and Color Me Blood Red (1965) playing a heavy role in most areas of production including scriptwriting, music and cinematography along with direction. Working at a feverish pace, 1967 saw the release of five Lewis films including the Dracula inspired A Taste of Blood and The Gruesome Twosome about a wig shop owner who procure heads of hair by scalping the population of the local university.

The Wizard of Gore (1970) included some of Lewis’ most bloody scenes of all as a magician carries out various mutilations on his audience. After The Gore Gore Girls (1972) however, in which a reporter and investigator hunt in search of a sadistic killer butchering girls at a dancing club, Lewis stepped away from the film industry.

He began to work in the copywriting industry in which he became a leading figure but his legacy in cinema was unquestioned. His visionary brand of blood and guts in the 1960s paved the way for a shift in American horror cinema and remains an influence for many indie film-makers of recent years.