[Movies] Halloween Month: Hershel Gordon Lewis (1929-20XX) or the Godfather of Gore Movies

Here we are, October is in! As October comes in, also Halloween! This year I decided to get inspired from the “Nerd” (The Angry Video Games Nerd) and post some horror movies that have been nurturing me from my childhood and early adulthood until I had to put my passion for them (as well as fantastic/Sci-Fi movies) on a hiatus as I got married and have kids. My goal is to post every two days and discuss about a movie and how this movie marked me as a kid.

As mini half-me is showing some interests for Halloween-themed horrors, I can feel the Force is going strong in him and maybe soon enough it will be time for me to dig out my DVD collection of Anchor Bay and from cheap producers and watch them together.
To begin with this series of thematic posts, I will start with Hershel Gordon Lewis, aka “The Godfather of the Horror Movies”.
If we should give the prime authorship, it would go to Mister H.G. Lewis for two low-budget movies: “Blood Feast” and “2000 Maniacs” that I will describe a bit more in the section below.

Blood Feast (USA – 1963 – 67 mins)


Certainly the first feature bringing the concept of “horror” and “gore” to a theatrical released movie. The synopsis is very simple and a bit of non-sense. An Egyptian man, known as Fuad Ramsis, caterer by day and Ancient Egyptian by night, seeking to resurrect an Egyptian goddess Ishtaar by scarifying young women. The storyline is indeed very thin, maybe due to a ridiculous budget ($25’000) but is here to support the main driving force of this movie: blood and gore. The FX are laughable for our standard but putting back in the context, that was surely not for people with heart condition. You can find some reviews around on Youtube and on the Net.

2000 Maniacs (USA – 1964 – 83 mins)


Following surely a success in box-office with his “Blood Feast”, HG Lewis pursued with his second released feature “2000 Maniacs”. Again the story plot can be summarized in less than 300 words. This was the first movie I discovered after reading “Mad-Movies”, a French magazine that was initially published in the 1980s and still until now run. The story runs around a group of Yankees diverted into a dead end road to arrive in a ghost town that appear every 100 years to celebrate the anniversary of the massacre of the Southern Confederate town by a squadron of Yankees. The welcomed guests will only realized that the festival organized for them is indeed their death sentence with various death such as one in which a variation of the dunking game in which the dunk pool is replaced by a rock ready to crush its victim. In another one, a drunken victim fail to realize it is attached to four horses ready to split him into four pieces. The final death is about a victim put into a nailed barrel  and throw from the top of the hill. What was interesting was in my original VHS tape, the French soundtrack ripped the soundtrack from Lucio Fulci “l’Aldila” soundtrack.

Although these movies have little gore from what I have grew up with, they still have a place in my movie library as they are spiritual ancestors of the horror movies I have been nurtured.

That was a first short post, very succinct as these movies have little or no substance to talk. Don’t worry some other movies have so much to talk about. Feel free to leave your feedback and comments.


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