Tuesday, September 27, 2016

For Herschell...

Artwork inspired by Herschell Gordon Lewis

We lost Herschell Gordon Lewis, the Godfather of Gore, yesterday. He was 90, so his death was hardly unforeseen. But, still, it's a less interesting world without him. I first saw his two most famous films, Blood Feast and Two-Thousand Maniacs, back in the VHS days when they came packaged with lurid, eye-catching covers. These were unlike the horror films I had seen in the past. The violence was outrageous, bloody, and right out in the open. No editing tricks or dim lighting to mask things here. I was shocked, scandalized, and enthralled. I rented them again and again.

Later, I found what an impact Lewis' movies had on John Waters and became even more of a fan. A former college professor with a varied writing resume, Lewis was an extremely funny, articulate man who gave great interviews and commentaries about his own work. Something Weird Video brought a lot of Herschell's films back into print and gave them nifty special editions. I feel like I learned a lot from those. Nuanced his films were not. Those looking for plausible plots, believable acting, or deft storytelling need not apply. But for those looking for pure, raw aggression against humanity, Lewis' films were heaven sent. I loved them to pieces. The artwork above is my modest tribute to the splatter king. RIP, HGL.