One of horror film’s greatest masters has died. Herschell Gordon Lewis, forever known as the “Godfather of Gore” as he pioneered gore in the horror film genre, passed away today at the age of 87.
Lewis’ 1963 horror film Blood Feast revolutionized the horror film in terms of depicting gore and splatter, which he would use in later films and would become an influence on some of today’s horror film masters.
Born on June 15, 1929, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Herschell Gordon Lewis took up journalism and later became a professor of English literature before getting his entertainment start as a TV studio director in Oklahoma.
Lewis started his film career as a producer on the film The Prime Time in 1959 and would get his start in directing short erotic films, also known as nudie films. However, in 1963, with producer and collaborator David Friedman, created what is known as the first “gore film”, Blood Feast. The film would become an iconic film not only in horror films, but it would cater to the drive-in theater crowd. Lewis and Friedman would work on two more horror films, Two Thousand Maniacs in 1964 and Color Me Blood Red in 1965 before dissolving their partnership.
In 1973, after making The Gore-Gore Girls, Lewis temporarily took a hiatus from filmmaking and focused on advertising and marketing. He wrote twenty books on the subjects, including 1974’s The Businessman’s Guide to Advertising and Sales Promotion and How to Handle Your Own Public Relations in 1977. Lewis eventually settled in Fort Lauderdale.
In 2002, Lewis returned to filmmaking when he did a direct sequel to the film that made him an iconic master of horror, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat. Director Tim Sullivan made a modern-day reboot/sequel of Lewis’ Two Thousand Maniacs, entitled 2001 Maniacs with support from Lewis and fans loved it so much that Sullivan did a sequel to that very film, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams.
World Film Geek pays its condolences to the family of Herschell Gordon Lewis. As a final tribute, an interview with the legend on YouTube channel thejoeflynnshow
Rest in Peace, Herschell Gordon Lewis, “The Godfather of Gore”