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GODFATHER OF GORE Herschell Gordon Lewis Celebrated in 35mm Retrospective Marathon Screening!

The post-modern “gore” film had its innovators—its “Elvis” and its “Beatles”—and these guys changed the face of horror forever in the 1960s. Nobody—but nobody—was going for the guts the way Romero did in Night of the Living Dead… but before even George’s classic black-and-white zombie apocalypse spilled its intestinal fortitude at drive-ins across America… there was Herschell Gordon Lewis and his wild Technicolor splatterfest Blood Feast.

The true “godfather of gore,” H.G. was the evil “Elvis” to Romero’s arty “Beatles,” pioneering cinematic extremes and hard-sell distribution techniques that would be imitated and perfected over nearly 60 years of evolution in horror film. Everyone from John Waters to Peter Jackson was eventually influenced by the raunchy, no-holds-barred grue of H.G.’s incredible, unprecedented body of work, and of course there were sequels and remakes, including Tim Sullivan’s 2001 Maniacs (2005) with Robert Englund. Not to mention Jeremy Kasten’s batshit-crazy reboot of The Wizard of Gore (2007), starring Crispin Glover, Jeffrey Combs and the Suicide Girls.  (Truly a film that, like its predecessor, defies easy classification.) A slick postmodern remake of Blood Feast will bow this year, starring Caroline Williams.

But of course, none of this ever would have been possible without the influence and impact of the originals.  Back in the 60s and 70s, there was simply no precedent for this shit, man.  Working with almost no money and (usually) unprofessional actors, Lewis made lowbrow, low-rent grindhouse horror comedies that scoffed at good taste and went so far over the top in their scenes of graphic mayhem that John Waters himself once said of his idol: “The films of H.G. Lewis are impossible to defend, and therefore he automatically becomes one of the great film directors of all time.”

Seriously, folks… if you’re a young person and you’ve never seen a film directed by H.G. Lewis on the big screen, you’ve not been properly educated. Whether you like it or not.

And that’s all about to be possible.

All at once.

On August 21, just TWO WEEKS from now, the fun boys at Exhumed Films are presenting a marathon retrospective at International House Philadelphia of FIVE CLASSIC Herschell Gordon Lewis films—all on the BIG SCREEN in 35 millimeter!

And that’s not all. H.G. will be at this event personally to speak about his amazing career in cinema. Hot damn, huh? There will be autograph signings, Q & A sessions, an H.G. Lewis sing-along, and much more!

Here is the official line-up for the event, right from the Facebook page:

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BLOOD FEAST

1963 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 67 min.

A psychotic caterer murders and dismembers young women in order to complete an ancient ritual and resurrect an evil Egyptian goddess. Widely considered the first true “gore” movie, BLOOD FEAST has had an immeasurable influence on the horror genre.

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2000 MANIACS!
1964 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 83 min.

A group of Northern tourists find themselves stranded in a small Southern town, where they are tortured and killed by the town’s citizens as vengeance for Yankee atrocities during the Civil War. 2000 MANIACS! has been called “one of the sickest films ever made” and is by far one of HG Lewis’s most famous and entertaining works.

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COLOR ME BLOOD RED
1965 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 79 min.

The third film in Lewis’s unofficial “Blood Trilogy,” COLOR ME BLOOD RED tells the tale of a struggling artist who uses his own blood to create the perfect color scheme for his canvases. But once he finds himself weakened from too much loss of plasma, he finds other sources in order to continue his art!

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THE GRUESOME TWOSOME
1967 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 72 min.

The odd Mrs. Pringle runs a wig shop and rents rooms to local college co-eds. When girls from the college begin mysteriously disappearing, suspicion falls on the elderly woman and her mentally handicapped son. Just where is Mrs. Pringle getting all that hair to make her wigs, anyway? Take a wild guess…

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THE WIZARD OF GORE
1967 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 95 min.

A popular stage magician, Montag wows his audiences by seemingly stabbing, decapitating, and otherwise mutilating his female assistants in some incredibly realistic illusions. However, an investigative reporter begins to suspect that is more murder than magic in Montag’s act! Although remade in 2007 with weirdo extraordinaire Crispin Glover in the lead, the original WIZARD OF GORE retains its reputation as one of HG Lewis’s most repulsive–and most enjoyable–features.

An event of this nature will probably never happen again; you CANNOT miss this true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Tickets are on sale now, so don’t delay! The H.G. Lewis Gore-A-Thon is sponsored by Jimmy Maslon and Lisa Petrucci of Something Weird Video. CLICK HERE for tickets and details!

 

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Stephen Romano