Underground Film Journal

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Moviate: H.G. Lewis: The Godfather of Gore

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 11, 2011

Text logo for Moviate

Jan. 12
8:00 p.m.
1306 N. 3rd St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Hosted by: Moviate

Back in 1963, exploitation movie director Herschell Gordon Lewis created a whole new genre of film: The gore film. Tired of making mindless nudie pictures, Lewis imagined a type of movie where girls didn’t just take their clothes off, but had their skin ripped off as well. With his first horror film, Blood Feast, Lewis launched what would eventually be known as a “slasher movie.”

H.G. Lewis: The Godfather of Gore traces the eccentric career of this pioneering filmmaking. Without Blood Feast paving the way on the dark fringe of the exploitation world, perhaps the graphic gore that dominates mainstream entertainment these days would never have come to pass.

The documentary is co-directed by Frank Henenlotter, who himself is no stranger to good gore films, having directed sleazy horror movie classics like Basket Case and Frankenhooker. Henenlotter’s directing partner is Jimmy Maslon of Something Weird video distribution company.

Lewis, of course, appears in the documentary about him, but the film also features interviews with frequent Lewis producer David F. Friedman, drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs and John Waters, the Prince of Puke, himself. Waters’ 1981 memoir Shock Value includes a chapter in which the Pink Flamingos director meets and hangs out with Lewis, who was a big, early inspiration. In fact, Waters’ early B&W film Multiple Maniacs is titled after Lewis’ own Southern gothic horror classic, Two Thousand Maniacs.

The documentary also includes loads of film clips and rare outtakes from Lewis’ movies.

Watch the trailer for H.G. Lewis: The Godfather of Gore: