R.I.P. Herschell Gordon Lewis, the Godfather of Gore

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 26, 2016 08:02pm | Post a Comment

Today Something Weird Video broke the news that Herschell Gordon Lewis -- “godfather of gore,” Herschell Gordon Lewis“sultan of splatter,” and direct marketing guru -- passed away. He may have been 87 years old or he may have been 90 years old, he may have been a genius or he may have been a highly creative hack (he'd probably say, what's the difference?), but one thing is certain -- the world of cinema was changed forever when the former English professor-gone-ad exec-gone nudie cutie filmmaker decided to combine his interests in exploitation film, marketing, and bloody Grand Guignol-style theater with 1963's Blood Feast (made with his business partner David F. Friedman).

Considered the first American gore film, Blood Feast follows the adventures of Fuad Ramses as he Blood Feastmurders young women in order to create an "Egyptian feast" for the goddess Ishtar. A tongue is cut out, legs are cut off, brains are removed, and the viewing audience got to see it all in all it's bright red Technicolor glory. Like any forward-thinking writer/ad man/smut peddler, H.G. Lewis understood his market and his market was made up of the horny kids at the Drive-In. Lewis went on to make countless more works of gory art in quick succession, including Two Thousand Maniacs (1964), Color Me Blood Red (1965), A Taste of Blood and The Gruesome Twosome (1967), She-Devils on Wheels (1968), The Wizard of Gore (1970), and The Gore Gore Girls (1972), just to name some of the most memorable. Some years he released five to seven films, often designing the poster and hitting the booking market before making the film.

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Transgressively Yours

Posted by Charles Reece, October 20, 2013 03:03pm | Post a Comment

susan mcnamara richard kern my nightmare

I recently wrote an essay taking a perverse perspective on this comic book called Fukitor. It mixes questionable views on sex and race in a comedic manner that, I believe, undermines any straightforward reading of the book as mere support for white male power (the straightforward approach caused a brief controversy here and here). But, because it clearly revels within genres that are exploitative, the comic could hardly be thought to be clearly promoting good progressive values, either. Without a doubt, the book contains images of bigotry, but it's no more a sympathetic portrayal of white male privilege than a film like Fight for Your Life. All the white men in the book are knuckledragging imbeciles, but the comic (like said film) uses the bigotry for comedy, which is just too much for some people.

Being a fan of exploitation and not a fan of bigotry, it seems to me that the disagreement over exploitative imagery has more to do with the political demands one places on art rather than any necessary disagreement over politics itself. I don’t need to agree with the ideology of the art (whether or not it’s actually the view of the artist) to find some enjoyment there. In fact, like Groucho Marx, I'm skeptical of anyone who pats me on the back. Karns’ critics, however, seem to oppose his comics based on the fact that they aren’t expressing a correct view. I’m not the least bit sympathetic, for example, to Martin Wisse’s view on transgression ('transgression' being the word for 'exploitation' that lends it intellectual respectability):

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The Art of the LP Cover- Exploitation Gallery

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 17, 2011 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Here's a batch of LPs that all capitalized on pop culture phenomena.
Cleopatra, Saturday Night Fever and James Bond all had many releases riding on their coattails. 
Chicago, Chico & The ManMarty Robbins probably had less.
Hair probably has more exploitative emulators than any other movie.
However, both of my Hair related images got lost somewhere in my computer's nether regions, so I'll have to include some the next time I cover this topic!