The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast Blu-ray
Review by Lee Sobel (8/31/20)
5 out of 5 stars
For those who don't know, Herschell Gordon Lewis invented the "splatter" film, a sub genre of horror that emphasizes gore and blood in all its technicolor glory. He made his movies almost two decades before Friday the 13th and his movies almost fetishize excessive bloodletting. Now that may sound nauseating -- and it is -- except that he uses mannequin arms that look so phony that his films become camp. If you can laugh at these movies and at the same time feel horrified, then you will probably find these low budget cheapie drive-in flicks a delight.
Of all his movies, I like Two Thousand Maniacs the best. It's got a premise that seems right out of The Twilight Zone -- a Southern town comes back to life 100 years after the Civil War to wreak bloody revenge on some Yankee tourists who are unlucky enough to be driving through. The colors in these movies pop right off the screen -- especially the "reds" if you know what I mean -- and the camera work, usually done by Lewis himself, is crisp and clear and covers the action well.
What makes this set so good are the bazillion extras -- commentaries,
interviews, featurettes, trailers, deleted scenes and so much more. It's a total of 14 movies on 17 discs. Yowza. More gore than your bulging, bloody eyes can handle. The crown jewel is the last disc which has the wonderful documentary Frank Henenlotter made, Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010), which also shows clips from other films by the famed gore auteur not included in this set.
To be honest, I'm not the world's biggest HG Lewis fan and in fact found myself much more entertained by fans of his like Fred Olen Ray and Peaches Christ and Room 237 director Rodney Ascher talking about the movies. And Lewis and his former producer David Friedman are erudite, illuminating speakers on the success of their movies. I don't think I've ever watched a blu ray where I liked the extras more than the actual movies, but in this case it's true and for that reason I am giving it 5 out of 5 stars. If you actually love Lewis' movies, then you will be in heaven if you get this set.