Best remembered for inaugurating the American gore film in 1963 with BLOOD FEAST, Lewis was a trailblazer in all manner of exploitation cinema; it would not be wrong to suggest that his taboo-breaking innovations in horror had been grounded in his earlier nudie and sexploitation films, which taught him that - since he was working without much in the way of talent or funding (as he freely admitted) - his greatest commercial advantage was making product for adults only. For many years after their initial release, his notorious double feature of BLOOD FEAST and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!, having become next to impossible to see, literally became the stuff of legend - talked about far more than they could be seen. It was not until the early 1980s that this began to change. To quote director Frank Henenlotter, interviewed in the RE/SEARCH book INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILMS:
"I didn't want anything to do with videotape when it first came out: the only films that were available were SOUND OF MUSIC and HELLO, DOLLY! - give me a break! But once you saw BLOOD FEAST being sold, that's when you knew: uh-oh, here it comes. That's when everybody I knew had to rush out and buy a VCR."
|Scenes from BLOOD FEAST.|
|THE WIZARD OF GORE|
(c) 2016 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved by the author.