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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 15 June 1929Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Nickname Godfather Of Gore
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Only one film-maker can claim the title "Godfather of Gore." That peculiar but apt identification seems to be the exclusive property of Herschell Gordon Lewis. With an unusual background that included teaching English Literature to college students, producing and directing television commercials, and voicing radio and television commercials, Herschell literally - and single-handedly - established the "Splatter Film" category of motion pictures. He accomplished this by writing and directing (including the musical score) a mini-budget movie titled "Blood Feast," shot in Miami in 1963 and released theatrically the following year. As critics lambasted the primitive effects and inattention to script and sub-par acting, audiences flocked to theaters to see why friends who had reacted to the movie's fiery marketing campaign had said, "You gotta see this." Armed with boxoffice grosses, Herschell and his producer-partner David Friedman quickly decided to build onto their newly-discovered base. Herschell wrote and directed "Two Thousand Maniacs." The lead singer of the musical group hired to perform background music had a tenor voice. Herschell had written the title song, "The South Gonna Rise Ag'in." He wanted a baritone, and without hesitation he made the switch: the voice on the sound track is his. After their third splatter film, "Color Me Blood Red," David Friedman moved to California, engaging in a different type of motio0n picture. Herschell continued to grind out one success after another, with titles such as "The Gruesome Twosome," "The Wizard of Gore," and "The Gore-Gore Girls." When major film companies began to invade his splatter-turf, Herschell took a hiatus, shifting full time to his "other career," writing advertising and mailings for marketers worldwide. He became one of a handful of experts to be inducted into the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame. (Author of 32 books on marketing including the classic "On the Art of Writing Copy," Herschell is often called on to lecture on copywriting, just as he is invited to sing the theme from "Two Thousand Maniacs" at horror film festivals.) Over the years, an unusual reality came into place: Herschell's old films continued to play not just on TV screens but in theatres, years after conventional movies would have disappeared altogether. The result has been renewal of his life as a film director. Thus it is that a new Herschell Gordon Lewis movie is hoving into view: "Herschell Gordon Lewis's BloodMania," produced by James Saito in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and planned for 2015 release. Both the producer and the director encapsulate their opinion of "Herschell Gordon Lewis's BloodMania" in a single word: Enthusiastic.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: HGB Entertainment Ltd.

Trivia (5)

For more than twenty years, he taught graduate-level courses in mass communications; currently he lectures at professional seminars worldwide.
Did most of the voice-overs in his films, including the theatrical trailers, because he did not want to pay any more actors to speak the lines.
Father of Robert Lewis.
Heads his own advertising and consulting firm, Communicomp, based in Plantation Florida. Writes a regular series of articles, "Copy That Sells", for Direct Marketing magazine, and is the copywriting columnist for Catalog Age.
On Holidays in New York City with his daughter Erica Lewis and ex-wife and friend Yvonne Gilbert. [December 2002]

Personal Quotes (6)

[asked what his epitaph should read] He seen somethin' different. And he done it.
I see filmmaking as a business and pity anyone who regards it as an art form.
[about Connie Mason during an interview with John Waters] She never knew a line. Not ever. Nor could she ever be on the set on time. What we did in Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) was to pull about two-thirds of her lines in order to finish on time. I often felt if one took the key out of Connie's back, she'd simply stand in place.
I've often compared Blood Feast (1963) to a Walt Whitman poem; it's no good, but it was the first of its kind.
[Joking about the making of Blood Feast (1963)] It took me about 12 times longer to score that picture than to shoot it.
Way, way back in prehistoric times I saw the original Dracula (1931). Bela Lugosi's watermark on the pages of cinematic history. I recall only a few scenes, plus my insistence that the lights in my bedroom be left on all night long. The motivator had to be purely cosmetic, the way he glowered, plus the strange accent atop brutal word delivery. Some years later I saw this film again and laughed at the characterization. That's how sophistication spoils pseudoreality.

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