Horror filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis, known as the “Godfather of Gore” for his bloody exploitation movies that launched the splatter genre in the 1960s with films such as “Blood Feast” and “Two Thousand Maniacs,” died Monday at 87.
The Something Weird Video site announced his death.
“Blood Feast,” made in 1963 in Miami, was considered to be the horror genre’s first splatter film. Variety called it a “totally inept shocker” that was “an insult even to the most puerile and salacious of audiences,” with a “senseless” screenplay and “amateurish” acting.
His films supplied grindhouse cinemas and drive-ins with titles including “A Taste of Blood,” “The Wizard of Gore,” “The Gruesome Twosome,” “Scum of the Earth!” and “She-Devils on Wheels.”
Beginning in the 1960s, his early films with the late producer David F. Friedman were skewed toward soft-core erotica. Lewis’s other films also took on subjects that were taboo at the time including the birth control pill “(The Girl, The Body, and The Pill”) and wife-swapping (“Suburban Roulette”).
He took a lengthy break from directing after 1972’s “The Gore Gore Girls” to work in direct marketing but returned in 2002 with “Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat,” which included a cameo from a longtime fan, John Waters.
In addition to being a filmmaker, Lewis taught college literature, worked in radio and produced and directed TV commercials. He wrote several books on marketing and copywriting.