Two short sentences are easier to read than one long one.
Herschell Gordon Lewis Save Herschell Gordon Lewis June 15, [a] — September 26, was an American filmmaker, best known for creating the " splatter " subgenre of horror films. On Lewis' career, AllMovie wrote, "With his better-known gore films, Herschell Gordon Lewis was a pioneer, going farther than anyone else dared, probing the depths of disgust and discomfort onscreen with more bad taste and imagination than anyone of his era.
His father died when he was six years old; his mother never remarried. Lewis's family then moved to Chicago, Illinoiswhere he spent the majority of his adolescence.
After graduating from high school, Lewis received bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University in nearby Evanston, Illinois.
A few years later, he briefly taught communications at Mississippi State University. InLewis began working for a friend's advertising agency in Chicago while teaching graduate advertising courses at night at Roosevelt University.
In the meantime, he began directing TV commercial advertisements for a small production company called Alexander and Associates. Lewis later bought out half of the company with business associate Martin Schmidhofer and renamed it Lewis and Martin Films.
Film career Lewis served as producer on his first film venture, The Prime Timewhich was the first feature film produced in Chicago since the late s.
He would assume directing duties on nearly all of his films from then on. His first in a lengthy series of collaborations with exploitation producer David F. FriedmanLiving Venuswas a fictitious account based on the story of Hugh Hefner and the beginnings of Playboy. Lewis and Friedman's movies were early exploitation films, and the films' nude scenes, although softcorewere not seen in "mainstream" Hollywood pictures because of the censorship imposed by the Motion Picture Production Code.
The two continued with a series of erotic films in the early s. These films marked the beginning of a deliberate approach to filmmaking which each respective party would continue through their production careers — films made solely with the intention of turning a profit.
Typical of these nudies were the screwball comedies Boin-n-g! Because film restrictions had not yet allowed for sexual depictions in films, the bulk of Lewis and Friedman's early work consisted of nudist camp features like Goldilocks and the Three Bareswhich appropriately billed itself as "the first and to date the only nudist musical".
With the nudie market beginning to wane, Lewis and Friedman entered into uncharted territory with 's seminal Blood Feastconsidered by most critics to be the first "gore" film.
Because of the unprecedented nature of this type of film, they were able to cater to the drive-in theater market which would have been inaccessible with their prior skin flicks. The full-color gore on display in these films caused a sensation, with horror film-makers throughout the world becoming eager to saturate their productions with similarly shocking visual effects.
Lewis stopped working with Friedman after making Color Me Blood Red, but continued to make further gore films into the s. His next gore entry wouldn't come untilwith A Taste of Bloodoften referred to as the " Gone with the Wind of Gore" due to its relatively lengthy running time of nearly two hours.
The following year would bring a more extreme take on the genre, The Gruesome Twosomemost notable for incorporating an electric knife used to scalp one of the victims. Outside his notorious gore canon, Lewis pursued a wide gamut of other exploitation avenues throughout the sixties.
Some of the more taboo subjects he explored include juvenile delinquency Just for the Hell of It, wife swapping Suburban Roulette,the corruption of the music industry Blast-Off Girls, and birth control The Girl, the Body, and the Pill He was also not above tapping the children's market, as with Jimmy the Boy Wonder and The Magic Land of Mother Goosewhich were padded out to feature film length by incorporating long foreign-made cartoons.
Most of Lewis' films are available for purchase through the Seattle-based video company titled Something Weird Video which finds and restores lost and little seen exploitation movies from the s, s, and s. Lewis financed and produced nearly all of his own movies with funds he made from his successful advertising firm based in Chicago.
Always resourceful despite the low budgets he worked with, Lewis purchased the rights to an unfinished film and completed it himself, re-titling the film Monster a Go-Go Many years later, the film gained notoriety after being shown on the Mystery Science Theater television show, where the cast stated it was the worst film they have ever done.
Lewis would repeat this formula when he acquired a gritty psychological piece called The Vortex and released it as Stick It in Your Ear to be shown as a second feature to The Wizard of Gore This approach demonstrated Lewis's business savvy; by owning the distribution rights to both features as well as most of his feature filmshe knew he would not get fleeced by theaters juggling the box office returns, a common practice at that time.
Lewis's third gore phase served to push the genre into even more outrageous shock territory. The Wizard of Gore featured a stage magician who would mutilate his volunteers severely through a series of merciless routines.
ByLewis had taken the gore approach to such a limit that it began to lampoon itself, which is why The Gore Gore Girls featuring an appearance by Henny Youngman as the owner of a topless club would mark his semi-retirement from film altogether. By the early s, he decided to leave the filmmaking industry to work in copywriting and direct marketinga subject on which he published several books in the s.
Later career and death During his retirement from filmmaking, Lewis wrote and published over twenty books during his long business career in advertising, including The Businessman's Guide to Advertising and Sales Promotion in and How to Handle Your Own Public Relations in Herschell Gordon Lewis, the filmmaker behind pioneering gore films such as ’s “Blood Feast” and ’s “Two Thousand Maniacs!” died Sunday at age 87, a spokesperson for the.
Herschell Gordon Lewis Direct marketing hall of famer, Herschell has authored over 31 books on copywriting and marketing, my favorites include On the Art of Writing Copy, Direct Mail Copy That Sells, World’s Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters & Sales Letters That Sizzle: All the Hooks, Lines, and Sinkers You’ll Ever Need to Close Sales.
Herschell Gordon Lewis If ever you've had the urge to write a book or an article grab this book and devour it. It just might be the catalyst that changes your life.
(Herschell Gordon Lewis, on the other hand, became famous for directing violent exploitation films to become a very successful copywriter.) The Internet has greatly expanded not only the range of copywriting but also the amount of copywriting opportunities to include web content, ads, commercial emails and other online media.
Screenwriter of "The Night Hag", one of the four segments in the horror anthology film "Herschell Gordon Lewis' BLOODMANIA" (), directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis Title: Freelance Copywriter at Hasbro.
I had the opportunity to meet Herschell Gordon Lewis and take a copywriting workshop taught by him.
It was one of the thrills of my professional life. This short video captures the fun and teachable spirit of his workshops as he talks about writing comprehension.