It’s been said on this site before, but it bears repeating: the Northeast United States are blessed to have Exhumed Films presenting truly singular repertory screenings on the regular. The guys at Exhumed have resurrected lost classics, created amazing film-going traditions in Philly, and even occasionally provide vintage 35mm prints for a drive-in theater in the area. Exhumed Films single-handedly makes being a film fan in Philly a better experience.
They’re doing it again this weekend with the “H.G. Lewis Gore-athon,” a program featuring five of the director’s groundbreaking splatter classics. Starting in 1963, Herschell Gordon Lewis blazed a bloody cinematic trail, pumping out a series of gruesome movies that gave rise to the Golden Age of the splatter film. Delivering such disreputable titles as 2000 Maniacs!, Color Me Blood Red and The Wizard Of Gore, Gordon took independent cinema down a filthy hole, and we as a culture are better for it.
The screening of FIVE 35mm prints of H.G. Lewis films is both reason enough to attend, and de rigueur for Exhumed Films. But as usual, they’re going above and beyond by flying in the Godfather of Gore himself for the event. That’s right: the 87 year-old auteur will be on hand to present his films, answer questions, and generally bask in your adulation.
It's all happening this Sunday, August 21st, 2PM at Philly's International House. As a late-breaking bonus, the Exhumed gang informs me that Frank Henenlotter, director of Basket Case, Brain Damage, and Frankenhooker will be on hand to help celebrate Mr. Lewis’ influence and legacy. That’s two living legends for the price of one!
Below are the details from Exhumed themselves; tickets can be purchased here. Lovers of film (and film projection), lovers of gore, lovers of outsider art: this one’s for you.
Writer/producer/director Herschell Gordon Lewis forever changed the face of genre cinema when he unleashed the gruesome 1963 horror comedy BLOOD FEAST, creating the first ever “gore” film. Over the next 10 years, HG Lewis directed some of the most iconic splatter movies of all time, and earned himself the moniker “The Godfather of Gore,” inspiring a generation of independent filmmakers such as self-proclaimed Lewis fanatic John Waters. Exhumed Films is honored to present a retrospective of Mr. Lewis’s movies and to bring the seminal filmmaker to International House Philadelphia to speak about his long career in cinema.
At 87 years old, Herschell Gordon Lewis is truly a living legend—please join us in celebrating his life and works by watching five of his craziest creations in the company of the master himself! There will also be autograph signings, Q & A sessions, an HG Lewis sing-along, and much more!
We will be screening the following five features:
1963 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 67 min.
A psychotic caterer murders and dismembers young women in order to complete an ancient ritual and resurrect an evil Egyptian goddess. Widely considered the first true "gore" movie, BLOOD FEAST has had an immeasurable influence on the horror genre.
1964 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 83 min.
A group of northern tourists find themselves stranded in a small southern town, where they are tortured and killed by the town's citizens as vengeance for Yankee atrocities during the Civil War. 2000 MANIACS! has been called "one of the sickest films ever made" and is by far one of HG Lewis's most famous and entertaining works.
COLOR ME BLOOD RED
1965 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 79 min.
The third film in Lewis's unofficial "Blood Trilogy," COLOR ME BLOOD RED tells the tale of a struggling artist who uses his own blood to create the perfect color scheme for his canvases. But once he finds himself weakened from too much loss of plasma, he finds other sources in order to continue his art!
THE GRUESOME TWOSOME
1967 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 72 min.
The odd Mrs. Pringle runs a wig shop and rents rooms to local college co-eds. When girls from the college begin mysteriously disappearing, suspicion falls on the elderly woman and her mentally handicapped son. Just where is Mrs. Pringle getting all that hair to make her wigs, anyway? Take a wild guess....
THE WIZARD OF GORE
1967 / 35mm / Dir. HG Lewis / 95 min.
A popular stage magician, Montag wows his audiences by seemingly stabbing, decapitating, and otherwise mutilating his female assistants in some incredibly realistic illusions. However, an investigative reporter begins to suspect that is more murder than magic in Montag's act! Although remade in 2007 with weirdo extraordinaire Crispin Glover in the lead, the original WIZARD OF GORE retains its reputation as one of HG Lewis's most repulsive--and most enjoyable--features.