HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE RETURNS

How does it feel returning to the director’s seat after such a long absence?
Returning to the director’s seat is an exhilarating experience. Two quick reactions: First, directing is considerably easier than it was in years past, because I have an instant replay on video … which means we don’t see hot spots and microphones in the picture and other mistakes when it’s too late. Second, I began to wonder why I’d been away so long.

What brought you out of filmmaking retirement?
I never had been retired. I simply spent more than thirty years waiting for the opportunity to get behind the camera again. Of the many phone calls I had had over the years, suggesting, “Let’s make Blood Feast 2,” suddenly one of those calls was legitimate. And I was ready to go.

When can H.G. Lewis fans expect to see Blood Feast 2?
I directed Blood Feast 2 but Jacky L. Morgan, the producer, is handling distribution. We filmed in 35mm color and have shown a semi-finished video version at several film festivals to enthusiastic response. I understand Jacky will complete at least partial distribution agreements this month.

Why the decision to shoot Blood Feast 2 on 35mm rather than digital?
We felt that digital wouldn’t give us the fidelity of image we needed for a film that has the theatrical potential this one does. If I make “Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Grim Fairy Tales,” we probably will shoot it digital.

Will Blood Feast 2 be as brutally violent as the original?
Blood Feast 2 goes far beyond the original in violence and gore. But we make it 150% clear: It’s black humor.

What was different about making this “Blood Feast”?
For me, the difference was how much easier it is to make a film today. Oh, certainly it was physically easier, because we had a professional crew: I didn’t have to load the camera, be the cameraman, and hang the lights. But technically, film-making also is considerably easier. Film speed is far faster, and we had a glorious big Panavision camera instead of my Smithsonian-vintage Mitchell. Watching the monitor, I knew at once whether a microphone had crept into the scene (instead of making a nasty discovery many hours later as we looked at the dailies). But the biggest plus was the cast. All four leads are professionals, and this patina of professionalism makes a big difference.

How familiar on the set was everyone with the original Blood Feast?
Everyone – and I mean everyone – on both cast and crew seemed to be more familiar with the original “Blood Feast” than I was. I bestowed autographs, had photographs taken, and was treated as though I’m a celebrity … a far cry from the days when I shot the original movie. Then I was regarded as something of an outlaw in the film business.

Can you shed any light on John Waters’s appearance?
John Waters is an old friend. He called to congratulate me when he heard of the production. I invited him to visit, and we agreed he’d take a bit part, scheduled for the day he was there. As an actor, he’s a total professional. It was a pleasure to have him on the set.

Get the rest of the interview in part three of HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE RETURNS>>>




Posted on July 13, 2003 in Interviews by

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