HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE RETURNS

Is it true that Colonel Sanders appeared in one of your films? How did that happen?
Yes, Colonel Sanders appears in “Blast Off Girls”. We had made a deal to shoot a scene at a KFC in Wilmette, IL, in exchange for their supplying lunches for cast and crew. I had a call from the company’s public relations department asking if I’d be interested in having Harlan Sanders in the movie. He served lunch, and his screen credit was his icon rather than his name.

What film are you most proud of?
Nothing – not even the two-hour-long “A Taste of Blood” – compares, in my mind, with “2,000 Maniacs”! This was and is my favorite.

What do you think of horror movies today? Any filmmaker that you’re particularly interested in?
I think most horror films today are bland, auteuristic, or so technically-oriented the audience is left outside. I was especially disappointed in The Blair Witch Project, whose hype far exceeded the entertainment value, and Scream, which I felt was derivative. My biggest gripe: Most of these films aren’t entertaining.

Are your associates in the marketing world aware of your notorious filmography?
The internet has exposed my checkered past. The search-engine “Google” has more than 4500 listings for me, evenly split between marketing and film. I certainly don’t deny my personal history, and invariably, when I’m giving a speech on marketing, somebody brings up a book or poster or still photo for me to sign. I’ve committed a segment of my own website to “Filmography.”

Has your expertise in marketing changed the way you approach filmmaking?
I always straddled both advertising and filmmaking. That’s why I’m so fanatical about including the audience in deciding what to include and how to show it, regardless of budget (or in my case, lack of budget). I’m having arguments now about the trailer and TV spots for Blood Feast 2. I think holding back the top scenes is a marketing mistake.

I understand that you’re involved with another project, this time in front of the camera. Can you tell me about Hunting for Herschell?
Some local young film-makers here in Fort Lauderdale are shooting, digitally, a strange and exotic film titled Hunting for Herschell. When they first described the project to me, I dismissed it as a peculiar flight of fantasy. And then they put together a cast and a crew and began shooting. Who wouldn’t respond to a movie about himself? (The plot, loosely, centers on some students who want to make a splatter movie and want my imprimatur on it.) I’m supposed to be on-camera for one day’s shooting sometime in September. So far, I’ve had some entertaining discussions with the producers, who are bright and enthusiastic — a pleasure after having been involved with so many jaded old-timers. Hunting for Herschell is proof that if one lives long enough, another totally unexpected experience is just around the corner.

Do you happen to have any updates on the “2,000 Maniacs” remake and sequels?
I know nothing about “2001 Maniacs.” The director, Tim Sullivan, is well respected in the industry. It’s his picture, not mine. I understand shooting will begin in Los Angeles any day and that Gene Simmons of Kiss has a role, but that’s hearsay.

Any future projects?
I still am eager to shoot my script for “Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Grim Fairy Tale,” which I may retitle “Uh-Oh.” So far, all I’ve had are conversations, but then, all I had for more than 30 years with Blood Feast 2 were conversations. So it may happen.




Posted on July 13, 2003 in Interviews by

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