Before the ultra-violent modern day horror genres such as torture porn and the New French Extremity, there was the Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis. The great gore genius just passed away at the grand old age of 87, and it's never a bad time to celebrate his glorious, splat-tastic movies.
A true exploitation entrepreneur, Lewis started out making softcore porno before realizing he could make more money with horror because he'd be allowed to show it in drive-in movie theaters. In 1963, Lewis made the Goldilocks and the Three Bares — 'the first (and to date the only) nudist musical!' — then swiftly moved onto Blood Feast, widely considered as the world's first splatter movie. Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat came almost 40 years later and featured longtime fan John Waters in a cameo.
In Herschell's marvelously camp movies, blood spurts, breasts bounce, and victims scream as they are dispatched with anything from chip fat, meat tenderizers and electric bread knives. With a soundtrack befitting the Austin Powers movies, wildly extravagant gore scenes are gleefully unfurl with no concern for budget constraints, making Herschell Gordon Lewis the true Ed Wood of horror.
1. The Gore Gore Girls (1972)
Deplorable Storyline: A maniac is murdering and mutilating performers at a downtown strip club, but is a local women's rights group responsible?
Memorable Quote: ''This one had her ass beat in''
Outlandish Gore Highlight: A woman spanked to death with a meat tenderizer.
2. Blood Feast (1963)
Deplorable Storyline: A deranged caterer collects blood and organs from his victims to serve an ancient cannibal feast to the Goddess Ishtar. Remade in 2016.
Memorable Quote: ''He died a fitting end for the garbage he was.''
Outlandish Gore Highlight: Brain, tongue and eye removal.
3. The Wizard of Gore (1970)
Deplorable Storyline: Mad magician 'Montag the Magnificent' performs revolting mutilation ''illusions'' on stage, only for his victims to drop dead of those supposedly fake injuries a few hours later. Remade in 2007.
''I am Montag, master of illusion! The fire of the laws of reason! A magician if you will. But then... what is a magician? A person who tears asunder your rules of logic and crumbles your world of reality so you can go home and say: "Oh what clever tricks he has. What a sly deceiver"... and go to sleep in the security of your own, real world.''
Outlandish Gore Highlight: The 'sawing the lady in two' trick, taken to its logical gore conclusion.
4. Color Me Blood Red (1965)
Deplorable Storyline: A painter is killing people and using their blood to create his artwork. The plot seems a rip-off of Roger Corman's 1959 horror-comedy A Bucket of Blood.
''Listen, pal, you'd be rude, too, if you saw your girl tied up, and a man with an axe in one hand and a bloody mess in the other. And a corpse outside there on the beach.''
Outlandish Gore Highlight: Intestines & innards galore
5. Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)
Deplorable Storyline: A bunch of lost travelers fall prey to a town of mad Southern rednecks who get off on murdering Yankees. Remade in 2005.
Memorable Quote: ''That eyeball treatment usually means there's steam heatin' your radiator!''
Outlandish Gore Highlight: Rolled downhill in a barrel studded with nails on the inside.
6. The Gruesome Twosome (1967)
Deplorable Storyline: An old woman and her mentally slavering, mentally deficient son scalp innocent young girls to sell in their wig shop.
Memorable Quote: ''Well, how are we going to match this color to her hair?''
Outlandish Gore Highlight: A particularly gleeful disemboweling