If you are any kind of fan of horror, then you know that Herschell Gordon Lewis is “The Godfather of Gore”. This is a well-deserved nickname, as he was one of the first directors to use excessive bloodshed and graphic depictions of death in his films. But what you might not realize is that Gordon Lewis had another side to his visionary genius: prior to making horror films, he made a series of exploitation films, filled with both nudity and humor. Some of these films were thought to be lost until recently. The fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome have released a collection of three of these films on one Blu-ray, and the result is an entertaining and nostalgic trio that film collectors like me are sure to want to snatch up.
If you are not familiar with THE LOST FILMS OF HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome:
‘The Lost Films of H.G. Lewis’ features three previously thought lost sexploitation features from the acclaimed master of exploitation cinema. All three films have been restored in 2K from their original camera negatives and are being released on home video for the first time anywhere in the world!
LINDA AND ABILENE combines the savagery of a classic Hollywood western with sequences of intense eroticism.
1969 / Color / 92 minutes / 1.37:1
ECSTASIES OF WOMEN is a torrid comedy/drama set in the swinging world of late 60′s Los Angeles.
1969 / Color / 74 minutes / 1.37:1
BLACK LOVE exposes the lovemaking habits of the contemporary black couple through a series of amusing and creative vignettes.
1971 / Color / 74 minutes / 1.37:1
I haven’t watched many exploitation films in my time, but I have sure enjoyed those that I’ve seen. Not only are they humorous for the most part, but they give a unique glimpse into a different time. By today’s standards, THE LOST FILMS OF HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS boasts horrendous hairstyles, tacky clothing, and some hideous grooming habits…but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining. If anything, those aspects only broaden the appeal!
These three films are a real treat, and I enjoyed them all. I do have to say that my favorite of the trio is probably LINDA AND ABILENE. I like how the classic Hollywood western theme was thrown in and how Gordon Lewis was able to mesh it with stark eroticism. You definitely don’t see many films like this one nowadays.
THE LOST FILMS OF HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS is a definite winner if you’re a fan of exploitation films. I recommend giving this one a look if you want a vintage view of late-60s/early-70s sub-culture. The film is available now, so check it out.