Beloved horror director Herschell Gordon Lewis, who was affectionately known as the "Godfather of Gore," has passed away at the age of 87. Lisa Petrucci from Something Weird Video, the company that distributed his movies and was named after the filmmaker's 1967 film of the same name, broke the news in a Facebook post. Here's what she had to say about the filmmaker below.
"Sad news. I'm sorry to have to tell you that Herschell Gordon Lewis has passed away. Herschell was a dear friend to Mike and I. Like an uncle. I'm glad we got to spend time so much time with him over the years. RIP to the Godfather of Gore, I'll miss you..."
No cause of death has been reported at this time. The Facebook post announcing his death did not reveal any additional details about the filmmaker's passing. Herschell Gordon Lewis was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1929. After studying journalism in college, he became a professor of English literature at Mississippi State University before working at an Oklahoma radio station and a Chicago ad agency, where he made numerous TV commercials in the 1950s, before teaming up with producer David Friedman to make horror movies.
After making a number of low-budget sex films then known as "nude-cuties," such as Living Venus, The Adventures of Lucky Pierre and Boin-n-g, he made the now-iconic 1963 film Blood Feast, which single-handedly spawned the "splatter film" genre. Despite overwhelmingly negative reviews, the film cashed in on word-of-mouth from the marketing campaign, and this success paved the way for numerous other horror films such as Two-Thousand Maniacs, Something Weird, She-Devils on Wheels, The Gruesome Twosome, The Wizard of Gore, and The Gore-Gore Girls. Between 1963 and 1972, when he retired after major film companies started invading his territory, Herschell Gordon Lewis directed 29 horror films.
Herschell Gordon Lewis returned to the advertising and marketing world after leaving filmmaking behind, writing advertising and mailings for marketers worldwide. He has authored 32 books on marketing including "On the Art of Writing Copy," and he is a member of the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame. He returned to filmmaking in 2002 with Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat and 2009's The Uh-oh Show, and his last film Herschell Gordon Lewis' BloodMania is currently in post-production. That project is a horror anthology comprised of four segments, directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, Kevin Littlelight and Melanie Reinboldt.