This collection of 3 films by Herschell Gordon Lewis is fantastic. I have enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it. All the films are in full screen 1.33:1 and none have subtitles. The commentary tracks are excellent.
Disc 1 -- Blood Feast - 1963, 67 mins, English only, extras: commentary track, rare outtakes (49:57), short - Carving Magic (20:35), theatrical trailer, gallery of exploitation art
Disc 2 - Two Thousand Maniacs! - 1964, 84 mins, English & French language option, extras: commentary track, rare outtakes (16:28), theatrical trailer, gallery of exploitation art
Disc 3 - Color Me Blood Red - 1965, 79 mins, English only, extras: commentary track, rare outtakes (10:30), theatrical trailer, gallery of exploitation art
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Essential viewing for fans of exploitation cinemaJan. 17 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Herschell Gordon Lewis is one of those rare directors who is so inept and clumsy that his films become wildly entertaining. He and others such as Ed Wood and Doris Wishman consistently made terrible movies that, while incredibly silly, are still engaging through and through. There are plenty of bad directors who made a few films that are fun to watch and there are plenty of bad directors who made films that are just pure tedium, but most every HGL film is a treat for those of us who enjoy the finer points of exploitation cinema.
"Blood Feast" is easily HGL's most infamous film - one that most gore fanatics know quite well. Although it's a bit tame by today's standards, it hasn't lost its edge. There are some incredibly bloody scenes and they're surrounded by some of the worst, most wooden acting anyone has seen outside of "Plan 9 from Outer Space". It turns even the most bland dialogue scenes into laugh riots.
"Two Thousand Maniacs!" is not amongst my favorite HGL films, but it does seem to be fairly popular with most fans. It's basically a remake of "Brigadoon", (yeah, HGL has a PhD in literature - honest) but this time with hillbillies and gory, violent deaths. It's a nice crossover between HGL's hillbilly films and his gore films.
"Color Me Blood Red" is another classic. The blood is plentiful, as is the campy atmosphere and typically awful acting. Any HGL fan will enjoy this.
Just like Something Weird Video's "Herschell Gordon Lewis Collection" (which I also highly recommend), there are plenty of extras. HGL and his partner on these three films, David Friedman, provide great commentary tracks, both hilarious and informative. We also get some trailers and a few shorts. Overall, excellent extra features. SWV did a typically excellent job with this.
This collection belongs on the shelf of any serious exploitation cinema collector. Buy it and enjoy!
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Purists Beware!!!!!Oct. 7 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I just got my blu ray in and popped it in the player, so excited to finally see these wonderful H.G. Lewis films in HD, but to my REAL shock and horror they have cropped the image at the top and bottom for that fake widescreen look and it really effects the picture! The picture IS otherwise brighter and clearer than the previous "Something Weird" dvd release but there is just too much cropped off at the top and bottom. For all you H.G. Lewis purists beware!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Schlock That Wouldn't DieOct. 3 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
It would be easy to pass this up as being a package of movies that was put cheaply together for a quick buck if you didn't know better. Don't make that assumption.
These are three examples of early gore from the pioneers of the genre, Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman. While not exactly Oscar-worthy, they have their place in cinema history. The transfers on the Blu-ray discs aren't exactly reference quality, but they're fine for these films, and probably far better than they ever looked on drive-in screens. In some scenes, you could argue they look TOO good. The main audio tracks are PCM mono.
BLOOD FEAST - If you ever wondered where modern horror started, look no further than this cult classic. A caterer puts together a feast using body parts of his victims. Filmed on a budget of $24,500 (according to Friedman in the commentary), it is one of the most horribly acted movies you will ever see...yet there's something appealing about this film even today. The gore, cheesy by today's standards, was like nothing ever seen before in its day. The movie became a sensation at drive-in circuits around the country and birthed a segment of cinema that simply hadn't existed previously.
TWO THOUSAND MANIACS - After making names for themselves with "Blood Feast", Lewis and Friedman made "Two Thousand Maniacs" with triple the budget. A small Southern town celebrates the anniversary of the Civil War by tricking some Northern tourists into town and killing them in various community events. Most of the actual residents of the shooting location were all too happy to participate in filming, which made the movie look far bigger than it was.
COLOR ME BLOOD RED - A frustrated artist can't find his color...until his girlfriend accidentally cuts herself. After creating his masterpiece with her blood, he needs more to continue painting. You know where this is going.
Watch them all twice...once without the commentary, then once with. Lewis and Friedman provide some great stories, especially if you're a fan of drive-ins and understand the history of exploitation cinema. And don't miss the extras "Follow That Skirt!" (possibly the best thing on the disk) and a vintage short about cutting meat called "Carving Magic!".
For the asking price, this is an outstanding value.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Blood TrilogySept. 2 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Herschell Gordon Lewis made Horror history with 1963's BLOOD FEAST, widely considered to be the first "gore" film. In the years before the MPAA, filmmakers were only limited from showing excessive nudity on-screen. With no rules preventing anyone in the movie industry from depicting gratuitous violence or horrifying bodily dismemberment, H.G. Lewis and business partner David F. Friedman embarked on a series of films that exploited these loose regulations in an attempt to compete with the major studio releases in the drive-in circuit. The two did not ease in to this newly established genre with just a few missing limbs or a severed head, but (literally) covered the screen in blood and butchery from start to finish. This simply had never been done before, and even to this day, BLOOD FEAST continues to serve as one of the most shocking and gruesome films in the genre.
Mrs. Fremont is throwing a dinner party for her daughter's engagement, so in order to impress her guests, she has hired the exotic caterer Fuad Ramses to put on an extravagant feast! What she doesn't know is that Fuad has worked up a special menu made from bits and pieces of the missing girls from around town, which he will be serving as the main course in an Egyptian blood feast to appease the goddess Ishtar!
PSYCHO, this is not; Lewis' listless direction shows all of the style and finesse of an early stag film (another genre with which he was fondly familiar). BLOOD FEAST tastefully implies nothing, and instead plasters the screen in one lurid image after another, using as few camera set-ups and shots as possible for the minimal amount of coverage provided. Lewis and Friedman would tap Playboy playmate Connie Mason to star as the beautiful young bride-to-be, who would return for their follow-up 2000 MANIACS the next year. Mason, along with her fellow cast members, produce truly horrible performances, but the roles are so poorly acted and outrageously over-the-top that they give way to the highest level of camp. As if the subject matter was not forward enough, Lewis' editing clearly demonstrates his lack of concern with plotting or characterization, as the camera holds on the disfigured remains of Fuad's victims much longer than it ever does for any of the characters in the film.
Using gallons of red paint and nearly an entire butcher's shop of animal entrails, BLOOD FEAST offers everything from a beach full of splattered brains, to a torn out tongue, a hacked off leg, and more in eye-popping color film stock! While this may not seem like much, the method in which the murders are filmed and the absolutely absurd amount of bright-red blood make these moments as memorable as they are completely revolting.
Herschell Gordon Lewis, the "Godfather of Gore," has left behind a bloody trail of influence in the wake of this seminal shocker. BLOOD FEAST has had a profound effect on countless young filmmakers, and will continue to live on in the annals of Horror for many years to come. -----------------------------------
Two Thousand Maniacs
A conveniently placed detour sign on a remote country road lands a group of Northern vacationers right smack dab in the middle of Pleasant Valley's Centennial celebration. The jovial Mayor Buckman invites the newcomers to participate in each of the town's festivities, but what the visitors don't know is that they are being lead to the slaughter as part of the locals' bloody revenge for a Civil War defeat! Herschell Gordon Lewis' drive-in classic TWO THOUSAND MANIACS is a vast improvement over his first gorefest, BLOOD FEAST, complete with a highly imaginative plot and several of the most memorable executions in shock cinema. Of the many carnival games the travelers 'participate' in, the bloodiest include a spiked barrel roll, a four-way horse race, and a smashing game of Hit the Target! The outrageously over-the-top acting and absurd dialog only add to the film's campy charm, but Lewis' no-budget approach to filmmaking only produces the same flat results in terms of the actual production. Regardless, TWO THOUSAND MANIACS is the Godfather of Gore's greatest film, and an early milestone in the history of splatter pictures. ----------------------------
Color Me Blood Red
His third gore film in three years, COLOR ME BLOOD RED is the last of the three pictures that make up Herschell Gordon Lewis' original 'Blood Trilogy.' It is also the most sophisticated of any of his films, and one that is likely his most personal. It tells the tale of Adam Sorg, a struggling artist that only finds success after he begins painting in his victims' blood! The theme of the tortured artist is taken to absurd new heights (or lows, rather) in this gruesome black comedy. Lewis instills his frustrations with his own lack of critical acclaim through his preferred medium, while commenting on how his only means of receiving any recognition in film was to include more blood and gore. Surprisingly, COLOR is even more visceral than either of the other entries in the series, containing everything from the disemboweling of a model to a brain-splattering shotgun blast to the face. Gordon Oas-Heim also provides an intense performance as the lead, closing out the thrilling climax with a bang! While it rarely ranks as a favorite among fans, this truly is one of Lewis' better films.
-Carl Manes I Like Horror Movies
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It ain't art, but it's funJune 16 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
It wasn't that long ago that going to the movies was a different experience. There were few multiplexes, and most theaters showed double features. When you went to the movies, you had to clarify that it was a "walk-in" theater because drive-ins were a popular alternative. It was a time when there were many low-budget movies produced by minor studios and making limited runs; these were a more charming version of the direct-to-video schlock that is made nowadays. H.G. Lewis was pretty successful at these low budget movies, especially with horror: Lewis was a pioneer in the field of gory movies, producing grisly movies decades before Jason, Freddy and Michael would make it standard film fare.
The so-called Blood Trilogy is actually three separate movies; the name was given in later years when they were released and shown as a set in theaters. The first film is Blood Feast, the tale of a madman killing young women to prepare a cannibalistic feast in honor of Ishtar. Lewis's formula is often the more blood, the better, but often the actual act of violence isn't really shown, only the result. We see the villainous Fuad Ramses making his attack, and we see the dead body, but we rarely see the actual stabbing (or other act). By many standards, this is a pretty awful movie: the acting is amateurish and the writing and sets are not much better, but it (and its two companion movies) has an Ed-Woodish appeal to it: it's in that so-bad-it's-good category that easily develops a cult following. It is also pretty much the first truly bloody movie, so even if flawed, it is a breakthrough film.
Two Thousand Maniacs is the best movie in the set, the tale of an isolated Southern town that lures unsuspecting Yankees to participate in a special celebration, which turns out to be the anniversary of some Union atrocities. Now, the residents are out to exact their own unique form of revenge against the North with murders taking place in a carnival-like atmosphere.
The final film is Color Me Blood Red, a take-off on House of Wax and Bucket of Blood with an artist achieving success through murder. In this case, it is a painter who discovers the color he needs to achieve his vision can only be gotten through blood. He apparently doesn't think of using animals (there wouldn't be much of a movie in this case). Instead, he starts with his girlfriend and moves on to people who wander too close to his home.
All three movies are pretty short and come with entertaining commentaries by Lewis and his producer which make it clear that they knew these were never going to win any Oscars. There are also trailers, a gallery of ads that show how these movies were promoted and a short subject on meat carving that features a very young Harvey Korman. Thanks to the movie Juno - which shows a small clip from Lewis's The Wizard of Gore, it is likely that Lewis will get some renewed interest. The Blood Trilogy set is a good way to be introduced to him with his first three horror flicks.