Monday, June 5, 2017

R.I.P.: Herschell Gordon Lewis – Godfather Of Gore, Part IX: 2010-16 + Addendum

15 June 1926 - 26 September 2016 

"He seen somethin' different. And he done it."

A seminal force in the world of trash filmmaking, he is considered the inventor of the modern gore film. (In theory, a position he holds with David F. Friedman, but when the partnership ended Friedman's true interest proved to be sexploitation.) To use his own, favorite words: "I've often compared Blood Feast (1963) to a Walt Whitman poem; it's no good, but it was the first of its kind." And a truly fun gore film, too — which makes it "good" in our view.
Unlike Blood Feast and his "better movies", many of the projects he worked on are unbearable cinematic experiences; but more than enough of the others are sublime, otherworldly, like the best of Ed Wood, Juan Piquer Simón or John Waters. Were it not for innovators like him, A Wasted Life probably wouldn't be.
One of the truly great has left the building.
The films below are not necessarily presented in the order they were made and/or released. 

Go here for Part I: 1953-60.
Go here for Part II: 1961-63.
Go here for Part III: 1964-66.
Go here for Part IV: 1967-68.
Go here for Part V: 1969-72.
Go here for Part VI: 1973-98.
Go here for Part VII: 2002-08.
Go here for Part VIII: 2009–10.

Tonight You Die
(2011, dir. Jim Roberts)
OK, numerous sites list HG Lewis as an "actor" in this super-obscure, low budget gore flick from Ohio filmmaker Jim Roberts who, according to Hellnotes, was (at the time of Nov 15, 2011) "an Electronic Media Production major at Kent State University". But nowhere online does Lewis make reference to this project, nor does he appear in the two trailers we found — but what the fuck, for the benefit of the doubt we'll list it here and supply the only plot description we found, and the only one used anywhere online. 
Trailer 1:
Way back in 2013, Independent Flicks said, "[...] The sun rose on the campsite, shedding light on the hellish carnage. A young woman's lifeless body was slumped against a tree, slashed open. Her husband lies nearby, in a mutilated heap. The fire flickers, revealing the charred remains of their unborn child. Who would commit such an atrocity? The police are clueless, but someone knows the truth. Fueled by a savage lust for revenge and a brutal appetite for death, they set out to find the killer in a blood-drenched quest for retribution. [...] The acting is so and so, but Tonight You Die makes up with it by its fast and furious pacing, good camerawork and editing, a nice soundtrack and unrelenting violence. Oh boy, this is one violent little flick and most of the stuff is of the realistic nature, gun shots, stabbing, being beaten to a pulp and much much more.This is gloriously gory, some stuff does happen off-screen but there's a lot happening onscreen. The makeup fx ranges from decent to very good. There's no T and A in this. [...] It's a very entertaining, violent and bloody ride with a few twists thrown in for good measure. Highly recommended but it might be hard to locate a copy as it hasn't gotten widespread distribution yet." 
Trailer 2:
Odd that he ("Daydreamer" from Sweden) doesn't make reference to an appearance of the great HGL.

 Death by VHS
(2013, dirs. David Sabal, Jacob D. O'Neal,
and Scarlet Fry [aka Walter Ruether])
Another regional no-budget movie involving the Arizonian Scarlet Fry [aka Walter Ruether]), he who brought you Nightmare Alley (2010; see Part VIII), and friends. Originally entitled Scream Machine, it was renamed Death by VHS when released, not in any way trying to ride on the success of the better-known anthology movie V/H/S (2012 / trailer), which was quickly followed by S-VHS aka V/H/S 2 (2013 / trailer). HGL — and John Waters, actually — are among the many names given "Special Thanks" in the credits.
Horror News, which says the movie is "extremely bad from front to back", has the basic plot of the 5-story anthology movie, which reads as if taken from a press release: "A battered and mysterious VCR… A bevy of lethal videotapes… These are the building blocks of horror in Death by VHS. A mind-blowing descent into madness and death. Five shocking vignettes, designed to take your sanity and devour your soul! Mild curiosity leads to severe consequences when a couple rents a supposedly cursed video cassette recorder. An urban legend renowned for leaving a trail of agonizing and torturous death. Unbelieving, they take the plunge… And another legend is horrifyingly born… Do you dare give fate a winning hand, and test yourself against the hellish consequences of the VHS machine? Insert Cassette Press Play…DIE!"
(Re)search My Trash — which says the movie is "Good fun, really!" — has the plots to the individual segments: "Suburban She Freak: Mary's (Courtney Morgan) face is weirdly disfigured, so she has ordered a beauty potion — that unfortunately turns her into a vampire ... Kim: In a world overrun by zombies, a radio announcer details his experiences of becoming a zombie ... Christmas Krampus: Mom (Tara Carlton) and dad (Rosasio LaMontagne) want to give their son (Jared Leve Squee) away for adoption because he's retarded — but he's got a friend: Evil Santa (Tony Sabal)! Regenerate: Paralyzed Ginny (Ali de Morgoli) suffers from constant verbal and physical abuse by her husband Paul (Walter Ruether), so much so that her best friend Stacy (Katie MacDowell) gives her some untested medication to improve her situation. Before the medication takes effect though, Paul kills Ginny. But the medication does kick in after death and ... Lepus: A man in an Easter bunny costume (Brian Everet Smith) terrorizes the city — so the Sheriff (Tyler Gallant) dresses up as Jesus (and might be Him even) to fight him ..."
Trailer to
Death by VHS:

(2013, dir. Jared Masters)

HGL gets a "grateful acknowledgment" — amidst a list of illustrious names featuring the best of classic low culture. Including Harry H. Novak, which is why we looked at this flick in Part XV of his R.I.P. career review, where we pretty much wrote: "Aka Virgin Leathers. Jared Masters, the founder of Frolic Pictures, is a 'self-taught Beethoven' who 'was expelled his freshman year of high school for streaking' and now makes independent sleaze horror flicks. That he might give 'Grateful Acknowledgement' to Herschell Gordon Lewis in the credits of one of his numerous flicks is hardly surprising, as Lewis's movies are surely a stylistic and contentual influence of this Young Turk. [...] The plot, as taken from the Frolic Films website: 'After the unexplained death of their Uncle Arlo, Kayla Nunez (Danika Galindo) and her sister (Jacqueline Larsen) venture to his home in the rural town of Wickenhaven. They plan to claim their share of his estate, but their trip takes a drastic turn after discovering that their uncle's house is occupied by a mysterious relative, Aunt May (Julia Faye West), who may be harboring deadly secrets. Complicating matters is the deranged, lust-filled tanning salon owner, Dale (Art Roberts), and his exotic wife, Joan (Dawna Lee Heising), whose business in designer handbags is the backbone to the entire town's economy, and possibly the darkest fashion controversy the world will ever know.'
Trailer to
Slink stars younger gals who look like wanna-be porn starlets, older gals who look like former porn starlets and/or plastic surgery addicts (in this regard, 'Joan', photo below, stands out in particular) and a variety of ugly men. The acting of Slink is postmodern bad, the sets cheap and the tale over the top — just our cup of tea, in other words.
But not that of Culture Crypt, which hates the flick, saying: 'Unquestionably, the single greatest drawback to reviewing low budget independent horror movies is that the job requires sitting through the entirety of something like Slink. [...] Gather up some friends and family with nothing better to do and use them to populate a cast and crew, no experience required. That is the starting point for Slink. From there, the filmmaking philosophy is simply to set each scene in a corner of a room haphazardly dressed to resemble something else and let the camera roll on whatever happens. [...] Any way it is sliced, Slink is a mess on all fronts. Performances are painfully embarrassing for everyone involved. Sets look like they were constructed for a high-school stage play. The music is out of place and thoroughly obnoxious. And the ending is one of the worst ever seen. [...]'
"The only complaint at Ain't It Cool News, however, is that the movie ends 'as if the camera ran out of film'. They go on to rave that '[...] though this one feels like it might have been done on the cheap, the idea behind it is strong and for the most part, Slink, though somewhat predictable, plays out pretty masterfully. [...] Basically this is one of those Motel Hell (1980 / trailer) type films where a down-home business makes its business off of the flesh of young women, but instead of Farmer Vincent's fritters, the youthful flesh is made into fashionable handbags, the likes of which Paris, Brittany, and Christina tote to the fashionable affairs [...]. Slink is a pretty tight little thriller with some nice twists along the way in terms of script. The film goes to some dark places [...]. I have to give the film credit for having a very corroded moral core and going to those dank places most horror films are afraid to go. The effects are pretty great and the directing itself does a really good job of maintaining its black tone throughout. [...] Though the evil tanning salon wenches are overly botoxed and siliconed, it fits the tone of the lifestyle the film is lampooning. This is a film about looks over everything else; a comment on the shallow lifestyle we live in, so the gratuitous nudity and NIP/TUCK (2003-10 / trailer) wet dream actresses serve more of a purpose than just window dressing.'

That's Sexploitation!
(2013, writ & dir Frank Henenlotter)

Trailer to
That's Sexploitation!:
Three years earlier, in 2010, Henenlotter made his first documentary, Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (see Part VIII). His follow-up documentary for Something Weird was this one, featuring HGL's former partner, "legendary schlockmeister David F. Friedman in his final movie appearance", as host of a comprehensive historical review of sexploitation. 
How innocent it sometimes was —
Why Girls Walk Home (1929):
As DVD Drive-In explains it, "[...] Having obtained over five hours of interview material from a frail, ailing Friedman at his Alabama home in 2011 (it was the last time either Henenlotter or Vraney saw Friedman alive; the producer died just months later), Henenlotter set out to make a doc chronicling the seven-decade evolution and death of the American sexploitation movie, with Friedman's interview as the glue holding together selected cuts from Vraney's vast collection of stag reels, peep show loops, nudie cuties, roughies, sex hygiene movies, burlesque shorts, and white coaters. It took Henenlotter two years to choose material and edit it down for the 136 minute-long That's Sexploitation! (unfortunately, Vraney died unexpectedly before the doc was completed), where it received good notices on the festival and art house circuits in 2013."
The DVD includes three and a half hours of short from the Something Weird vaults. 
Something Weird's
First Video Opener:
Creative Loafing, which calls the obvious labor of love a "highly informative documentary", goes on to explain that "Henenlotter examines the phenomenon of nudies, stag films, burlesque shorts, sex-hygiene pictures and other sordid and sensationalized types of lusty cinema that existed well outside the Hollywood mainstream. Ample clips are shown (including some from such notorious works as Mom and Dad [1945 / full movie], Marihuana [1936 / full movie / trailer] and The Immoral Mr. Teas [1959 / full movie]), and fascinating facts fly fast and furious. For instance, many of the theaters playing these controversial films offered separate showtimes for men and women; nickelodeons showing nudie reels were often tucked away in the back of otherwise reputable, all-ages arcades; and (according to Friedman) nudist films were popular in Germany during the 1930s since Hitler wanted to show off the supposedly superior physiques of his beloved Aryans. The early clips are often amusing (apparently, smoking pot can lead to such ghastly dangers as passionate kissing), while many from the drug-addled 60s prove to be experimental and bizarre in both form and content." 
Something Weird Video's
World-Famous Opener:

Terror Toons 3
(2015, dir. Joe Castro)
We were gonna start this with some obscure joke about how the only difference between Texas and the Chechen Republic is that when Texas gays disappear they go to California, but we'll sort of skip that and get straight to the movie, directed by Texas-born director Joe Castro (that's him below, the one without the wig), who co-wrote the script with his significant other, Steven J. Escobar.
Trailer to
Terror Toons 3:
Cultspeak, an interesting website that none of our computers like (it freezes on all four, or on XP, Windows 7 & 8), describes Joes Castro as "an independent filmmaker/special effects artist who has been working in the industry for over 20 years. His credits includes special effects work on films such as Night of the Demons 3 (1997 / trailer), William Lustig's Uncle Sam (1996 / trailer) and Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Feast 2 (2002) [Not to mention L.A. Zombie (2010 / trailer), a movie high on our "To See" list.]. […] Terror Toons 3 […] the third installment in filmmaker Joe Castro's madcap gory trilogy. The first film in the series, Terror Toons (2002 / trailer), took the violent nature of classic Warner Bros. cartoons to their natural gory conclusion. The second, Terror Toons 2 (2007 / trailer), drew a lot of its inspiration from fairy tales. This latest installment combines both. The film begins with a segment picking up where Terror Toons left off, seeing the resurrection of murderous cartoon villains Dr. Carnage and Max Assassin. It then segues into an interconnected series of updated fairy tales narrated by none other than the Godfather of Gore himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis!"
In the interview found at Cultspeak, Castro talks about how he worked on Lewis's Blood Feast 2: "I think within 10 minutes after arriving on set after getting in from the airport, Herschell and I just hit it off. Somebody was supposed to be stuck with a knife and it was supposed to be protruding out of the skull. I said, 'How big of a knife sticking out of her?' He said, 'Well, what do we have?' I turned to him and said, 'Whatever you envision, that's what we have.' He then knew immediately that we were going to work well together."
And, indeed, Lewis spoke about his involvement in Terror Toons 3 over at Rue Morgue, saying: "This is the ancient joke—when Joe Castro says 'Jump', my answer is 'How far?' I love this guy, I love his talent. He's one of the most underappreciated people in the splatter film world, and I'm very, very delighted to be involved in this thing with him. We worked out a situation in which he felt, and I do too, that my position in it would not be that negative of a factor [Laughs]. So, who can say no to that?"
Worldwide Celluloid Massacre rates the flick — as it does Parts 1 & 2 — "Of Some Interest", saying: "Castro pushes the pedal to the metal for this sequel, going as extremely over-the-top as possible into complete toon-mayhem as the evil toon dimension takes over this world. […] The effects are a combination of mostly very cheap digital effects, some practical effects, animation, puppets and insanity. Everything is distorted and their shape and size keep changing like in a cartoon, nothing obeys the laws of physics, everyone turns into mutated human-toon-monster hybrids, their bodies exploding and distorting in extreme splattery effects […], and all of this with a gleefully violent toon giggling humor. There is not much plot, and it is more about the various insane segments of splattery mayhem, anything-goes fantasy, and random violence, and, obviously, actors act over-the-top while the scenery chews them. Once again, terrible and entertaining at the same time." 
As for "Violent Toons",
We're fans of Happy Tree Friends:

Ballet of Blood
(2015, writ & dir Jared Masters)

Jared Masters, the 'self-taught Beethoven' behind Slink aka Virgin Leathers — see further above — offers another poorly received movie, the credits of which are awash with "In Memory Of's" and "Special Thanks" — the man simply knows and appreciates his influences. Ballet of Blood sounds like the Columbine Massacre by way of Suspiria (1977 / trailer), while the trailer has an oddly Jean Rollins appeal, but we admit that we haven't seen it — few people have.
(Re)search My Trash, one of the few who have, has the plot: "The reputation of a prestigious ballet school is at stake when one of the students, Nisa (Sydney Ray), storms in wielding a submachine gun and injuring the school's prima ballerina, Sylvie (Mindy Robinson) and thus pretty much ending her career, and on top of that making a getaway. But the school's owner Wren (Julia Faye West) and head teacher Delphine (Laura Amelia) do everything to keep the story under lock and key, which includes shipping Ria (Jessica Knopf), the girl who provided Nisa with the gun, away to a mental institution and working the other girls even harder. But of course, an attempted murder like this doesn't just go away like this just because you wish it to, as Nisa hides out nearby planning her next strike, and Ria escapes from the mental institution to reunite with Nisa, and Nisa sees the now heavily medicated Ria as her perfect tool. Among the students of the academy, only Maren (Marla Martinez), a wannabe writer, seems to have an idea what the girls are planning, as she knows what they have been through and writes a novel about it — but she's considered a nerd by the others, so basically her warnings fall on death ears ... but of course, the inevitable is going to happen eventually..." 
Trailer to
Ballet of Blood:

Scream Machine
(2015, dir. Scarlet Fry [aka Walter Ruether])

Another regional no-budget movie involving the Arizonian Scarlet Fry [aka Walter Ruether]), he who brought you Nightmare Alley (2010; see Part VIII) and Death by VHS (2013). In fact, Scream Machine was the originally intended title for Death by VHS, and like Death by VHS, it's a horror anthology. HGL gets his almost standard-for-a-fry-movie "Special Thanks" in the credits.
Trailer to
Scream Machine:
Fry divides the few who have ever seen one his anthology films. Repulsive Reviews is one of the nay-sayers: "It's obvious that writer/director/producer Scarlet Fry aka Walter Ruether III is a fan of all things horror and that can be an admirable trait in a filmmaker. However, his film Scream Machine is less of a love letter to genre greats and more of an insult."
Canticle Cinema House, on the other hand, is a yay-sayer: "Scream Machine is a great film that not only is funny but also disgusting. The plot is out there and while not original it gives it a unique spin. [...] Overall the acting was on point to make a rather funny movie. I love the 5 short films that are combined to create one long film because it allowed a more dynamic range of emotions, hilarity, and gore to be shown. The one thing I definitely enjoyed was the sound effects and the music. It added a flair of character to the film. If you get a chance to see this film do yourself a favor and watch it, you will die from laughing."

B.C. Butcher
(2016, dir. Kansas Bowling)

HGL's name is found amidst the long list of those deserving "Special Thanks". Filmed in Topanga, California, USA, and written by Ms. Bowling and Kenzie Givens, as far as we can tell B.C. Butcher is also Ms. Bowling's feature film directorial debut, though she appears to have a load of short-film and music-video credits.
Young filmmakers take note: "At only 17, Kansas directed, co-wrote, and funded her own feature film, entirely shot on 16mm, called B.C. Butcher." Yep, she made her first film at the same age most kids lose their virginity* — impressive. Special guest star: Kato Kaelin, a name no one remembers anymore, unless you're into celebrity true crime. 
* According to TeenVogue, who list as their source as SuperDrug Online Doctor, which used "heterosexual vaginal intercourse" as the definition of virginity loss, the average age of virginity loss for American men is 16.9 years old, and the average age for American women is 17.2 years old.
Trailer to
B.C. Butcher:
Over at Kinky Korner, after admitting that she "thought he [Kato Kaelin] was a super stud and used to rub it out to him during my formative teen years", her hotness Diana Prince (a.k.a. Kasey Poteet aka Kasey Kroft, pictured below) gives the film an honest but positive review: "What do you get when you mix elements of a slasher film, punk rock, Kato Kaelin and the stone age? You get B.C. Butcher, directed by Kansas Bowling [...]. 
"At its core, B.C. Butcher is a simple slasher film; A group of cavewoman, led by the boastful Neandra (Leilani Fideler), tie up, gut and then eat said guts of another cavewoman, all because Neandra suspects her man Rex (Kato Kaelin) is in love with the other woman, but it's actually the B.C. Butcher (hence the title)! Funny thing is, you get the sneaking suspicion that Rex is gay. After that, it's pretty formulaic, but it's in no way a cookie-cutter clone of some other film or boring. One by one the girl's fall victim to the monster (Dwayne 'Not the Rock' Johnson) as he disposes of them. The monster himself is just a buff dude in a mask, which is part of the cheesy, low budget fun, but the biggest shock and surprise was seeing Kato Kaelin show up in a primitive slasher movie from Troma. You all remember him from the O.J. Simpson trial, don't you? Holy shit, am I really that old? [...]" 
The Original Promo:

Blood Feast
(2016, dir. Marcel Walz)

Filmed in Paris, Miami, and Heidelberg, nice places one and all. Imagine that! Blood Feast (1963) gets an official — and serious — remake. Not all that unimaginable, actually, if you consider that 2000 Maniacs (1964) and Wizard of Gore (1970) have also already been remade. But in this remake, unlike the others, HGL "has a skyped-in cameo as Professor Lou Herschell".
Trailer to
Blood Feast:
Bloody Disgusting, like many websites, has what seems to be the press release synopsis: "Fuad Ramses (Robert Rusler) and his family have moved from the United States to France, where they run an American diner. Since business is not going too well, Fuad also works nightshifts in a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. During these long, lonely nights he becomes allured by goddess Ishtar (Sadie Katz) as she speaks to him in visions. Eventually he succumbs to her deadly charms. After this pivotal night, Fuad begins a new life, in which murder and cannibalism become his daily bread. As butchered bodies are heaped upon the Altar of Ishtar, Fuad slowly slips further into madness, until he is no more than the goddess's puppet…"
Regarding Fuad's situation, Severed Cinema states, "I'd hate to see what kind of murderous visions he would have if he worked in a store selling dildos, maybe of the Egyptian variety?"

But is the new version any good? Dunno — but it seems to be dreadfully serious. As The Terror Time states, "The tone of this remake and the original couldn't be any more different. [...] The original is a gory, late-night horror party viewing while this remake is played with dread and seriousness while mixing in commentary regarding those who struggle with mental illness and financial hardship."

Robert Rusler, by the way, played the obscure object of desire in Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy's Revenge (1985), a film often discussed homosexual "subtext"; what we find odd is that for all the discussion on its subtext, no one ever brings up that the subtext is actually extremely anti-gay. (Still, Rusler made a damn fine obscure object of desire.) As for the Mrs. Ramses of the movie, she's played by Caroline Williams, who made her first film appearance somewhere (where?) in the rather entertaining satire Smile (1975 / trailer). More deserving of note is her lead role in the shamefully underappreciated satire The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986 / trailer), a truly funny black comedy. Lastly, the family daughter Louise Ramses is played by the "London-born Australian pop singer, actress and model" and former Playboy Playmate Sophie Monk (34C-24-35), above; she's a rarity among contemporary Playmates in that she is 100% all natural. She can also be found in two other earlier horror movies, The Hills Run Red (2009 / trailer) and Life Blood (2009 / trailer), the last of which we looked at briefly in our R.I.P. career review of Charles Napier.

They Came from the Swamp:
The Films of William Grefé
(2016, dir. Daniel Griffith)

"I don't know why anyone would make a 123-minute documentary about [William Grefe], but I am sure as hell glad someone did. The director of record is Daniel Griffith, who made a name for himself creating featurettes and small-scale documentaries as DVD extra features."

"A fascinating figure in the '60s and '70s drive-in scene often overlooked in favor of his peers, the Florida-based Bill Grefé managed to dip his toes in several trends with a high rate of financial success. Most video collectors know him now through the killer snake favorite Stanley (1972 / trailer) and the immortal Something Weird double bill of Sting of Death (1965 / scene) and Death Curse of Tartu (1966 / trailer), a pairing carried over from their original theatrical engagements. However, he also dabbled in biker films (The Wild Rebels [1967 / trailer]), drugsploitation (The Hooked Generation [1968], also out from SW), thrillers (the bizarro Rita Hayworth vehicle The Naked Zoo [1970 / trailer] and even crazier William Shatner film Impulse [1974 / fan-made "trailer"]), sharksploitation (Mako: The Jaws of Death [1976/ trailer]), and even an early stab at car racing thrills with Checkered Flag (1963 / full movie) and Racing Fever (1964 / trailer)." [Mondo Digital] 
Trailer to
They Came from the Swamp:
HGL is among the talking heads, as are David F. Friedman, Frank Henenlotter and Fred Olen Ray, and both William Grefe and a variety of his actors and crew also come to word, including Randy Grinter of Brad F. Grinter's classic disasterpiece Blood Freak (1972 / trailer), and American singer and former teen idol Steve Alaimo, who has the dubious honor of having "had nine singles to chart in the Billboard Hot 100 without once reaching the Top 40 in his career, the most by any artist".
Of the "name" actors that worked with Grefe — i.e., Jeremy Slate (who?), Alex Rocco (of Return to Horror High [1987]), Mickey Rooney, Richard Jaeckel (who?), Christopher George, Rita "Yes, I look like I am and I am suffering from Alzheimer's" Hayworth (!), and William Shatner — Shatner is the only one that comes to word, possibly because all the others were dead by the time this documentary was made. In theory, death should've also kept the forgotten character actor John Davis Chandler (28 Jan 1935 – 16 Feb 2010, of Mad Dog Coll [1961] and Moon of the Wolf [1972], among many films) from participating, but the filmmakers dug up a usable interview from 2008.
"Director Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures has given Grefé a long overdue retrospect of his career in They Came from the Swamp, not so much a documentary as a 126-minute love letter to Bill Grefé and his work. With interviews and footage, we revisit the glory days of exploitation and low budget films. In the case of Racing Fever (1964), Grefé purchased amateur footage of a fatal speedboat to use in the film, saving a fortunate in recreating such an accident as a stunt. [...] And then there's Impulse (1974), with William Shatner as a sociopathic, leisure-suit-wearing, gigolo who bilks women of their fortunes before killing them. The backstage stories are almost as legendary as the film, with stories like Shatner supposed hanging Harold Sakata, only to realize the stunt rig had failed and Sakata was actually strangling. Shatner grabbed Sakata and held him aloft until the crew realized they weren't improvising." [Hellnotes]

Killer Campout
(2016, dir. Brad Twigg)

Currently in post production, HGL died while the movie was still being made. From the Martinsburg, West Virginia, [independent] director of the mis-titled Milfs vs. Zombies (2015 / trailer) — which shudda bin titled "Moms vs. Zombies" — take a gander of the trailer to see what we mean. Or maybe they simply have a different concept of MILF in West Virginia.
West Virginia. Beautiful state. Drove through a few times. The 9th smallest state with the second-lowest average household income in the US, WV, the 7th most "highly religious" state in the United States, has some pretty good music. As odd as it might sound, WV actually broke away from Virginia — the state where we was born, which is almost as purty — during the civil war to join the Union. And Trump carried it, but enough trivia...

HGL supposedly supplied his voice for something, somewhere in Killer Campout. 
Trailer to
Killer Campout: 

The plot description found online at places like Arrow in the Head says "Two youth counselors bring a group of emotionally troubled teens deep into the woods for a weekend of solitude and confrontational therapy. The trip turns deadly when the group is terrorized by a cannibalistic hermit with a thirst for blood."
Horror Society says pretty much the same: "Two youth counselors take a group of troubled teens on a weekend camping trip deep in the forest. The trip turns deadly when the group cross paths with a cannibalistic Vietnam vet who is thirsty for blood." (Hmm; we thought "group" takes singular conjunction of the verb in American English.)

Two other familiar names are supposedly also active in the movie. John A. Russo, co-creator of the classic Night of theLiving Dead (1968), is there as "Burt", says the imdb. After Night, by the way, Russo went on to write and direct The Booby Hatch (1976 / trailer), Heartstopper (1989 / trailer) and Santa Claws (1996 / trailer), among other fun (?) stuff. More obscure is the Baltimorian George M. Stover, Jr., of Female Trouble (1974 / trailer), the masterpiece that is Desperate Living (1977), and The Galaxy Invader (1985 / trailer), among others. At least in the John Waters' films, he always looked his part. Now a retired man, he does a lot of independent films — all the power to you, dude!
All the power to Brad Twigg, too. 
Trailer to
John Water's Desperate Living:

Herschell Gordon Lewis' BloodMania
(2016, dir. Herschell Gordon Lewis,
Kevin Littlelight & Melanie Reinboldt)

"It is a perfect combination of satirical comedy and horror."
Herschell Gordon Lewis

Shot in Calgary, a long way away from Florida. The project HGL was working on when he died: an anthology movie of four episodes, two of which were directed by Lewis, and two of which were directed by Kevin Littlelight & Melanie Reinboldt. 

Doctor Gore
(1972, dir. J.G. Patterson Jr.)
Aka The Body Shop, filmed as Anitra, going by a clapboard seen in one shot. When re-released on video in the 1980s, the movie was given an added introduction by Herschell Gordon Lewis himself. (About which DVD Drive-In is driven to say: "An alternate title sequence for Doctor Gore [...] includes an introduction by Herschell Gordon Lewis touting Patterson as 'The Master of Gore'. Yeah right. How much did they pay the real Master to say that?")
H.G. Lewis introduces the "lost" film,
Doctor Gore:
J.G. Patterson Jr. is a now forgotten but intriguing regional filmmaker / scriptwriter / film producer / occasional actor / special effects artist, and as such worked with HGL on four of Lewis's projects: Moonshine Mountain (1964), The Gruesome Twosome (1967), She-Devils on Wheels (1968) and How to Make a Doll (1968).

According to Brian Albright's book Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews, Patterson Jr.'s full name was Junius Gustavious "Pat" Patterson, Jr., and he died of cancer in 1975. Elsewhere, we learned that he was the son of Alice Lumpkin and Junius Gustavas Patterson Sr, and that he was born on 11 January 1930 and died in the town of Salisbury, Rowan County, NC, on 30 June 1975. He's buried alongside his wife Juanita Shaw Patterson (1 May 1931 – 30 Sept 2009) at Lawing's Chapel Baptist Church Cemetery in Maiden, NC, Catawba County.
Doctor Gore is one of Patterson's only two films that he (aside from writing, producing and acting in) directed, the other being The Electric Chair (1976 / trailer), though he supposedly also did assistant directorial chores on Donn Davison's obscure (and obviously lost) movie, Obscenity, Obscenity (1970).
The "music" to Doctor Gore was supplied by the legendary William Girdler (22 Oct 1947 – 21 Jan 1978). At the William Girdler website, they say: "Doctor Gore makes Bill Girdler's cheapest pictures (think Three on a Meathook [1973 / trailer] or Asylum of Satan [1972 / trailer]) look like high art. [...] On the surface, Doctor Gore might seem like a campy good time, what with its 'clear day for stormy night' shots and not-so-special effects that include tinfoil and duct tape. Let me make it perfectly clear: Doctor Gore is NOT a campy good time. Unless you're the type who thinks colon cancer screening is a hoot and a half. [...] To be blunt, this film is pure rot. [...] Originally titled The Body Shop, [...] The Body Shop is said to have enjoyed a limited release in North Carolina (where it was filmed) circa 1974. [...] Friends of Pat remember him fondly as a multi-talented, warm-hearted man who was often hornswaggled by fast-talking film folks. In his day, he was best known for his ability to produce highly effective gore effects for very little money or recognition." 
The Movie's Signature C&W Song,
Bill Hicks and the Rainbows'
A Heart Dies Every Minute:
Balladeer's Blog, on the other hand, seems to appreciate the movie a bit more, claiming that Doctor Gore / The Body Shop is a "Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following."
Classic Horror has the plot: "Dr. Brandon (Patterson, under his pseudonym of 'Don Brandon, America's No. 1 Magician') mourns the death of his wife, but then reminds himself that he's a mad scientist and he can just resurrect her. Whether he's actually using her body to do it is unclear, but he does try to bring some female to life using his patented Jiffy Pop Method of securing the body under tin foil with duct tape and then switching on the electrical whirligigs. He leaves the microwaves on too long, though, and the body just burns. Oh, well. Hunchbacked assistant Gregory (Roy Mehaffey) just drops the failure in the requisite vat of acid. Brandon begins anew, taking the best parts from different, fresher specimens. Oh boy..."
He finally succeeds and creates Anitra (Jenny Driggers, who went on to appear in Jim Cinque's Night of the Cat [1973 / funky soundtrack]). 
The Original Trailer to
Dr. Gore:

Blood Diner
(1987, dir. Jackie Kong)

Considering we saw this film years ago, we are amazed that we didn't immediately link this prime slice of mid-80s exploiter to HGL's Blood Feast (1963). But then a light went on when we read the following in a talk transcribed at Cinema Knife Fight: "I thought it [Blood Feast II (2002)] was a fun enough sequel, packed with plenty of classic Lewis-splatter and goofiness, although I thought Jackie Kong's unofficial 1987 sequel, Blood Diner, was a much better film." 
Later we read somewhere that Blood Diner actually began as a sequel, but was changed when agreements could not be reached between the original makers and the new ones; other sites, on the other hand, simply claim the film is simply an homage or "inspired by" — who cares, the link is obviously there when you watch the movie.

"We interrupt this program to give you an important news bulletin: A suspect in the Happy Times All-Girls Glee Club slaying has fled the scene and managed to elude the police. He is armed and dangerous, and has been spotted in the West Side area, armed with a meat cleaver in one hand and his genitals in the other."
Radio News Broadcaster 

366 Movies has the plot: "At the direction of their uncle Anwar (Drew Godderis), a talking brain in a jar, two restaurateur brothers [Michael (Rick Burks, 27 July 1960 – 19 Feb 1989) and George Tutman (Carl Crew of The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer [1993 / full film])] assemble a vessel composed of body parts harvested from immoral women to receive the spirit of the ancient Egyptian goddess Sheetar (Tanya Papanicolas). They are opposed by a pair of mismatched cops (LaNette LaFrance and Roger Dauer) and the owner of a rival vegetarian restaurant intent on stealing their secret recipe.  After many bloody murders, they must complete only the last ritual, a 'Lumerian feast' where Sheetar will take the life of a virgin, along with the attendees at the banquet." 
Trailer to
Blood Diner:

The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre rates Blood Diner "Of Some Interest", claiming it's "Dumb splatter fun wrapped in one of the happiest gore movies ever made."
TV Guide, on the other hand, gives it one star and bemoans, "Although directed by a woman, Blood Diner's consciousness is no more heightened than that of I Spit on Your Grave (1978 / trailer) or Maniac (1980 / trailer). [...] Moreover, director Kong injects the sort of contempt for the original material that ruins most horror satires. There's nothing the least bit redeeming about Blood Diner."
We have to admit that when caught the flick, aside from the '80s LA and the gore and the humor, we really dug all the '80s fashion and found the untrimmed bush, well, extremely noticeable if nothing else. We would watch it again, in any event (the film, we mean).
Director Jackie Kong's other movies include the odd but aggravating bad horror movie The Being (1983 / trailer) and two unmemorable comedies, Night Patrol (1984 / trailer) and The Underachievers (1987 / full movie). Since then, she's not really done anything in the film biz and has reached a level where a fact like "Her mother Anita was a friend of Marlon Brando" is considered noteworthy enough to be added to her imdb Trivia page. Her bio page there seems to be all wrong, and she might currently be a real estate agent.
Blood Diner was written by Michael Sonye, better known as Dukey Flyswatter, who has appeared in an occasional movie, ranging from Surf Nazis Must Die (1987 / trailer) to Bettie Page: Dark Angel (2004 / trailer); he was also a supposed co-scribe of the unbelievably incompetent slice of entertaining shit that is Frozen Scream (1975 / trailer) and did music for the simply crappy indi-horror, The Dead Hate the Living (2000 / trailer).

Blood Diner (unlike Jackie Kong's other three films), was not produced by her then-husband, Bill Osco, better known as the producer of the "first" modern feature porno movie with a plot Mona: The Virgin Nymph (1970), the classic soft-core comedy Flesh Gordon (1974 / trailer), the entertaining and odd Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy (1976 / trailer), and more. Instead, Jimmy Maslon was the man. He later also produced Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002), among other stuff, and co-directed Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010).

Herschell Gordon Lewis
May He R.I.P. —
and His Films Last Forever.

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