Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore [2010]

This is a very informative documentary which covers Herschell Gordon Lewis’s filmography show casing all of his films, paying particular attention to his gore films.  It also features many legendary filmmakers such a David Friedman, Doris Wishman, Bunny Yeager, and John Waters.  The filmmakers, cast and crew members, and film historians discuss the legacy of Herschell the Great through a series of interviews, commentary on behind the scenes footage, and commentary on clips from his films.  This documentary also explores his personal and his business relationships with David Friedman, which is interesting because Friedman too is legendary in the world of exploitation films.  This is a very well made, well-informed documentary which documents a classic era in filmmaking that may never be again.  Lewis set a new standard for horror and exploitation filmmaking whose influence is deep-rooted and far-reaching.

Directors:  Frank Henenlotter &  Jimmy Maslon

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Fight For Your Life [1977]

Fight for your life is highly offensive in its use of racism towards african americans and at times extremely difficult to watch .  Three escaped convicts hold middle class minister Ted Turner and his family hostage at gun point and proceed to taunt and degrade.  The dialogue is filled with inflammatory racist remarks that are very unsettling.  I myself am a fan of racial humor, but many of the remarks in this film far transcend the limits of humor or decency.  A good part of the film is dedicated to the torment of this poor family and it isn’t until the convicts sexually assault and rape, Ted Turner’s daughter that the family decides to revolt against their captors.  This film is a prime an example of exploitation filmmaking in it’s finest form guaranteed to be enjoyed by girndhouse era film junkies.

Directed By:  Robert A. Endelson   Written By: Straw Weisman

After Mein Kampf [1961]

After Mein Kampf is a sensational account of the inner workings of Der Third Reich.  Its humor lies in its subtleties, such as the over simplification of Hitler’s rise to power, and it’s menacing depiction of the Hitler Youth.  The film gives the overall impression that all german citizens are extreme nationalists to be feared.  The film mixes shots of authentic World War II footage, German soldiers singing patriotic songs, and various staged scene and uses humorous narration to tell the tale of fascism.  The movie poster  itself over exaggerates the film, there are no scenes of extreme nature and there are no crazy shocking scenes.  This is a must see for fans of exploitative educational scare films.

Directed & Written by:  Ralph Porter

What Is It? (2005)

“What Is It?” is the directorial debut of Crispin Glover.  All I can say is wow, this is a strange film.  The cast consists of a group of down syndrome people, three nude girls in masks, a prepubescent poster of Shirley Temple dressed as a nazi, a man in black face,  Crispin Glover, and quite a few snails.  Everything about this film is strange from the dialogue, to the sets, to editing used.  The film also uses an interesting soundtrack, noteworthy songs include one by Charles Manson, and one by segregationist singer songwriter Johnny Rebel.  Noteworthy scenes from the film include, a boy with down syndrome, attempting to glue a snail-shell together, while being interrogated by other snail (yes a talking snail), a man in black face injecting fluids from snails into his face, and an awesome scene where a praying mantis kicks a snails ass, causing it to fall to its death and crack its shell.  This film is the first part in a trilogy, to be followed by “It is Fine, Everything is Fine” and “It is Mine”.