Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis (Vinegar Syndrome)

The first time I became familiar with H.G. Lewis (that's how we referred to him when I got to his pictures) I watched a man dismember women and turn them into a feast. A feast of blood. Shortly thereafter I would see 2000 Maniacs (give or take a couple thousand) try to torture and kill a few lost Yankees in the Southland. Then there was a man Wizard... a Wizard of GORE! And so on and so forth. I became enamoured with the Crayola red of Herschell Gordon Lewis. I love his chewed up stump arms and legs. Eyeballs a popping. Simple organ music with two alternating notes pulsing out the clock of doomsday. My VHS cheap-o pile was always filled with one of his movies. That is until I became more familiar with the other side of Lewis.

H.G. Lewis didn't just make horror pictures. He's not just a video nasti-teer. Lewis also made movies with plots and stories and sex and boobies and not all of it's that exciting. I'll be right up front with you; as a horror fan, watching The Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis was somewhat trying at times. I wanted the carnage and the gore and the things I loved from my childhood. Not that we're talking about intellectual films that require more brain power than Viagra prescription. The three films featured on this set of films are meant to make you horny, so that when you're at the drive-in movie theater trying to play hide the Salami, you have a fighting chance. No gore. More boob.

I say this jokingly of course. The stories may be somewhat week or at least I'm out of their element, but they're actually quite beautifully shot. The colors are vivid. Especially the reds and the blues. They are watchable films with stories (dirty stories, but dime store works too). More like portraits of strange erotic moments in life rather than out and out narratives.

The three previously unreleased films on this compilation are ...

Ecstasies of Women

"A torrid comedy/drama set in the swinging world of the late 60's Los Angeles" 

Terror note: consider this a look at how your parents got around to making you. This is the sort of thing I remember seeing on the Something Weird releases that kinda sorta bored me (and yet kept my attention for about two minutes). Women dancing topless... I've never been to a strip club. Fact. (Go-Go Bar... different story).

Linda and Abilene

"Combines the savagery of classic Hollywood western with sequences of intense eroticism"

Terror note: Cowboy porn with a smoking hot lead... and a guy who looks like an extra from the Virginian (or name your own Western). Classic western music. Strange cuts. My favorite of the three. Surprise lesbian scene with smooth jazz chaser.

Black Love

"Exposes the lovemaking habits of the contemporary black couple through a series of amusing and creative vignettes"

Terror note: What the fuck!? Explain yourself! John Q. Black Productions? You have to fucking watch this to even remotely try to handle it. "Black love is different than any other form of lovemaking".....? You watch this. There ain't an afro big enough for me to express how strange this one makes you feel. I'm pretty sure you can't not laugh at this (and I just used a double negative on purpose!)

This release comes with a handsome negative card, a little history booklet that is extremely tasteful in contrast to the content of the film. A real beaut. This is the first time these movies are making it to home video, but I can assure you that if you've seen the Something Weird H.G. Lewis releases and enjoyed them then this a collection that you will enjoy, learn something from and feel pretty damn satisfied with at the end of the day.

Full Specs:

Features Include:
+ Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack (BD50/DVD9) Region Free | 1.37:1 AR | MONO
+ Original theatrical trailers for each film
+ Special edition lab cards for each film
+ Extensive historical liner notes by Casey Scott

So horror fans... maybe nothing for you here, but maybe... just maybe... you want to watch something a little bit dirty and a little bit funny but definitely pretty and with a whole lot of machete screaming jungle bush. This is for you, and you'll probably enjoy it. Try not to keep that pinky in the air as you watch it holding your cup of tea trying to analyze Lewis' work. 

You can pick it up from DiabolikDVD HERE and stop by the Vinegar Syndrome site to enjoy their entire catalog. Their restorations and preservations and transfers are dreamy. 


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