The Wizard of Gore (1970)
Back in 1999 or 2000 I was reading Disco Bloodbath by James St. James, which tells the story of the infamous NYC "murder in clubland" during the peak of the Limelight party era. In this book James claims that the party-boy murderer, Michael Alig, was hooked on old low budget horror films (among other things), and his party Blood Feast was a result of this obsession. I investigated further and discovered Blood Feast, and Lewis immediately became one of my favorite horror filmmakers.
Herschell Gordon Lewis is, quite simply, a genius. Even more than just from a film lover's point of view - the man writes scores to his own films, so as a musician I have an even deeper respect for the man . The Wizard of Gore might just be my favorite Lewis film of all time. The main character Montag looks like someone's drunken uncle, but he is a magician/murderer that mauls women on stage, stabbing and sawing them into a bloody pile of organs. The illusion is that the audience sees this happen, but the participants do not actually die . . . they walk off stage in one piece (that is, until they go home). Bodies begin turning up, cut up and mutilated the same way they were on stage. Pure genius.
It seems to be a trend in Lewis's films to torture and murder women, and this film is no exception. Some think of him as a pervert, or a psychopath, because of the bloody gore and sex that is so prevalent in every one of his films - I think this just makes him a bona fide genius and artist.
The movie has been resurrected, with Crispin Glover playing Montag. That's right, good old Marty McFly aka Willard the Rat Collector. I think he will do the character justice - as a matter of fact, I can't think of a single actor I'd rather see play this lead. However, there is no possible way that Jeremy Kasten will be able to mimic the low budget cinematography, disturbing music, and 70's feel of any Lewis film. Nonetheless, I have never been this excited for a remake . . .
For more info on the new film, check out www.wizardofgorethemovie.com