Culture remains a fickle beast. In this serious of articles, members of the Committee get together and discuss which film directors have been given an unfair deal. Because, every yen needs a yang, we analyze which ones are being indulged when they should be vilified.
Saved from Purgatory of Bad Filmmaking: Herschell Gordan Lewis
Affectionately dubbed “The Godfather of Gore.” Herschell Gordon Lewis gained fame in the early 1960s as the author of several gore and blood spatter films. What would be considered laughable today, in the early 60s was considered the greatest depiction of violence to ever appear on the screen up until that time.
When you consider the horror films worldwide at the time, notably those from horror leader at the time, Hammer Films, there is a drastic level more violence in Lewis’ films than everyone of Hammer’s out together.
One must take into account, of course that Lewis’ films were all poverty row films, ie a step above art born. Though not a very big step at that. As well, in step with the era of films. the violence in Lewis’ films center mainly on violence against women.
I guess one has to crawl before they are able to walk .
As Den of Geek tells us in a tribute to Lewis after his passing –
“Lewis had seen Psycho and wondered what would happen if a similarly macabre storyline was shot but with the murders shown in graphic detail, instead of just seeing the aftermath. The result was Blood Feast (1963), a psychotronic gem that’s inarguably the first splatter movie, almost certainly the first proper slasher movie and by miles the goriest thing ever made up until that point in time. I can’t imagine the impact it would’ve had seeing something like that for the first time when it was released.”
Still, for better or worse, Lewis knew the type of films he was making weren’t going to win him any awards. He was in it for the money. There was a call for a product and Lewis provided it. He made a lot of money providing it, as well.
The Committee therefore, extracts Herschell Gordon Lewis from the purgatory of bad film making.
Committed in his place: Eli Roth
For the fans of Eli Roth, please stop reading now, because I am about to get Hostel on Roth’s inability to make a decent film. I wait for the laughing before continuing.
Eli Roth’s niche as a director seems to be that of torture porn. Wikipedia describes torture porn as such –
A splatter film is a subgenre of horror film that deliberately focuses on graphic portrayals of gore and graphic violence. These films, usually through the use of special effects, display a fascination with the vulnerability of the human body and the theatricality of its mutilation. The term “splatter cinema” was coined by George A. Romero to describe his film Dawn of the Dead, though Dawn of the Dead is generally considered by critics to have higher aspirations, such as social commentary, than to be simply exploitative for its own sake.
During the late 20th and early-21st centuries, the use of graphic violence in cinema has been labeled “torture porn” or “gorno” (a portmanteau of “gore” and “porno”).By contrast, films such as Braindead, Evil Dead II and to some extent Dawn of the Dead, all of which feature over-the-top gore, can be construed as comedic, and fall into the category of splatstick.
It isn’t degrading or exploitative. Instead, the nicest label one could use for the genre and, coincidentally, Roth’s films, PLAIN CRAP. Plain everyday people, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Then, the torture begins. A stupid person, makes a stupid and grotesque hillbillies rain holy hell on the morons. Over and over again. By this time, you’re asleep and really don’t give a flying f*ck. You just wan t to get into car, find Eli Roth and then bitch slap him for every second you paid attention to the movie. Cabin Fever, Hostel, Hostel II, The Green Inferno, coincided inspired by the 1980 Italian film Cannibal Holocaust, are all pieces of garbage.
As such, the Committee proudly bans Eli Roth to the purgatory of bad film making.