“The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast Box Set” (17-Disc Limited Edition – Blu-ray + DVD)
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS (via the Arrow Video website):
- “Fourteen of the Godfather of Gore’s finest attractions, newly restored from original and best surviving vault materials: A Taste of Blood, Blood Feast, Color Me Blood Red, The Gore Gore Girls, The Gruesome Twosome, How to Make a Doll, Just for the Hell of It, Moonshine Mountain, Scum of the Earth, She-Devils on Wheels, Something Weird, This Stuff’ll Kill Ya!, Two Thousand Maniacs!, The Wizard of Gore
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the features and extras on 7 Blu-ray and 7 DVD discs
- Brand new introductions to the films by Lewis
- Hours of extras including newly-produced interviews and featurettes, commentaries, short films and much more
- Additional 2 bonus Blu-rays featuring 1.33:1 versions of Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste of Blood and The Wizard of Gore [limited editions exclusive]
- Additional bonus DVD: Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore documentary [limited editions exclusive]
- 28-page H.G. Lewis annual stuffed full with Lewis-themed activities plus archive promotional material [limited editions exclusive]
- Newly illustrated packaging by The Twins of Evil [Feast edition exclusive]”
COMMENTS: citing Herschell Gordon Lewis as an influence originally turned me on to the director. As a lifelong horror fan, it was Lewis’ horror titles I initially sought out. Blood Feast was my unforgettable introduction to the Godfather of Gore (a title the man earned)! They were not making films with graphic gore in 1963. The man was a pioneer.
Herschell Gordon Lewis has thirty-eight director credits listed on IMDB; I have seen twenty-five of these titles. Nudist camps, bikers, juvenile delinquents, rednecks, psychotic artists, mad magicians, cuckoo caterers: Lewis’ resume is a colorful one. Despite the “Godfather of Gore” moniker, only eleven of his thirty-eight films are horrors. This Arrow box set focuses on his horror films; nine of the fourteen titles are from the genre. Given the opportunity to put together my own H.G. Lewis box set I would have chosen every one of these titles with the exception of How to Make a Doll (I would have included Alley Tramp instead).
I own Something Weird Video copies of some of these titles, including a couple of their downloads. All are sketchy quality. Screenshot comparisons of the DVDs for Wizard of Gore, Blood Feast and This Stuff Will Kill Ya show that in all cases the Arrow Video discs had crisper images. This was particularly noticeable in facial features. The other big difference was in the color. The color differences on This Stuff Will Kill Ya and Blood Feast were severe. The Arrow versions all had a more natural hue. It makes so much more sense that the young woman killed in the opening scene of Blood Feast has blond, not blue, hair.
Scratching was comparable between the versions. Although the picture quality is superior in the Arrow editions, I do not like the format in which they chose to present some of the films. Some of the cropping is unfortunate and unnecessary. Arrow did include 2 bonus Blu-rays with 1.33:1 versions for Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste of Blood and The Wizard of Gore; I much prefer these versions. The Blu-rays were cleaner and crisper than the standard DVD versions, but not dramatically so.
The following message preceded The Gruesome Twosome: “The Gruesome Twosome has been exclusively restored for this release by Arrow Films. The film was restored in 2k resolution from a combination of 35mm prints, as the original negative has been lost. Due to the extremely poor condition of the film elements available this presentation exhibits extreme color fading that could be corrected to a minimal degree through digital grading. This presentation also includes occasional instances of damaged and missing frames that were impossible to restore digitally. There is occasional loose audio synch but this is as per the origin source materials.” Similar messages can be found on all the discs in the set.
The artwork by The Twins of Evil (a collaboration between Luke Insect and Kenn Goodall) on all of the packaging is fantastic. The 28-page H.G. Lewis annual hardcover book is absolutely hysterical! There is a paper doll with clothes for How to Make a Doll, a coloring book page for Color Me Blood Red (“artist Adam Sorg is struggling to finish off his latest masterpiece. He’s looking for just the right shade of red to colour his work with – can you help him? Tip! If you’re struggling, why not invite a friend around to lend a hand [or even a whole arm]?”), Hersch’s Fiendish word search, a 2000! Maniacs Maze (“Can you escape the 2000 maniacs! The town of madmen crazed for carnage…”) and more, including promotional materials. The bonus material is very impressive across the board. The new introductions for each film by Lewis are a hoot, and there are plenty of other informative and fun features included. This box set is a limited edition; only 2,500 are available in the U.S. This is one of the best film sets I have ever owned. Fans absolutely need to have this. It carries a hefty price tag but is well worth it.
Herschell Gordon Lewis died this past September at the age of 90. Round up the family, grab a jug of moonshine, throw on your favorite Lewis flick, and drink a toast to the Godfather of Gore this holiday season.
Here are the five favorites from the set I will be sharing with my family:
Blood Feast (1963) – Great gore, creative kills, tongue in cheek humor, an outrageously unforgettable killer, and a blood-thirsty Egyptian Goddess named Ishtar makes for an excessively entertaining 60ish minutes!
The Gore Gore Girls (1972) – Its cheeky humor, droll and devilishly sarcastic lead character Abraham Gentry, and graphic, creative gore make this a re-watchable horror classic.
Scum of the Earth (1963) – This early “roughie” is sleazy, funny, nasty and completely outrageous. Another memorable finale only Lewis could concoct!
The Wizard of Gore (1970) – Magician Montag is indeed The Wizard of Gore, bringing heaps of gooey and grotesque theatrics to his dastardly stage show! Great ghastly, gory fun with an unforgettable finale.
2000 Maniacs! (1964) – From its catchy theme song to its sick and twisted Civil War celebrations, 2000 Maniacs is more fun than getting pushed down a hill in a nail-lined barrel!