Special guest of this years Festival du film fantastique, (Horror Film Festival), in the Swiss city of Neuchâtel was Herschell Gordon Lewis. The 82- year old American filmmaker is considered to be the godfather of the Gore genre.
He made his first horror movie “Blood Feast” in 1963. Lewis started out with erotic movies in the 60s but when the market became invaded by other film directors he looked for another niche in the film market. His credo about film making is quite cynical.
“A good movie makes money, a bad movie loses money. What might there be that would be different enough from the major film companies that would catch attention and yet not so different that movie theatres would be totally afraid to play it, what might there be? And the answer came in a flash of light: Gore.”
Violence, blood and desire to scare cinemagoers has been part of film making history for a long time – Luis Bunuel made history with Un Chien Andalou in 1927, a surrealist shockfest that revolutionised editing and horrified audiences wherever it was seen.
Many famous film directors brought art to the visceral pleasures of fear, like David Cronenberg with “The Fly” in 1986.
Some gave the Gore/Horror genre a beserk twist as in the 1992 cult zombie comedy “Braindead” from Peter Jackson.
Elis Roth is today one of the most succesful Gore film directors – his two “Hostel“ low budget movies have made millions at the box office and as DVDs. For Elis Roth violence has a growing acceptance today.
“Violence on television is actually so strong now, Gore is ging to be just another ingredient; it’s really up to the film maker to decide how to use those ingredients.”
This year’s Neuchâtel festival also showed an Elis Roth retrospective, who made his first horror movie when he was 11 years old.
Godfather of Gore honoured at Neuchâtel Horror Film Festival