Happy Birthday, HG Lewis!!! A Celebration of His Wild Late 60’s (1966-70)

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to The Godfather of Gore, HG Lewis!

A lot has been mentioned about his wild production after parting ways with David F. Friedman as the Mighty Monarch went West and teamed up with Dan Sonney, but in a way some thing need to be a bit detailed.

First, here’s the final of the Blood Trilogy, playing Toledo on 9/24/65. The film was originally announced as The Devil Wears Clodhoppers in Boxoffice on 4/6/64, and by the 4/20 issue, it was completed, reportedly by Friedman just around the time he moved to LA and did work on My Tale is Hot.

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After releasing Moonshine Mountain, Lewis was trying out different kinds of films to release to very mixed results. This would result in the much talked about crazy group of films that makes his film career so special!

In the 5/22/66 edition of Boxoffice, “The Enchanted Globe” was announced, although it wound up being Jimmy the Boy Wonder. As you can tell, Lewis and Children’s films are a very “water and oil” combination…


10/12/66 saw the announcement of the completion of Jimmy, The New Mother Goose, Something Weird, and Suburban Roulette! At least two of these films are at least highly respected Lewis flicks, but The New Mother Goose is actually a very interesting example of Lewis as “Payed Mercenary”, filming a children’s show starring Ray Huston. This group of films reflected Lewis’ aims to try to expand his style in order to be a one-man film business with dedicated co-workers as well as developing a film service for cheap. Of course, the weirder, the better!

Of course, Something Weird is the highlight of this era, filmed using James Hurley’s script and turning it into a very interesting flick that mentioned LSD made in a time just before the drug being outlawed.

Along with the cool theme song, Suburban Roulette would feature William Kerwin, Something Weird’s Tony McCabe, and A Taste of Blood’s Elizabeth Wilkinson.

The Winter of 66-67 saw the work on A Taste of Blood in Florida – as the usual tradition of Lewis working down South in the Winter. While this would be released by the Spring of ’67, it would hit the Toledo area on October 7’th with Teenage Strangler, Distributed through Ajay, who also distributed another film called An Eye for an Eye, that one Directed by André Cayatte.

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3/13/67 saw Lewis working on The Gruesome Twosome and An Eye for an Eye, one finished and ready to shock and the other one never completed although it was finally given a peek into through Something Weird Video in recent days. The Gruesome Twosome saw a return to Lewis’ wild and gory sense of humor.

The Twosome was paired off with Something Weird for many double bills, and it hit the Toledo area on 2/14/69!

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…right around the time A Taste of Blood and Teenage Strangler hit the second/third run theater the Ohio on 4/19/69

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I don’t know where Alley Tramp, filmed in about two days with Julie Ames for Tom Dowd, fits into the Production scheme of things, although of course it may have fitted somewhere around here considering the actors involved, including Steve White. The Spring of 1967 saw the production of The Blast Off Girls, something hinted at a Cashbox review page if you look very close and The Girl, the Body, and the Pill, so something as sleazy as Alley Tramp, filmed in Chicago (possibly following Blast Off GIrls) would fit into this scheme of things. Lewis would work on this film as Armand Parys with everyone connected working under other names as well!

10/21/67 Brought this legendary double bill to Toledo! Lewis always tried to keep his own show!

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The Blast Off Girls was a good low-budget film that actually told it like it was about the Rock Business on an Indie level – bratty musicians, egotistic Managers (Dan Conway), loud right hand men (Ray “Montag” Sager), and even grumpy engineers along with a lot of bribery along with Chicago’s The Faded Blue as the Big Blast and a lot of familiar faces from Mid-Late 60’s Lewis films, some getting their start right here.

The Girl, the Body, and the Pill featured Nancy Lee Noble (She Devils on Wheels) and Bill Rogers (A Taste of Blood, Shanty Tramp)

9/13/68 saw She Devils on Wheels play Toledo with another Made in Florida B Biker Epic, Bill Grefe’s Crown International flick Wild Rebels. She Devils would break the Biker Film mold with an all-girl Biker Gang, and it looks like that it was filmed around Late 1967 (note the Christmas Tree store in the scene where the gang run loose in a small town). Of course, true to form, there was no red carpet premiere, just a area by area play that would see it go from one place to another after it’s release. It was played in some areas using AIP branches, who usually played it with Tom Laughlin’s Born Losers (My favorite of the Billy Jack films, sorry 70’s trilogy fans), but with Lewis knowing that he got more money through his own system, he usually stuck it with his own in most of the territories he played it in.

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You have to dig the theme! “GET OFF THE ROAD!!!”

Also during 1968, the infamous Just for the Hell of It, one of Lewis’ harder hitting films, this time a JD flick gone angry, and the tame comedy How to Make a Doll, starring Dr. Gore himself JG “Pat” Patterson. Most of the Blast Off Girls gang, including Sager, Steve White, and The Faded Blue’s Ralph Mullin, would be seen in Hell along with Nobel.

10/14/68 – Boxoffice – The Psychic starts production and another job for Lewis’ film service. The film would be Hurley’s show this time with Lewis only operating the camera, but after having a hard time to sell it, Lewis adds some topless action to it and flings it off the Stan Kholberg, who would play it in Chicago from 1973 to (believe it or not) the Late 70’s under the title of Copenhagen’s Psychic Loves!

Also around this time, Lewis had a theater called the Blood Shed, which then turned into Cinema Bizarre. This was a Horror themed theater which had brief intermissions that brought back the Grand Guignol style theater. Sadly, as it was based in Chicago’s Downtown, the riots that took place in the Democratic Convention, the theater was a target for much destruction enough to shut it down (eerily reflecting Just for the Hell of It!). This meant a trip to California to return to the Nudies!

By 1969, Lewis would head off to California to work for three films including two for Tom Dowd, Linda and Abilene and The Ecstasies of Women – the first one actually seeing production at the Sphan Ranch meeting up with members of Charles Manson’s gang! On a brighter note, David F. Friedman, with professional arguments smoothed out by 1967, helped Lewis put together some of the cast. It also must be noted the Dominant, the company for several Lewis films, was based I think in California, making it easy to do business anyways.

This is from 9/19/69 reporting on Ecstasies playing Rose la Rose’s Esquire, a theater she took over in 1968.

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His third California film, Miss Nymphet’s Zap In, made under his Sheldon Seymour name, would be the infamous poor imitation of Laugh In. Released in 1970 and starring several Adult film faces of the time, including the cute Sharon Matt from Linda and Abilene (the one with the multi-colored panties that was talked about in so many interviews).

Just a recent note: The first two films were considered to have been locked at Capital Film Labs, I think according to the commentary of Goldilocks and The Three Bares, but thankfully things got to a point where they are finally released through Vinegar Syndrome along with another lost film, Black Love.

Then it was back to Chicago and the Gore with the all-time classic The Wizard of Gore! Released in Oct. 1970, this would cap his 1960’s brilliantly with Ray Sager as the legendary Montag the Magician!

Of course, we all know what happened next, but here is where the story ends (for now…).

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~ by screen13 on June 16, 2014.

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