Friday, August 30, 2013

Bloody Parting of the Ways

By the summer of 1964, with both Blood Feast and Two Thousand Maniacs still in theaters, the partnership between H.G. Lewis, David Friedman and exhibitor Stanford Kohlberg had soured. Box Office Spectaculars dissolved amid acrimony and lawsuits. By the end of that year, Friedman had cut ties with Lewis and headed to California and Lewis was distributing Moonshine Mountain.

This Aug. 4, 1964, Variety article covered the split:

Gore Film Trio Bust Own Guts On Cut of Coin

A Chicago court suit filed against his partners in a production company by producer Herschell Lewis has broken up what is probably the most successful team making low-budget nudie, gore and action films.

Lewis is suing his former partners, David F. Friedman and Stanford Kohlberg for an accounting and distribution of profits on films already made and for $300,000 for a contract he alleges was made to make 30 more actioners over the next five years.

The trio had jointly produced "B-o-i-n-n-g!", a nudie, and four gore pix -- "Scum of the Earth," "Blood Feast," "2,000 Maniacs" (see separate stories) and "Color Me Blood Red," the latter completely filmed but not yet edited. Lewis and Friedman had previously produced several highly successful nudies.

Friedman is currently working for Kohlberg in the distribution of the films already  made, and Lewis has nearly finished shooting his own comedy-action picture.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blood Feast Ad-O-Rama Part II

Blood Feast continued playing drive-ins and specialty theaters throughout the 1970s (and beyond). Below is a sampling of advertisements for the film's latter-day bookings.

We start things off with this phenomenal quadruple bill from the Elyria Chronicle Telegram, April 16, 1971, where two H.G. Lewis flicks follow George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (Pennsylvania), and what is likely a slightly misspelled listing for Lewis' former partner David Friedman's She Freak (1967). Plus, free gas (likely for your in-car heater)!

Next up, from the October 2, 1973, edition of the Albuquerque Journal, an even bigger Halloween-themed event with three Lewis films, the West Virginia-lensed Teenage Strangler, a bonus Al Adamson biker film, and whoever the heck Nightmare Alice is. Free pass if you stay for the entire show? I'll take that challenge.

This February 2, 1974, advertisement from the Coshocton Tribune (Ohio) is a tad more serious, and opts for some new artwork (probably to keep patrons from realizing they were about to see two ten-year-old films).

Next, Doctor Kiss over at the Classic Horror Film Board posted this ad from the Elgin Cinema in New York from December 1971, which touts Blood Feast as "the worst film ever made," quite a few years before Plan 9 From Outer Space took the title. The Elgin was founded by producer/distributor Ben Barenholtz in 1968, and is credited as the birthplace of the "Midnight Movie" format -- so Blood Feast graced its screens not too long after the theater's sold-out run of El Topo.

Finally, from Fred Adelman's scan collection, comes this New York ad from the 1980s, again touting Blood Feast's "worst film" bona fides, this time presented by Sleazoid Express publisher Bill Landis.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer of Blood: A Look Back at Summer 1963, Part 3

More items from the BoxOffice archive during the summer of Blood Feast:

July 22, 1963:

(CHARLOTTE) Ron Ormand (sic) of Ormand Enterprises, Hollywood, Calif., and his wife June and their 12-year-old son Timmy are in Charlotte visiting friends. At the same time they are setting up distribution in the southeastern section for their company's picture, "Please Don't Touch Me." The Ormands also are working out plans for the production of a new picture.

From August, 5:

(SAN ANTONIO) ... "The Dungeons of Horror," a hair-raising film produced in Pat Boyette's local studios, will be distributed all over the world, starting next month, by Herts-Lion International.

There were also plenty of ads that summer for William Grefe's The Checkered Flag (see above).

And from the August 22, 1963 issue:

(MIAMI) Flamingo Productions, a local motion picture company which recently completed its first full-length color feature, "Miami Rendezvous," now is deep into production plans for its next film, "Deadly Circle," a psycho-murder mystery. The screen play was authored by Alexander Panas, Miami playwright. Producers Irwin and Herb Meyer plan to begin shooting in early September. Gloria Izzo, production coordinator for Flamingo, said that readings already have been held for some of the leading roles, but numerous parts remain to cast.

NOTE: Deadly Circle appears to have morphed into Honeymoon of Horror (a.k.a., Orgy of the Golden Nudes, 1964), which featured screenwriter Panas in a featured role, alongside Robert Parsons and Abbey Heller.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Trailer of the Week: Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (1971)

This one has been out of print since its VHS release, but it actually screened a few years ago at the University of Chicago! I haven't been able to find a trailer, but here are a few clips.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Blood Feast Ad-O-Rama

Blood Feast began its official theatrical in the fall of 1963, and continued playing double- and triple-bills (often with other H.G. Lewis films like Two Thousand Maniacs! and Color Me Blood Red) well into the early 1970s. Below is a small sampling of some of the 1960s advertisements heralding the goriest show on earth.

First, here's a November 29, 1963, ad from the Bridgeport Post in Connecticut, mentioning that Blood Feast would be coming the following Tuesday:

From Burlington, N.C., comes this September 17, 1963, ad from the Daily Times News, which indicates the film had already played there once. Blood Feast would continue to show in Burlington off and on for the next 10 years, and local theaters sometimes advertised other films by promoting them as being just as bloody or bloodier than Blood Feast.

Here's a nice ad from the Maryland-based Salisbury Times, from May of 1964, pairing Blood Feast with Bary Mahon's Louisiana zombie film The Dead One.

Here's a strange ad from the Kingsport Times in Tennessee, November 13, 1964, listing the film as Night of Blood Feast. I've found other ads where "feast" was actually a misspelling of the title for the film Night of the Blood Beast. This one appears to be the Lewis film, given that it's paired with Two Thousand Maniacs!.

August 15, 1965, from the Appleton, Wis., Post Crescent News, this time paired with two Del Tenney films from Connecticut.

November 4, 1966, The Elyria Chronicle Telegram in Ohio features the "blood trilogy" in all its gory glory.

Later that December, from the same paper, a less explicit ad for the same triple feature.

This ad from the Jan. 22, 1966 Syracuse Post Standard is more like it. Not sure what Guerilla Girl is, though...

From the Nov. 7, 1969, Zanesville Times Recorder. Here, Blood Feast has been tacked on a Crown-International double feature.