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The Conception of Gore #2: “The Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)

To celebrate the appearance of one of the genre’s greatest names on The Calling Hours Horror Podcast next week (2/3 at 8 PM EST), I am going to remind the old school fans and educate the newer generation to the films of “The Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis, the innovator of the Gore film…


“The Southern hamlet of Pleasant Valley was the scene of a massacre during the Civil War. Now, once every hundred years the ghosts of the dead return and wreak havoc. Three Yankee couples are lured into town and invited to the centennial of the tragedy, which turns into a murderous parody of rural celebration, as the guests are dismembered, barbecued, stoned and otherwise inventively dispatched. The last living pair, Tom (Thomas Wood) and Terry (Connie Mason), attempt to escape the bloodshed.”

The film Two Thousand Maniacs! is the second film that Lewis introduced to us in the splatter/gore genre he created. Looking back at the time it was made, it should be considered amazing that a film that traps Northerners in a haunted Southern town (chock full of stereotypes and underlying undertones of racial and regional prejudices) was received as well as it was! But while viewing, the stereotypes are placed on both the visitors and townspeople (predominately white), so much so that writer Anthony Szczesiul dissects it in his essay “Remapping Southern Hospitality”. This film continues the legacy of violence that Lewis started in Blood Feast, with outright brutal murders (axing, drawn and quartering, crushing by stone and more…) and a wicked sense of humor. A worthy second film in Gore’s history…


Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Producer: David F. Friedman
Written: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Starring: William Kerwin, Connie Mason Jeffrey Allen
Music: Larry Wellington
Cinematography: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Edited: Robert Sinise
Production Company: Jacqueline Kay (as The Jacqueline Kay, Inc.) Friedman-Lewis Productions
Distributed By: Box Office Spectaculars


Blu-Ray and DVD Editions


The Blood Trilogy: Blood Feast / Two Thousand Maniacs / Color Me Blood Red (Blu-Ray) from Image Ent (2011)


The Blood Trilogy, The: Blood Feast / Two Thousand Maniacs / Color Me Blood Red (DVD) from Image Ent (2000)


The Blood Trilogy, The: Blood Feast / Two Thousand Maniacs / Color Me Blood Red (DVD) from Image Ent (2006)


Two Thousand Maniacs (DVD) from Image Ent (2000)



Written by Dedman13

Owner of Slit of the Wrist FX and producer, actor, FX artist and writer.