Review: Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania

Herschell Gordon Lewis. The name is legendary and lends itself to feelings of cult classic nostalgia, a time when splatter movies were shown at the drive in or went straight to VHS. The iconic writer, director and producer worked on some noteworthy fan favorites including Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, The Wizard of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls. The world of horror lost the B-movie creator on September 26th 2016, when his bright light went out at the age of 90, leaving behind a six decade long legacy that will never be forgotten. And luckily, his legacy of work will continue into 2017 with the release of anthology flick Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania. A true testimate to his love of everything gory, gritty, bizarre and crazy, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime due to a worldwide distribution deal between Diabolique Films, HGB Entertainment and Monarch Films.

This anthology flick is comprised of four short segments with Mr. Lewis working as a horror host to keep us entertained all while ushering in and exiting out of each short film. It’s bittersweet to see Gore Gordon hosting this anthology because it’s amazing to see him still doing something he was so dedicated to, something he loved so much, and knowing that he was taken from this world shortly there-after. What a swell guy! In Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania you’ll see a law office’s worst day after the secretary is kidnapped by a man with a possessed hook for a hand in Gory Story – written and directed by Lewis with co-writer Bob Schultz; a woman in a hospital bed following her mental and physical battle against a crazy ex-boyfriend in Attack of Conscious – written by James Saito and directed by Melanie Reinboldt; a family’s worst night in a new house when a crazy predator who loves scalps goes on a rampage in The Night Hag – written by Justin Sane and directed by Lewis; and a sleazebag whose violent and erotic fantasies spell disaster for a female rock band in GoreGeouse – written and directed by Kevin Littlelight.

Roger LeBlanc, Sonia Deleo, Stuart Bentley, Caroline Buzanko, JP Thibodeau, Saleste Mele, Donovan Cerminara, Jewelle Colwell, Cheryl Kroeker and Sarah Troyer star in Lewis’ last love letter to the horror genre.

Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania is fun, funky and brings back those old school horror vibes. It feels like it was a 1980’s anthology that was just unearthed in 2017. Cult horror fans, anthology fans, and independent horror fans alike are really going to dig this release due to that fact alone. It lends itself to a better time in horror – before it became about big names, big stars, and big turnouts; a time when watching a scary movie meant gathering with your closest friends to see the walls get splattered with fake blood and, hey, maybe you’ll get some full frontal nudity out of it, too! While BloodMania is short on nudity, you’re going to get what you came looking for – a nonstop splatterfest! From beginning to end, BloodMania is like turning on the shower head and dousing yourself in life-force matter. This is what Herschell was known for, this is what he was the best at, and BloodMania is a bloody mess from start to finish and it’s delivered in the most magical way. Bring in the gore hounds!

It’s also interesting to see that BloodMania was created more as a horror-comedy film than an attempt at being legitimately scary. The comedy comes in the form of dry and sarcastic humor, gag humor, and the nonstop gore that pops up out of no where. This, of course, is also fueled by some cringe-worthy acting that makes the whole thing slightly more humorous. But, hey, some bad acting was so common place in the 60’s, 70,’s, 80’s and today that one needs to expect it in a B-movie anthology built around unrealistic injuries! Not hating, just explaining. The production value of BloodMania is basically the same, a mix of great work and independent averages, but it’s far from bad. BloodMania is a love letter to the dying subgenre of splatter films and I couldn’t help but feel admiration and love while watching it, no matter what the material entailed. You need to have the same attitude when streaming or purchasing your DVD copy of this film, but I figure that’ll already be in place if you’re here for Lewis’ last work of art.

With all of this said, I’m so happy that Diabolique Films, HGB Entertainment and Monarch Films are getting this anthology out to the public. It’s a time capsule of cinema, re-emerging in 2017 in a time when it is needed the most, especially in the world of independent horror films. And, mostly, it was a decent look at the master of horror himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis. Though it is filled with some less than stellar works – both in cast and crew – it ended up being better than I originally assumed it would be. Definitely worth the price of a stream or download, but I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you think it’s worthy of a DVD purchase based on this review and the trailer below.. Also, make sure to stay past the closing credits for an extra dose of bloody goodness! So long, Herschell. Thanks for the memories. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)