Director – Sean Donohue (Die Die Delta Pi, Death-Scort Service)
Starring – Tim Ritter (Truth or Dare, Day of the Reaper), Joel D. Wynkoop (Ouija Mummy, Clownado), and Chris Woods (Chaos A.D., Earth Girls are Sleazy)
Release Date – 2021
Rating – 4/5
I’ve been reviewing for around a decade now and over the years I’ve made friends with several filmmakers from all over the world. I’ve noticed a trend in filmmaking and how “pockets” all around the United States has several filmmakers. Most notably, Ohio and Florida, has the biggest collection of indie horror filmmakers that I’ve met. When I started writing reviews I stumbled across the Facebook page for Amerikan Holokaust which was co-directed by The Sleaze Box founder Chris Woods. Since then Woods, and his frequent collaborator Sean Donohue, has released some notoriously bloody and sleazy horror movies in their home state of Florida.
A few weeks back Woods and Donohue announced a small release of their newest film, the documentary Blood, Guts, and Sunshine at Cinema Wasteland. This new doc explores the horror filmmakers in Florida over the years and the impact they had on younger filmmakers in the region. I was at Wasteland and snagged a copy while I could. I’m glad I did because I absolutely loved it.
**Spoiler Alert** The documentary explores early genre efforts in Florida ranging from the iconic Creature from the Black Lagoon, to the Godfather of Gore Herschell Gordon Lewis, to S.O.V. legends Tim Ritter and Joel D. Wynkoop before making it’s way into the modern era with companies like Cult Movie Mania, GatorBlade Films, and the cons that sprouted around the local indie productions. **Spoiler Alert**
I get some documentaries in to review but they are rarely horror focused. Most of the docs I get are for cryptids and so on but a few horror docs do trickle in. Just last month I was lucky enough to review Mail Order Murder: The Story of W.A.V.E. Productions and it was a fun. I love a good horror documentary especially if it doesn’t discuss horror pop culture. Blood, Guts, and Sunshine was a fantastic doc that I really enjoyed but my biggest complaint about it was that all the info was compressed to make the film just over 2 hours when it should have been split up into different films or volumes.
The interviews in this one range from previously recorded interviews from legends like Herschell Gordon Lewis, John Waters, and Ben Chapman along with new interviews from Florida legends like Shelby McIntyre, Sean Donohue, Chris Woods, Tim Ritter, and Joel D. Wynkoop just to name a few. This wide range of people being interviewed does give us some insight into the decades long trend of filming in Florida but it is a little heavy on the modern filmmakers and for understandable reasons. Some of the older legends has passed or reaching ages that makes interviews a little more difficult while the doc was put together by two existing FL filmmakers.
The topics discussed are similar to those being interviewed. We get a small look at early filmmaking in Florida before moving into the more modern S.O.V. filmmakers like Ritter and Wynkoop before moving up to the conventions that influenced other filmmakers and finally reaching the modern wave of filmmakers. My honest opinion on this is I feel that there is so much to discuss that this should have been a two or three part documentary. The early years should be one film where we follow the liked or HGL, the filming of Impulse, Satan’s Children, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon along with other films from the 50s through the 70s before moving into the 80s and days of S.O.V. before settling on the modern filmmakers. I feel like so much history was left out of the film’s 2 hour running time and I kind of want to see more.
Finally, the editing and transitioning in this one is smooth. The topics and interviews are in chronological order and the transitions are extremely smooth. The editing is very well done which helps the viewer keep up with everything that is being thrown at them from the doc. Overall, Blood, Guts, and Sunshine is a fantastic genre doc that takes a deep dive into the legendary filmmakers from Florida over the years with each generation inspiring a younger generation to take up filmmaking. As a fan of documentaries I have to say that this was the most informative and entertaining horror documentary I had seen in recent years. However, I wish there was more to it. I highly recommend it.