Herschell Gordon Lewis, ‘Godfather of Gore,’ Dead at 87

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Photo: Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis, who is often referred to as "the Godfather of Gore," died Monday morning. He was 87 years old. Best remembered for his shocking low-budget horror movies of the 1960s, which included Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), and The Gruesome Twosome (1967), Lewis pioneered the era's "splatter film" subgenre. While his films, which often pushed past the limits of "good taste," were mostly relegated to grindhouse cinemas and late-night drive-ins, his work would influence filmmakers including John Waters, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino for decades after. Lewis worked in direct marketing during a three-decade break from directing that lasted from 1972 until 2002's Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat. His career also included time as a college professor, commercial director, and an author of books about marketing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lewis died in his sleep.