Review Date: February 3, 2000
Released by: Image Entertainment
Release date: 2/22/2000
Region 0, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1
H.G Lewis, commonly referred to as the "Grandfather of Gore", doesn't have much of a reputation for good horror films. In fact, most people's opinions state he has made some of the worst. Needless to say, his films have garnered a cult following that will likely grow with the release of his films on DVD. Color Me Blood Red
is the third in Lewis's "Blood Trilogy" and probably the worst of the three. Image Entertainment is planning to release H.G. Lewis's "Blood Trilogy", which consists of Blood Feast, 2,000 Maniacs
and Color Me Blood Red
on DVD Febuary 22nd. We have a sneak peek at one of them, so let's take a look.
Adam Sorg (Don Joseph) is a struggling painter who can't seem to find the right color for his portraits. His critics couldn't agree more as they criticize his work for lacking any kind of inspiration. That's about to change as one night his girlfriend Gigi (Elyn Warner) cuts herself on a nail and some of her blood drips onto his canvas. In a heartbeat Adam believes he has discovered the perfect color for his paintings...blood! At first Adam uses his own blood, but soon he discovers that to complete an entire painting would require a lot more blood than he can afford to lose.
Adam decides to murder his girlfriend and use her blood to complete the painting. It turns out to be his masterpiece and becomes highly acclaimed. Thinking it may be a fluke, Adam is goaded into creating a new one and soon he must find a new victim. Finding just that in a duo of nosy beach gores that have no respect for other people's property, Adam finishes his second painting which, like the first, gets rave reviews. Adam's paintings quickly become his obsession and he begins to search for a model to pose for what will be his masterpiece. Too bad Adam wants more than a pose from the pretty young Lady, he want's her blood.
Herschell Gordon Lewis didn't acquire the nickname "Grandfather of Gore" for nothing. In fact, it was Lewis who pretty much revolutionized the gore film. Before Mario Bava's splashy Bay of Blood
and before Lucio Fulci entered the horror genre with his own gory offerings, there was H.G. Lewis. Often times disregarding plot and story for gore as in Blood Feast
and 2,000 Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red
for the most part stays true to that formula. Color Me Blood Red
was the third and last "Blood" film and is considered one of the worst (My favorite of the three is definitely 2,000 Maniacs
). The film is about a desperate painter who resorts to killing to acquire the necessary blood to complete his paintings. The film at times is appallingly bad acted by most of the supporting cast.
The only performances that resemble any kind of likeness to good acting are from the film's stars Don Joseph and Elyn Warner. Joseph plays the mean spirited artist who quickly loses his sanity after murdering several people for their blood. He's probably the only anchor this film has and had his performance been as bad as the rest of the cast this film would probably have drowned. The composition of the film is also very amateurish and displays very little if any style. Let's be honest folks, the main reason H.G. Lewis films like Blood Feast
and Color Me Blood Red
are as endearing as they are is their contribution to the gore film. To that extent, if you aren't a fan of that particular horror film you'll find little to like about Color Me Blood Red
. I recommend this film only to gore fans and fans of B level horror films.
Image Entertainment presents Color Me Blood Red
full frame in its original aspect ratio. Color Me Blood Red
was made in 1965 and thus the transfer is not perfect, but I was impressed. The transfer contains some grain, but for the most part much of the film is clean and clear with a nice level of detail. There were a couple shots that appeared softer than the majority of the film, but I'd suspect that is an issue with the source material and not necessarily the transfer. Colors looked very good except for a couple of shots that appeared a little washed out. Reds especially are vibrant and well saturated, which is a good thing since that color is the theme of the film and we do see a lot of blood.
Nighttime scenes faired generally well, but I noticed one or two shots where the edges of the frame looked washed out and grayish. Overall, Color Me Blood Red
looks very good for its age and origins and I doubt any previous home video incarnations have come even close to the quality of this one.
Presented in Dolby Digital Mono, Color Me Blood Red's
score sounds pretty good, however, there is a bit of hiss in the background and some occasional pops. Additionally, dialogue seems to have been recorded poorly when the film was made so some of it may be difficult to hear, but that is not really a fault of the DVD.
Image Entertainment and Something Weird Video have gone all out for H.G Lewis fans, presenting us with a Special Edition of Color Me Blood Red
. The disc contains the original theatrical trailer, which amusingly calls Color Me Blood Red
fiendish, many of the film's critics will agree. We also get rare outtakes, which unfortunately have no sound so instead some dialogue from H.G. Lewis's films is inserted, as well as some music. There is also some neat stills provided in the still gallery titled "Gallery of Exploitation Art". A lot of the stills are publicity photos and ads, particularly for Gordon's Blood Feast, 2,000 Maniacs
and Color Me Blood Red
. Quite frankly, I'd love to get a hold of some of those since I collect that stuff.
Additionally, we have an audio commentary with Director Herschell Gordon Lewis and Producer David F. Friedman. The commentary is very good but occasionally gets sidetracked and not much focus is given to Color Me Blood Red
. H.G. Lewis talks about how Color Me Blood Red
and the rest of his Blood Trilogy came about and why Color Me Blood Red
was the last. They also talk about those ridiculous "water bikes" and how they got into the picture. Friedman and Lewis also share a funny story about the worms used in one of the effect scenes when the body of Gigi is discovered. Overall it's a good relaxed commentary, but lacks a little focus on the actual film it's supposed to be commenting on.
Well Herschell Gordon Lewis fans rejoice! It looks like some of the Director's infamous gore films are headed to DVD and from the looks of Color Me Blood Red
, they won't disappoint. Image Entertainment provides a great DVD at a reasonable price. H.G. Lewis fans should definitely pick this up. Fans who are unfamiliar with the Director's films may want to give this one a rental first, but chances are if you love gore films or Lucio Fulci films you'll probably dig Color Me Blood Red
Image Quality - B+
Sound - B
Supplements - A-
- 1 Disc
- 12 Chapter Stops
- English Dolby Digital Mono
- Audio Commentary by Director Herschell Gordon Lewis and Producer David F. Friedman
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Rare Outtakes
- Gallery of Exploitation Art