The Lost Films Of Herschell Gordon Lewis (2013)

DVD Cover (Vinegar Syndrome)
Genres: Sexploitation, Softcore Sex Film
Three previously thought lost sexploitation features from Herschell Gordon Lewis, the acclaimed master of exploitation cinema.

ECSTASIES OF WOMEN (1969) is a torrid comedy/drama set in the swinging world of late 60s Los Angeles.
LINDA AND ABILENE (1969) combines the savagery of a classic Hollywood western with sequences of intense eroticism.
BLACK LOVE (1971) exposes the lovemaking habits of the contemporary black couple through a series of amusing and creative vignettes.

All three films have been restored in 2K from their original camera negatives and are being released on home video for the first time anywhere in the world! --Amazon
Herschell Gordon Lewis Herschell Gordon Lewis

4.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Bill Wolford
Added: March 23, 2013
Herschell Gordon Lewis is known to most of us as the "Godfather of Gore". In the '60's there was no one better at piling on the grue in an amazing vibrant red. It looked like (and probably was) paint. He's a cult hero for having brought the horror movie to a lower, more disgusting level. But did you know that he had made some softcore porn material? I didn't either. It seems that from '69-'71 he filmed three softcore films that were lost to the ages. Along comes a new video company, Vinegar Syndrome, and not only unearths these lost films, but cleaned them up and restored them to a level that has never been seen before in a DVD/BD combo pack called "The Lost Films Of H.G. Lewis." People who must own everything by the director is urged to pick this up NOW. Fans of his horror films are advised to read on before making your decision.

The first of the three films in this set is called "Ecstasies of Women". This film (like the other two) a presented in full-frame ratio. Being previously lost, having the film at all is a marvel, and the film ratio is a minor point of contention. The story revolves around a group of guys at a bachelor party. The guy getting married keeps drifting off in a drunken stupor, remembering lustful times of days gone by. When we're not in dream land with him making out with some stranger he just met, we hang out with the guys talking to topless waitresses, and watching them trying to get everyone to join in on an orgy at the houseboat our main man owns. That's about it for the plot. Did you expect more from a softcore pic running 74 minutes? Some of the dialog in the first twenty minutes of the film is so sixties sounding that it was starting to hurt my ears. There were a couple of flubbed lines as well. Things get slightly better after the half hour mark, but these are all amateur actors, and it shows. If you love close ups of afro style pubic hair, and pimples on asses, then this is the film for you. As much as I thought the film itself was a bore, the restoration done by vinegar Syndrome is stunning. 4/10.

The second film in the package is called "Linda And Abilene" and is easily the best film in the set. This film has more of a story than the others and it makes for a better viewing experience. Although the film was shot in 1969, Vinegar Syndrome's masterful restoration makes this film look like it was shot in the eighties at the very least. In this old west tale, we have a brother and a sister whose parents have just died, and are trying to recover and carry on the work of the farm. It isn't too long before our main man spots his sister down by the creek naked, having herself a bath. This causes him all kinds of confusion until he can't stand himself any longer and the sister accepts his advances. Incest is best, right? Anyway, it isn't long before the farm falls into disrepair because the two are spending all of their time having sex instead of tending to the farm work. This causes the brother to have a guilt trip and he races into the town bar and is bedded by the hooker there. While he's away, a nasty fellow from the bar comes to the farm and rapes the sister. This causes a deadly showdown between brother and rapist. What will become of the sister and the kind-hearted hooker? This film is pretty well acted, and almost moody at some points. The decent soundtrack helps carry this mood for good stretches at a time. There are more hardcore themes in this film than the others. We have incest, rape and lesbianism all showing up here. And yet, it's quite an engaging western with, love, loss and revenge all worked in around the softcore sex scenes. Strange, but engaging. 6/10

The last film in the set really isn't a film. "Black Love" is a voice over documentary of black couples having sex. The narrator is quite comical in describing how black love is special and different from any other types of love making. He's also very annoying, mentioning the title of the movie about forty times during the film's 74 minute length. There are actual hardcore scenes in this film. This film was made in '71, and films of this type were starting to get more graphic and hardcore, so H.G. Lewis was really trying to keep up with the times. This is definitely a product of its early seventies time. There is no dialog in the film, but you are still practically drowning in the seventies vibe here. There are some very unsexy women and couples on display. This is easily the worst film of the set. 2/10

H.G. Lewis fanatics can rejoice as this set makes his entire library of films available to collectors after a long wait. People who know H.G. Lewis as the godfather of gore, and are fans of his horror films only can safely skip this release. Vinegar Syndrome is an up and coming company that does amazing restoration work, and here's hoping that they stay successful and continue their output of rare and hard to find films. 5/10 for the set for the curious. 10/10 for H.G Lewis fanatics.
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