Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania – Canada, 2017 – overview and reviews

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BloodMania is a 2017 Canadian horror anthology feature film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast; Two Thousand Maniacs!; The Wizard of Gore); The Gore Gore Girls) [Gory StoryThe Night Hag segments], Kevin Littlelight [segment: GOREgeous] and Melanie Reinboldt [segment: Attack of Conscience] for Diabolique Films.

The screenplay was written by Herschell Gordon Lewis, Kevin Littlelight, James Saito, Justin Sane and Bob Schultz.


Review One:

BloodMania is a four-piece anthology that dips into the deranged and demented world of the grisly and distorted. Without much storyline to any of the shorts, we are first treated to a young man holding a woman hostage before going on the run. Needless to say, it gets bloody quite quickly and there is more than enough squeamish gore to entice the true horror fanatic into watching this craziness.

A tale involving a burnt out manager of an all-girl rock group who just enjoys the kill is sure to make you uneasy. Stuart Bentley does an awesome job at being completely and unattractively repugnant while savagely gutting his victims.

My favourite chronicle is the beginning portion of the “thing” that lives in a household vent. There is an older couple, amply named Stanley and Helen, who continue to argue as a laugh track chimes in the background. Each comment from their snarky mouths is reminiscent of The Ropers. Similar to the Rodney Dangerfield scene in Natural Born Killers, the danger looms as the humour prevails, all the while being bloody fun to watch. Although that incident is short lived, there is promise in the remainder of the story as a new family of four move into the doomed house only to encounter paranoid dread.

A few trite issues linger with some apparently amateurish special effect kills, although they supposedly blend into the old sub-genre of quirky comedic repulsion that Herschell Gordon Lewis helped create.

BloodMania is a trippy, campy adventure into a tasteless creator’s mind. Comparable to the vulgar genius of John Waters (who happens to be a huge Lewis fan!), expect a great deal of confusion, hokeyness and displaced dialogue that does not necessarily mesh into the theme.

Will this change your life? Not at all and for some, it could even be forgettable. That said, accept it for what it is: a low budget, gore-infested farce meant to make you laugh.

Meredith Brown, MOV!ES and MAN!A

Review Two:

Poor old Herschell Gordon Lewis. The Godfather of Gore had pretty much bowed out of the film business in the early 1970s, but in his twilight years, made something of an ill-advised comeback, where he ended up making cheaper and cheaper films for a variety of producers. When his attempt to crowdfund the movie Zombificator failed to raise the financing, he found himself involved in this disastrous project, which turned out to be his final work.

You expect the worst from the interminable opening credits that include a cringeworthy gore song, a cast list of nobodies appearing on false VHS covers and some shoddy shot on video splatter scenes. Oh, and a list of directors that includes two people that are not HGL. Should that not act as warning enough, wait for the first story in this multi-tale anthology, in which a man with a possessed hook wreaks gory mayhem. It’s practically unwatchable, and if you make it to the second story, I congratulate you on your stamina / lack of discernment.

Things don’t improve – the rest of the film is a similar mix of amateur hour acting, zero production values and plodding stories that make each segment seem longer than the average feature. No amount of gore – hardly as shocking as it was in Lewis’ heyday – can make these stories any less of an endurance test. Of course, Lewis’ work is magnificent compared to the efforts of co-directors Kevin Littlelight and Melanie Reinboldt, who I think we can safely say will never become beloved genre directors. The resulting film is a painful experience, not simply because it’s a bad, bad film, but because this is not the way one of the great, innovative filmmakers in exploitation history should have ended not only his career and his life.

We can’t blame Lewis for this. He obviously wanted to end his life as a filmmaker, and took what he could get. I feel bad – very bad, to the point of sickness – that this was all he could do. The real horror of this film is that it was supposedly made by fans. Why on Earth would anyone who likes Lewis want to do this to him? If this is what self-proclaimed fans can do to your legacy, who needs critics? I don’t think I’ve ever said this before about a film, but this should never have been made. And if it was made, it should have been buried. Herschell Gordon Lewis was an important pioneer, a great filmmaker and a lovely man, and he deserves better than to have this stain on his reputation.

David Flint, MOV!ES and MAN!A

Other reviews:

“Whilst each story differs in context, almost all contain a variety of OTT gore sequences, be it a crazed serial killer being flattened by a steamroller, or an old hag dissolved in chemical cleaners. In keeping with the director’s heritage, the effects are gooey, completely gratuitous and of course shown fully uncut. Oddly there are quite a few rather iffy CGI blood additions which don’t make anywhere near the impact the prosthetic effects do…” Beyond the Gore

” …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 nowhere. This, of course, is also fueled by some cringe-worthy acting that makes the whole thing slightly more humorous.” Horror Society

Main cast:

  • Genoveva Rossi
  • Caroline Buzanko
  • Carolyn Bridget Kennedy
  • Saleste Mele
  • Roger LeBlanc
  • Chengis Javeri
  • Erica Cukulin
  • Brian MacDougall
  • Sarah Troyer
  • Donovan Cerminara
  • Emily Siobhan McCourt
  • Laura Gillespie
  • Faith Amantea
  • Jewelle Colwell
  • Emeri Cukulin
  • Carly McKee
  • Stuart Bentley

Filming locations:

Calgary, Canada


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