Brett Circe meets the Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis

Posted: October 29, 2003 by fivalscornshank in News & Press

Brett with Herschel Gordon Lewis

Brett Circe with Herschell Gordon Lewis shortly after he was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame on October 29, 2003 in Orlando, FL.

Revered as “the Godfather of Gore,” this affable advertising executive (with a Ph.D in English literature) worked on industrial films in the late 1950s before teaming up with producer David Friedman to grind out several “nudie-cuties” before inventing the gore movie in 1963. Blood Feast made little sense, featured wildly inept actors and was, technically speaking, barely competent. But its graphic display of blood-and-guts (using butcher-shop rejects) offered moviegoers something the major studios wouldn’t deliver. 2,000 Maniacs (1964), in which a Confederate town is resurrected in the modern South to treat some visiting Yankees with special “hospitality,” lifted its premise from Brigadoon revealing Lewis’ sly sense of humor. After making a dozen or so followups — including Color Me Blood Red (1965) about a painter who kills to use his victim’s blood for his painting canvases, The Gruesome Twosome (1968) and The Wizard of Gore (1971) — Lewis left the movie business in the early 1970s and became a direct-mail consultant.

He has since written and marketed several books on topics, including copywriting, direct and interactive marketing strategies, selling to the mature market, and public relations. Over the past 17 years he has written columns for numerous industry publications worldwide, including the monthly feature “Creative Strategies” in 200 consecutive issues of DIRECT. He currently writes “Curmudgeon-at-Large” for DIRECT, “Better Letters” for Selling, and is the copy columnist for Catalog Age. His features regularly appear in such international publications as the U.K.’s Direct Marketing International and Catalogue & Mail Order Business, as well as the Australian magazine Marketing. Together with Ian Kennedy and Jerry Reitman, Lewis also produced the video “100 Greatest Direct Response Television Commercials.”

Currently, Lewis is the principal of Lewis Enterprises, a direct response consulting company headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He is considered the leading authority on direct response copywriting, and has provided numerous marketers with the rules, formulas, and techniques for writing effective direct marketing copy for traditional and online media.

Let’s look at some similarities between Lewis and Circe:

Lewis Circe
Started his movie career in “Nudie” flicks. Wishes he started his movie career in “Nudie” flicks.
First horror movie “Blood Feast” was made for under $25,000 in one week. First horror movie “Twisted Weekend” was made for under $25,000 in one week.
“Color Me Blood Red” (1965) filmed in Sarasota, FL, is about a painter who kills to use his victim’s blood for his painting canvases. Attended college in Sarasota, FL, where he learned painting and design, and filmed “Twisted Weekend” (1990).
Left his movie-making career to take up advertising. Left his movie-making “career” to take up advertising.
Currently the principal of Lewis Enterprises, a direct response consulting company headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Currently, a principal of Starmark International, a direct response consulting company headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

* Bio compiled from the DMA, IMDB and Leonard Maltin

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