Herschell Gordon Lewis

Wicked Wednesday: Color Me Blood Red (1965)

I have a lot of horror blind spots, and one of them is Herschell Gordon Lewis. The “godfather of gore” somehow has continued to evade me. Bar Monster a Go-Go (which Lewis was an uncredited director on), the splatter horror movies never made it onto my screen. Until now, obviously.

Color Me Blood Red is the third film in Lewis’s “Blood Trilogy”. And would I start with the first one produced? No! Because I never do things in the correct way, apparently.

The story centres on struggling artist Adam Sorg, who hasn’t painted a thing in months. His biggest setback? Being unable to find the perfect shade of red for his paintings. When he goes to a gallery, he gets into it with one of the critics, leaving him even more determined to prove himself.

His inspiration comes from an unlikely place. After his girlfriend, Gigi, cuts herself on a nail, he falls in love with the shade of her blood. He begs for more of it, but she resists when he becomes too aggressive with her. He tries using his own blood, but finds that it makes him too weak to actually paint.

During an argument, Sorg kills Gigi. With her dead, he’s able to paint with her blood all he wants. What he creates is a grotesque masterpiece. He shows it off to the critic from the gallery, and it catches the attention of the wealthy Mrs Carter. Despite being offered a hefty sum of $15,000 for the painting, Sorg refuses to sell.

Knowing that he must have blood to create great works, Sorg finds new victims whose blood will fill his pallet.

When Mrs Carter’s daughter, April, goes to the beach she meets Sorg. Having heard about him from her mother, April naively trusts him. He invites her to sit for a painting, which he will give to her for free. April is hesitant and leaves, but she returns later that night.

April’s friends, also at the beach, soon discover Gigi’s corpse in the sand. They have to move fast before April becomes another victim of Sorg’s art.

Color Me Blood Red is supposedly the weakest of the three films. As someone who started at the end and not the beginning, I can’t have an opinion. However, I found this movie pretty interesting for what it was. The story doesn’t move mountains, but it’s entertaining enough.

The sound, however, suffers greatly. Many of the characters use these hdyrocycles. And they are SO LOUD. Not only are they loud, but they make a truly disgusting sound on the mic. I will die happy if I never have to hear it again.

There are quirks to this movie to stop it from being such a straightforward bore. I really liked April’s couple friends, who are fans of dressing like twins and doing stupid shit. They sort of set themselves apart from most of the rest of the cast, who are quite interchangeable and forgettable.

If this is as bad as it gets for Herschell Gordon Lewis, I look forward to things going up from here!