Ample of missed opportunities here. It isn’t that much surprising, coming from Herschell Gordon Lewis who made his mark as an “inventor” of gore rather than anything else (ironically, Color me Blood Red, when compared with other Lewis’s movies, lacks in the amount of gore and imaginative dismemberment). Still, it had some potential which really didn’t come across as anything other than unfinished idea or a rather literal metaphor on “giving your (or someone else’s for that matter) life for Art”. It might have been something else though. There were times when I thought that Lewis is aiming for a satire on contemporary Art world (in a way he did aim at that though he “missed” so many chances with this that you just can see that his heart wasn’t entirely into it), there were times when I thought that I could spot tongue-in-cheek critique of then-emerging youth counterculture (you know the type, we have seen so many glorifications of the 60’s that we tend to forget that in the 60’s The 60’s weren’t happening yet), and there were times when I was sure that Lewis wanted too many things and didn’t know how to balance all of them.
Color me Blood Red wanted to be everything at the same time. Suffice it to say that far greater directors than Herschell Gordon Lewis had difficult time with wants like that. There’s really not much else to say. Apart from retelling the plot, which isn’t as ridiculous as you might think. To a modern viewer’s eye the ridiculous part, much more than plot itself, is the styling (there were, and still are, horror movies that doesn’t even bother with the plot like Lewis does, one should just check few examples from Japanese exploitation) which is more than crude. Of course, many no-budget movies from the 60’s suffer from the same thing, though some of them managed to create plenty of over-the-top moments which kind of transgressed the aesthetic limitations of no-budget filmmaking. While Lewis had some nice touches (especially with drawing of blood from the colon, at least I think it was a colon – you can’t really tell – of a dismembered girl for an artistic purposes), everything else is toned down which gives you time to wander around with your mind-eye noticing things that shouldn’t be noticed.
As far as camp horror goes Color me Blood Red doesn’t go very far. Subtle hints of satire can’t really save the underdeveloped theme or bad craftsmanship. Later movies that were made following the legacy of The Blood Trilogy managed to do much more, often with fewer resources at their disposal. Interesting as a piece of historical curiosity, Color me Blood Red just didn’t manage to age very well.
|Directed by||Herschell Gordon Lewis|
|Produced by||David F. Friedman|
|Written by||Herschell Gordon Lewis|
|Starring||Gordon Oas-Heim (as Don Joseph)
Pat Lee (as Patricia Lee)
|Cinematography||Herschell Gordon Lewis (as Herschell G. Lewis)|
|Editing by||Robert L. Sinise (as Robert Sinise)|
|Studio||Box Office Spectaculars|
Buy it here