Color Me Blood Red (1965)   Leave a comment

bloodposter

Nasty, selfish artist Adam Sorg (Gordon Oas-Heim) scolds his girlfriend, yells at critics, and insults patrons of the prestigious Farnsworth Gallery. Everyone agrees Sorg could use a personality transplant, but they put up with his petulance because of his enormous talent. Yep. Despite his obvious painting chops, Sorg can’t sell a painting. Why? According to the beret-clad art critic who intelligently sits in a chair facing away from the art, Sorg uses color wrong or doesn’t use enough color or something with color. After a weird water bike chase with his girl because they had two water bikes and director Herschell Gordon Lewis needed a tax deduction on them or something, Sorg agrees with his critics and realizes he needs a new color.

waterbike

His girlfriend (Elyn Warner) accidentally cuts her hand and bleeds on some discarded canvas et voilá! Sorg has it! He’ll use Gigi’s blood to liven up his latest painting. He squeezes Gigi’s cut finger onto the canvas until she tells him to use his own damn blood and takes off. Gigi returns to find Sorg passed out on the couch covered in his own blood. Since he can’t keep cutting himself and painting until he loses consciousness, he simplifies things and kills Gigi and uses her head as a paintbrush. Problem solved. He buries her on the beach directly in front of his house under about six inches of sand because he’s an artistic genius, but not exactly a criminal mastermind. He brings the Gigi-spattered painting to the gallery and, wait for it, everyone loves it! Yay! The gallery’s one customer offers to buy it, but Sorg refuses and rushes out.

art
I may not know art, but I know what I like.

Sorg kills more people. A couple take his water bikes for a joy ride which doesn’t end well and there’s a fascinating scene in which he squeezes his victim’s entrails into a bowl for later use.

waste
What a waste of paint.

As the body count rises, so does Sorg’s status in the art world. Offers for his paintings reach dizzying heights. The Customer offers $15,000 for Sorg’s chef-d’oeuvre, a painting with a lot of red in it. He declines to sell once again which puzzles the Customer and the critic, who apparently lives in the chair at the gallery and never changed his clothes.

monsters
You’re a monster, Sorg.

Soon we meet the Customer’s daughter, April, her boyfriend, Vanilla Guy, and this couple they’re friends with who wear matching clothes and are wacky and fun and you want to kill almost immediately. After some stilted dialogue, April, Vanilla Guy, and the Obnoxious Twins go to the beach. Sorg sees April and can tell by looking at her that her blood has the Pantone seal of approval so he lures her to his studio by DA DA DUM…asking her to come over. April, whose hairstyle deserves separate billing, and her bathing suit by Depends, visit the elegant, wood-paneled studio/living room of our hero. Sorg then puts April in a series of poses involving ropes and pulleys as he sketches her and handles his axe. Get your minds out of the gutter. Anyway, the Obnoxious Twins discover Gigi’s crab-covered body on the beach.
“Dig that crazy driftwood.”
Really. They remember they came with a fourth so Vanilla Guy goes into Sorg’s house which is about three feet away. He walks in to find his girlfriend tied to the ceiling wearing a bathing suit with her back turned to a man wielding an axe.

tableau
Just stand there so I can kill you.

He does what any red-blooded American 34, ah 21 year-old guy would do. He stands completely still and asks where the phone is.

whattt
“Do I have to dial 9 first?”

Words are exchanged and stuff happens and then it’s over but not before the female Obnoxious Twin says, “ I guess I won’t take up painting for a while.”
Herschell Gordon Lewis wrote and directed Color Me Blood Red along with the other two films in his Blood Trilogy; Blood Feast (1963) and Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964). The sound quality never quite achieves junior high AV club quality and one can assume the actors were hired because of some blackmail plot. I still enjoyed the film as a whole. I didn’t know exactly what would happen and I got to see Sorg squeeze guts, emote, and ride a water bike. Similar to A Bucket of Blood, but without the production quality and sympathetic hero, Color Me Blood Red strikes me as more of an outsider’s film. HGL didn’t care if you liked his hero. He wanted to tell his twisted tale so he did. He had water bikes so he threw them in. He thought up this screwy couple so he threw them in too. Aquanet was cheap so he used it…a lot of it…on April. He had his hero use a woman’s head as a paint brush. Need I say more? I think not.

yipes
“It stinks.”

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