Smash Cut is a fitting tribute to Herschell Gordon Lewis and the man deserves such honourable horror homage because without him there would be no gore. Horror without gore would be like westerns without cowboys or sci-fi without aliens, it just wouldn’t be the same.
H.G Lewis was the king of exploitation movies and after making his name in nudie movies in the 60’s he wanted a new selling point for his films.
He came up with the idea of making films that emphasised blood and gore a market that no other producer or filmmaker had ever exploited and boy did they exploit it! From Blood Feast to Gore Gore Girls to his most famous (and recently remade) movies The Wizard or Gore and Two Thousand Maniacs! H.G Lewis hacked off body parts, gouged out eyes and made movie screens run red changing horror forever.
Jump cut to Smash Cut which centres on horror director Able Whitman (Last House on the Left star David Hess) and opens with a quote from H.G Lewis “I see filmmaking as a business and pity anyone who regards it as an art form.” Able definitely sees his movies as art, unfortunately everyone else just sees them as crap.
Depressed and deflated after an audience boo’s and laughs at the awful effects in his latest effort Terror Toy he seeks solace in shots and a stripper called Gigi Spot.
Driving home with her drunk and confused he crashes the car killing her but stumbling onto an ingenious idea, to create the best fake horror effects why not use real bloody dead body bits.
He shoots the next day using Gigi’s mangled corpse go down a storm with his crew and his producer however he needs more parts for props so Able goes off on a killing spree making other people suffer for his art.
Canadian director Lee Demarbre is a huge H.G Lewis fanatic. Smash Cut not only pays respect to his films, but also captures the essence of dark comedy which they contained, while still providing enough squelchy, sick scenes to keep even the gore-king himself happy.
Combining belly laughs with inspired murders (the clapper board killing is classic) the movie also serves as a bloody biting satire of Hollywood, with some unsettling ideas all shot with flair and imagination. There’s even a great soundtrack thrown in.
The cast is brilliant, all playing against type including H.G Lewis himself. Horror icon Michael Berryman plays a clueless producer and porn-star Sacha Grey as sexy savvy reporter April, out to catch her sister Gigi’s killer.
It is Hess however that steals the show. In a tour de force performance as the murderous maniacal director, he bumps off everyone who mocked him, doubted him or simply gets in his way – balancing both the comedy and the tragedy of the character perfectly.
Smash Cut works on many levels: as a creative blood-splattered celebration of H.G Lewis’s work; as a metaphorical exploration into the individuals constant struggle for exclusive creative control; and more simply as a great gory horror movie.
Gore is good so thanks H.G Lewis, without him, all horror would be a lot less fun.
Additional film information: Smash Cut (2009)