Fund These Films: New Features From Herschell Gordon Lewis and Roger Corman

By  · Published on May 25th, 2013

Two genre film legends are involved in new projects trying to raise money via Indiegogo, the major crowdfunding site that isn’t Kickstarter. Rather than pick only one of them and then wait a week to maybe write up the other, I decided to throw them together. Besides, those of you who are interested in one are likely interested in the other, too. And when dealing with low-budget masters like Herschell Gordon Lewis and Roger Corman, it’s appropriate to be efficient.

Lewis’s project is called Zombificador, and it’s an anthology featuring five connected stories involving “big fat monsters with the ability of transforming people into savage creatures, to human-sized mutant bugs, along with talking puppets and silent psycho killers.” It’s promised to be the “goriest and grossest movie ever” from the 83-year-old director (best known for cult classics Two Thousand Maniacs!, Blood Feast and Monster a-Go Go), which is saying a lot. If you’re not familiar with the “Godfather of Gore,” you can read up on his significance and lesser-known work in Rob’s recent review of his lost films.

The goal amount for Zombificador is $100,000, though the project is going with a Flexible Funding campaign, meaning it’ll get whatever money is pledged regardless of whether they reach the number listed. The hope is for the film to star horror vets Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects) and Michael Berryman (the original The Hills Have Eyes) along with other unannounced “gore icons.” Lewis is co-writing the film with young Spanish animation filmmaker Marc Fernandez (who is also producing) and says he’ll personally be adding in some satire to make sure this isn’t just the same old splatter flick. You can see a teaser without new footage here and also watch Lewis discuss the project in his campaign video below:

As for the Corman project, his involvement isn’t quite as substantial. He’s not returning to the director’s chair. He might not even get a producer credit on the alien invasion film, which is titled Crunchies. At the moment his role is primarily mentor to the filmmakers – all of them film students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco (which reminds me of the Alex Cox crowdfunding project) – and possible co-financer. Basically he’s privately pledged some amount that, like the rest of this Fixed Funding campaign’s pledges, will only go to the project if it reaches its goal amount of $50,000. Maybe there will at least be a “Presented by” credit, but for now just know that the guru who helped start the careers of such names as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson has some reason to trust that these students are worthy of his reputation and time.

While it’s hard to otherwise get a good gauge on the film idea and what it’ll look like, I’m hoping that it’s what it sounds like: the return of little creature movies a la Gremlins, Ghoulies, Critters and Munchies, which its title most calls to mind. Maybe it won’t be, and that’s why even though I’m showcasing the project as a “Fund This” recommendation I’m also writing it up to urge the student filmmakers to give us more than a silly campaign video saying what kinds of things they need the money for. I want specifics. I want concept art (there is a drawing and some photos of what they’re going after on the film’s Facebook page). I want some reels showing me the work of whoever will actually be at the helm, who will in charge of cinematography, etc. But for now, here is that silly campaign video:

It’s one thing to trust the name H.G. Lewis and not need a lot of other illustrative proof of concept materials in support of why to fund his project. But with unknown and unproven students out to make a feature whose main reason for us to support is that they want to be filmmakers, that’s not enough. I’m optimistic, but not sold. Maybe Corman’s attachment is enough for you, though. In which case I’m glad to bring the project to your attention.

Do you want to see these films? Enough to help fund it?

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.