Color Me Blood Red (1965)
The third entry in schlock director Herschell Gordon Lewis' "Blood Trilogy," "Color Me Blood Red" is a memorable trip into the macabre if not a particularly great one.
The film stars Don Joseph as artist Adam Sorg, a frustrated artist who is finding only limited success selling his work. He's particularly depressed because he can't find that right shade of red for his paintings.
Sorg is a selfish, cruel man who verbally abuses his girlfriend, and sits sullenly as people pay way too much for his art. It's hard to imagine that anyone would want to spend that much time with him, much less live with him.
Then, quite by accident he discovers the perfect source: blood. He starts with his girlfriend, pricking her finger and crafting a successful painting. Next time, he kills her and uses her blood to keep creating, burying her body outside his home, near a beach.
Sorg goes insane and soon starts killing anyone he can to get their blood, and his clientele just laps it up, offering thousands for one of his paintings, which he gruffly rebukes, saying only "it's not for sale."
The film's climax is staged in an appropriately Ed Wood-esque fashion, with Sorg luring a young woman into his house to paint her portrait, ending with an awkward battle between Sorg and his potential victims. Of course, she has no idea he intends on using her own bodily fluids for the masterpiece.
This leads to one of the great schlock lines and resultant reveals in b-movie history, as one of her companions discovers a body in the sand: "Holy bananas, it's a woman's leg!" It's the shot itself that is truly priceless, as one moment sees just a tiny sliver of skin, the next the entire leg, as if it magically popped out of the sand.
The gore scenes are highlighted by a gruesome "milking" of one of his victims, grabbing at a random bit of entrail and squeezing blood into a bowl. It's a shudder-inducing moment, if one of few, as many of the other sequences come off as stagy and bland. The majority of the film's blood is in the form of smears on the canvas.
Joseph gives a lively performance, always appearing both enraged and exhausted, but the acting, especially dialog delivery, is universally bad. Most of the actors speak as if they're reading cue cards.
Something conspicuously missing, though, as in other of Lewis' films, is any sort of nudity or harsh language, which is highly odd in an exploitation film. Here as in "She-Devils on Wheels," Lewis and the actors seem to go to great pains not to swear or show too much skin.
Overall, though, despite its shortcomings, "Color Me Blood Red" has all the makings and trappings of a cult splatter classic, and it's required viewing for any self-respecting gore hound or schlock meister.