But they don't lose money, and that's how you keep score. I was grinding these things out like so much hamburger.
SFBG What's been the most surprising moment of your film career?
HGL As you may or may not know, I have a totally different career these days. In the film business I was a schmuck with a camera, and in the world of direct marketing I'm regarded as something of an expert, and I'm in the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame. I was writing a piece of copy this is [in the middle 1980s] and the phone rang. The fellow on the phone said, "Mr. Lewis, we are having a screening of The Wizard of Gore on Halloween night, and we would like you to put in a personal appearance." And I said, "Come on, who is this?" Because it had been years since I had heard from anyone about movies. I accepted the invitation, fully expecting the whole thing to be a big joke. It was not a joke at all. I was treated with the reverence I certainly don't deserve. I couldn't understand it at the time. I said, "What's wrong with these people?" I no longer ask dumb questions like that. I figure if they invite me, and I accept, if there's something wrong, it's wrong with both of us.
SFBG What's the best part about meeting your fans?
HGL What's amazing to me about meeting my fans today is that they remember things from these movies that I don't. It astounds me that people who weren't alive when I made these movies still regard them as entertaining. That has to be the ultimate compliment to a film director. After all the time has passed, here are movies that cost nothing to make, with casts of nobodies, and totally primitive effects, and people still go to see them. It's not surprising to me anymore, but I can tell you, it's quite gratifying.
SFBG Are you excited to come to San Francisco?
HGL San Francisco is one of my favorite towns in all the world, and I am just very pleased to have been invited to come there. I tell you, somebody there is insane to invite me in the first place, but I admire insanity on that level, and I shall show up with great enthusiasm.
THE WIZARD OF GORE
Fri/2Sat/3, midnight, $9.75
2261 Fillmore, SF
HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS IN-STORE APPEARANCE
Sat/3, 2 p.m., free
1855 Haight, SF