Herschell Gordon Lewis
This Chicago ad exec and direct-mail marketer partnered with financier Dave Friedman to invent the "gore" genre in 1963 with the ineptly made Blood Feast. Lewis elaborated on his no-holds-barred approach to violence with Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), Color Me Blood Red (1965), and many others. He earned the dubious title "Godfather of Gore" and helped create the climate that made possible latter-day gore fests such as Saw (2004).