Joel M. Reed, a director and producer of cult classic movies, has died at the age of 86 from complications of COVID-19. The filmmaker was perhaps best known for his controversial movie Bloodsucking Freaks. The filmmaker’s death was confirmed by his brother Elliott, as various movie websites report.
Elliott wrote on Facebook: “Joel will surely be missed by his friends, fans and family. He had a remarkable career as a writer and filmmaker.” Elliott also indicated that there would not be a memorial service for Reed. “He was a soldier during the Korean War and will have a military funeral without services,” his brother confirmed.
The Veteran Filmmaker Was Born in 1933 & Became a Film Director in the 1960s
Reed was born in New York on December 20, 1933, and began making movies in the 1960s, starting with movies like Career Bed, Blood Bath, and Night of the Zombies. Reed was known for writing all of the scripts for the movies he directed.
His most notorious work was the 1976 movie Bloodsucking Freaks, which was released by Troma Entertainment and became a cult classic despite its controversial nature. The movie was a horror-comedy about a theater director and his assistant, who tortured women on stage. The audience watches the whole thing, thinking they’re witnessing special effects and not real torture. The movie has been the target of some protests and criticism for its gruesome torture scenes.
Reed also worked as an actor in the past decade, including the lead role in the horror movie Dead Eye, released in 2011. He also appeared in other movies, including Catch of the Day, Killer Waves, and the upcoming movie The Dysfunctional Mob. He was also interviewed recently for a documentary movie about his life called Reed Unbound: the Joel M. Reed Story.
News of the Fan-Favorite Filmmaker’s Death Has Been Met With Online Tributes
Reed was a controversial horror filmmaker, but he had a loyal following and many online are mourning his death. Actor and film director Eli Roth posted a series of tweets remembering his experiences meeting and interviewing Reed.
One Twitter user posted:
He wrote: “This f***ing sucks. Just heard the legendary Joel M. Reed passed away after contracting coronavirus. Bloodsucking Freaks was probably the first truly sick film I watched and holds a very special place in my trash-loving heart. R.I.P.”
Lloyd Kaufman, a co-founder of Troma Entertainment, wrote: “RIP JOEL M REED, writer Director of [Troma Entertainment’s] Blood Sucking Freaks!”
One actor and filmmaker posted:
He wrote: “A sad loss to COVID 19… Sorry to hear of the passing of genre filmmaker Joel M. Reed – a lovely chap, who I enjoyed the pleasure of having breakfast with some years ago. His films weren’t for everyone’s tastes, but he was certainly a legend in the industry. A very nice man.”
Film critic Simon Abrams posted: “RIP to BLOODSUCKING FREAKS’ Joel M. Reed, who took inspiration from Herschell Gordon Lewis, and was probably more strange and angry than we all knew. Sad to hear that he’s gone. Here’s a poster for Reed’s BLOOD BATH (1975), paired with a retitled RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES.”