Monday, October 25, 2010

Ancient Weird Religious Rites

Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Writer: Allison Louise Downe
Starring: William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason
1963 | United States | Not Rated | 67 mins

Blood! Guts! Grue! Gore! All these wonderfully gooey, splattery, and deep red markings of violence became a horror staple that continues to upset stomaches to this day and has effects wizards coming up with ways to kill someone that outdoes the previous. But violence in film has never always been extreme and it wasn't until the 60's when David F. Friedman, a carnival barker working in film, and his business-savy partner Herschell Gordon Lewis decided they needed a new approach to get people to the drive-ins and make a quick buck off their low budget films. Prior to creating the splatter genre, or gore film, the two had been working in nudie-cutie flicks, but with market saturation they needed a new angle to hook young and daring audiences, and that angle was on-screen death and blood - lots of wet, messy, and deep red blood! 

Fuad Ramses (Mal Arnold) is a caterer who caters to all his customers' needs, specializing in the very unusual dining experience! Fuad is currently carving up women in increasingly gruesome fashion as he prepares his sacrificial offering to Ishtar, an Egytian Goddess he is trying to bring back to life, using his victims' body parts as the main ingredients. When Mrs. Fremont (Lyn Bolton) chooses Ramses to cater her daughter Suzette's (Connie Mason) party it'll be more than just an Egyptian Feast as s detective (William Kerwin) tries to stop the madman before he completes the main course of the Blood Feast!

Blood Feast ushered in a new experience in horror that audiences had not experience before: the shocking visual overload of grisly and gruesome violence and death. Limbs are cut off, eyeballs removed, bloody lashings, scalping, and more! Lewis, who also shot the film and scored the wonderfully atrocious "thematic music", splashes on bucket after bucket of bright red blood. The colours are so vibrant you almost need to be wearing sunglasses while watching the movie. But don't go in expecting masterful filmmaking, Blood Feast is the epitome of low-budget drive-in fare, but it's so bad it's good. The acting by all is so gloriously overacted you can't help but laugh and some of the dialogue is pure comic genuis. Police Captain: "Ramses was the killer we've been looking for. Mrs. Fremont, I'm afraid this feast is evidence of murder!" Mrs. Fremont: "Oh dear! The guests will have to eat hamburgers for diner tonight."

You really can't have a campier time at the movies then with Blood Feast. And with its short run time the movie is jam packed with blood and gore but you don't feel stuffed after this feast of gruesome excess. Bad acting, bad writing, bad cinematography, and bad music somehow come together to shock viewers into wincing while chuckling out loud and becomes a horror classick. Herschell Gordon Lewis, the Godfather of Gore, created a new movement in repulsive and sickening horror filmmaking that would influence the likes of John Waters and Peter Jackson and Eli Roth and ensure that cinema would never be the same again, one where the silver screen gets soaked by sprays of the wet crimson red and would have audiences squirming in their seats. And possibly throwing up into the vomit bags provided by the theatre ushers prior to showtime.

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

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