Blood Feast

3 out of 5

Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis

No, it ain’t good, but once you start to wade in to semi-serious horror movie watching, I’d say you owe it to yourself to watch Blood Feast – Herschell Gordon Lewis’ conscious effort to (if I may paraphrase the wiki article) put all the havoc back on-screen that Psycho left off, and kicking off genre fans love of gore at the same time, which is unabashedly lingered on, tied to the cheesecake elements that, for better or worse, also became synonymous with the scene.

Everything you’ve read or heard is pretty accurate: the acting is stilted, and oddly timed; production is barebones, likely shot in existing setups or on sets dressed up just enough to say “office;” and the blood n’ guts are of the variety that we’d see in a sitcom’s Halloween special nowadays, but wind your mind back to when this stuff wasn’t seen on screen: animal parts draped in red, dripping “blood,” held up for the camera to ogle whilst a scantily clad maven lies in the background with the same goop spread across her “wound…”  I can very easily imagine having a fun shudder or shout when watching it with a crowd of film-goers eager to be entertained by sleaze.

The plot is barely enough to fill a page – Fuad Ramses is obsessed with Egyptian death cults and blood feasts, and is killing young girls and harvesting their parts to ressurrect a goddess – and the moments stitched inbetween his kills are laughably repetitive.  Cops: “There’s just no evidence on this killer!”  Soon to be victims: “We should probably not stay out very late because of the murderer on the loose, but just one more smooch…”  (Meanwhile, constant references to daytime / nighttime are betrayed by whatever it actually is outside, day or night.)

Besides its place in history as the first “gore” flick, Blood Feast is also rather watchable because it’s clearly not taking itself seriously: there’s no hiding what Lewis was after with the way his camera lingers on skin and bloody bits, and it builds up to an amusing conclusion.  Plus – it’s like an hour long, which is probably the perfect length for this kinda B-fare.