Blood Feast/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Blood Feast

Smeared in buckets of bright red paint and brimming with juvenile tastelessness, H.G. Lewis’ most popular feature, Blood Feast, is a genre-spawning, slice-and-dice epic not unlike an ultra-violent take on Community Theater. It possesses none of the generally recognized standards of quality filmmaking (i.e. thoughtful direction, elegant writing, and authentic set design) and serves up a bevy of jaw-droppingly awful performances that seem like the acting work of a confused elder or recent head wound victim.

Yet, Blood Feast possesses an undeniable charm, achieving a sense of wonder and significance through its unique perspective and guileless creation. Not for one moment was I bored or distracted; watching in a trance-like state of joyous elation. This is the kind of film that seems to know its flaws, embrace them, and welcome the viewer to heartily laugh along. For those interested in such an experience, this flick comes highly recommended!

The story revolves around the dastardly doings of a local caterer named Fuad Ramses, who peddles culinary delicacies by day, and makes blood sacrifices to Ishtar, an Egyptian princess, by night. Unfortunately for Ramses, ace detective Pete Thornton is hot on his trail, and must stop him before he unleashes an authentic blood feast on poor Suzette Fremont’s birthday gala.

If it sounds ridiculous now, you may not be the audience for this type of enterprise, but those interested haven’t even heard the payoff. This movie is loaded with graphic murders performed on unsuspecting and under-clothed sex kittens, and it wouldn’t be an H.G. Lewis film if these lovely ladies weren’t removed of their limbs, plucked of their eyeballs, and brutally brained right on screen.

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There’s even an opening shower scene that closely resembles Alfred Hitchcock’s famous work in Psycho. However, Lewis’ acts as an antithesis to that seminal moment, displaying all of the carnage to the audience with a lingering camera that remains stationary for minutes with little to nothing left to the imagination. It seems that if anything is actually cut out (no pun intended), it was due more to budgetary limitation than any concern for modesty or decency. The creepy, minimalist organ score gives an unsettling vibe to these shocking scenes of torture and Mal Arnold’s abrasive, sweat-soaked performance as Ramses only lends to the nightmarish quality.

Arnold’s “inspired” performance may be the only one that is anything but awful. As for the rest of the cast, I sure hope they didn’t quit their day jobs. Particularly embarrassing is Scott H. Hall (as police chief, Frank), who reads nearly all of his dialogue from the palm of his hand, causing equal amounts of hilarity and confusion. During the beach sequence, Hall even seems to have trouble deciphering his palm notes and it’s a testament to Lewis’ genius that he decided not to re-shoot these amusingly awkward sequences.

The female leads are nothing to write home about either. Playmate and Lewis regular, Connie Mason, performs like an automaton, showing absolutely no emotion during her phonetically read lines of dialogue, and her screen mother, Lyn Bolton, reads a whole scene's worth of writing off of the seat cushion of her couch.

This is a truly one-of-a-kind experience and it’s nearly impossible to watch an individual scene without a smile on your face and a “what-the-fuck” attitude in your heart. I would be hard pressed to recommend a better film for an evening of mindless viewing and unbridled alcohol consumption.

Reviewed by Mdeapo

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