Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blood Feast (1963)

Fear 3/5
Gore 5/5
Creepiness 5/5
Entertainment 5/5

Herschell Gordon Lewis is often credited as the progenitor of gore in horror films. Not copious amounts of blood (although he employs a large amount of that) but full-on innards being exposed and subsequently ripped from body and limb. His first film (and my initial exposure to his work), Blood Feast is certainly a delectable delight of a film.
The film centers on a bushy browed man who is terrorizing his town, killing off women and removing their body parts and vital organs. He happens to own a specialty grocery store that sells different foods from around the world. We come to find out that he has an obssession with an Egyptian goddess and he's created a life-like shrine to her (which is altogether cheesy as its just a mannequin with gold spray paint and a funky plastic headdress). A woman comes into the store claiming that she wants to throw a birthday party for her daughter (who also happens to love Egyptian culture and myth, what a coincidence!) which will be the toast of the town and our caterpillar eyebrowed maniacal man has just the solution. He wants to prepare a 'special' feast that was enjoyed by the goddess over 3,000 years ago (or something like that).

So the evil eyebrowed dude who has a little shop of hidden horrors in his store's back room continues his murderous spree. Its revealed that he is collecting all of these body parts and organs to create a stew which will summon the spirit of the goddess and bring her to life. And guess who has the final component of his special Campbell's Thick and Chunky soup?

What makes this film altogether fun is that it does not take itself seriously. The gore is surprisingly realistic for its time and the dialogue and cheese employed throughout the film is just classic (i'm pretty sure I caught one of the actresses reading from a cue card off camera). And the one liners being dispensed were classic. Check out this nugget (when the police catch up to the killer in a landfill and he's chased into the back of a garbage truck that starts its trash compactor): 'Well he's exiting the world just like he came in, as trash.' Brilliant!

The gore is well executed, the story over the top and silly and the dialogue and acting also follows suit. Blood Feast is altogether fun, sleazy and a gory good time. I can't wait to see what else is in store in Lewis' series of films. Oh and check out the trailer. Apparently before each of his films a special disclaimer was given. Freaking awesome.

Cortez the Killer

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