Herschell Gordon Lewis’ shocking cult classic is considered the first gore movie. When a society woman decides to plan a soirase, she hires psychotic caterer Ramses, who decides to prepare a “Blood Feast” using human body parts. As Ramses gathers ingredients, the police try to stop his evil deeds before it’s too late. Though wonderfully campy by today’s standards, nothing so graphic as BLOOD FEAST had been seen in 1963. Screenings sold out all over the US, and once Hollywood saw that violence and gore could make a buck, horror movies were never the same again. Contains violence and gore.
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Writers: Louise Downe (screenplay), David F. Friedman (story), Herschell Gordon Lewis (story)
Stars: William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Stars
REVIEW – BLOOD FEAST is another one of those films that I feel, if it came out in the last ten years, it would never have been as talked about. BLOOD FEAST is one of those films that its legacy, is actually better than its reality. The opening seems to be a play on the popular Hitchcock classic PSYCHO. You have a bathroom with a woman taking a bath. While she is in for a relaxing little moment a madman attacks her with a knife as she screams in fear. Right after she is dead, the psycho takes a second to absorb what he just did. We then get a glimpse of this sadistic grin on his face which shows us two things that he takes pride in killing or that we better get ready for what is next. Fuad Ramses who is the psycho removes the girl’s left eyeball. Think about this part, this is 1963 cinema. I would have loved to see what people were thinking when they got to see a image like this. Fear not, Ramses has more planned for this girl. He then starts to cut away at her left leg until it is not her left leg anymore. He then places this leg into a black duffle bag, while he is making sure his weapon is clean. After all, when you are done killing someone, always make sure your instruments are clean, who would want to be the next victim and be killed by a dirty instrument of death? BLOOD FEAST is a film that really breaks the rules for the time period it was released. I am pretty sure this was a direct shot at Hitchcock, that his style needed to go into the deeper waters.
BLOOD FEAST is not a bad film. I feel Lewis did his job of getting people talking at that time. The film had to be viewed as very revolutionary for the simple fact, no one went that far before. I just feel that after the initial shock gets out of the way, the film just becomes very forgettable. This film in ways could be the great grandfather to torture porn. This film pushed the envelope of cinema in ways that I feel at that time, it was not really ready to embrace, but yet if you asked people, it was clearly what they wanted. I can say, I was not a fan of the sequel either, which I felt was so unnecessary. You have a film that was deemed “cutting edge” for its time and impact, and a paint by the numbers sequel. If you never seen this film before, BLOOD FEAST is definitely good for a watch. I will go one better, seeing that the price of this film is less than movie tickets, I would say maybe good enough for a purchase. The first sequence alone is worth the price.
BLOOD FEAST | Official Trailer: