Blood Feast (1963)
Ancient Egyptian cults! Decapitations! Must I mention, the infamous “pulling out the tongue” scene? Yes, this is what Blood Feast is made of (and, really, not much more). In all its shallow, technically awful glory, it is one of the most important “trash” films ever made.
The plot goes like this. Wait, what am I talking about? This is a H.G. Lewis film! What plot???? This film is a bizarre Frankenstein-like story where this guy with big bushy eyebrows (I mean, get tweezers already) is collecting body parts to bring Ishtar (an Egyptian goddess) back to life. All it is, is a montage of graphic (and incredibly humorous) decapitations. The acting is atrocious, the gore is repulsive, and the movie has the technical prowess of my grandfather’s “shaky” home movies. But, boy, it’s one hell of a fun ride!
The special effects, by today’s standards, are terrible. However, for that time period (and on an incredibly small budget), they are slightly impressive. The creativity lies in the deaths themselves. It’s very easy to forget that back then a film-goer would never see a tongue being ripped out of a person’s head. H.G. Lewis’s sole intention for Blood Feast was to provide the audience with scenes they have never seen before and adding a good dose of shock value to them. The biggest critics seem to try to look at the film as more than it actually is. From its very conception, it was only intended to get a rise out of people by the most horrifying way possible, and give the audience a good dose of cheesy-trash-fun. No more, no less. If you try to look at it as more than it is, you will be sorely disappointed.
Blood Feast, regardless of what many “film purists” would like to admit, is a pivotal trend setter in horror films. It’s important to remember that during this period of time horror was still “larger than life” science fiction monsters or psychological terror. Never before has gore been the pivotal factor in propelling an entire horror film. Blood Feast started a new sub-genre of horror which I call goresploitation. Goresploitation films are gore for gore’s sake and the only reason the writer has to follow a storyline is to cause more gore. It’s easy to dismiss this genre as “cheesy-trash” filmmaking, and it certainly is. However, this sub-genre is still entertaining,. After all, isn’t that the whole POINT of movies to begin with?
This film isn’t for everyone. If you can find entertainment in truly bad films (and I’m not talking Plan 9 from Outer Space here, because that film is just a glorified bad film), then you will love Blood Feast. If you love special effects, makeup, or are just interested in gore history, give this film a shot. Or perhaps, if Meatcleaver Massacre, Blood Freak, or Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers are your cup of tea, then you’ll love this doozy. It is the worst of the worst in technical merit, and the best of the best in trash cinema. It runs at 67 minutes (just enough time to have you laughing hysterically or running out of the cinema crying). Pick up a six pack and a couple of your more cinematography-challenged buddies and enjoy. It’ll be funnier than the latest Hollywood comedy you saw.