Gene Coutier (he’s possibly the worst actor of them all)
Trivia Blood Feast was filmed in Miami in only nine days and cost just under $25,000.
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Blood Feast (1963)
16th Mar 05
Young women are being horribly murdered in what seems to be a small US town. The murderer is a nutcase of a caterer who is collecting the necessary body parts to prepare an Egyptian feast that was last prepared 5000 years ago for the evil Goddess Ishtar. His ultimate goal is to bring Ishtar back from the dead.
If you like gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis’s films shouldn’t disappoint. If you’ve never seen a Herschell Gordon Lewis film, then think Ed Wood films with colour and gore. If you’ve never seen an Ed Wood film, just skip him and move right along to Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Blood Feast, his first real ‘gore’ film made in 1963 features some of the most shoddy acting, script and production values I’ve ever witnessed, but Lewis’s passion for shamelessly soaking the screen red with blood can’t fail to appeal. That was his whole point. Before Blood Feast, he dabbled in nudie / mild exploitation flicks (including Living with Venus, The Adventures of Lucky Pierre, Daughter of the Sun) before deciding that he wanted to make gore the star – the one thing that would make audiences come to see his films. And it worked. Blood Feast is where it all began and at the time it was shocking stuff.
The story starts with a woman listening to radio announcement reporting the death and mutilation of an unlucky young lady. Then she turns off the radio, disrobes, and heads for the bath. She is wearing possibly the biggest white underpants ever manufactured. Then, at once, the killer is upon her, cutting out her eyeball and then her ankle. We see the killer. He looks like he shampooed his hair, then styled it without washing the shampoo out. He has the craziest eyes and even crazier eyebrows which are quite hard to take your eyes off. The blood floweth freely and we now know who Herschell Gordon Lewis is - the first master of gore.
At 14 minutes on the counter, he ‘offs’ a fornicator, and takes time to play with her internal organs and brains before putting them in his bag. Brains and guts everywhere. At 23 minutes, he pulls out a drunk woman’s tongue. This takes ages as he struggles to get a decent grip (she’s still alive), but in the end, he gets what he came for. I’m beginning to like this film.
In the end though, he is rumbled. His legitimate front – an exotic catering company – ‘Ramses’ (because that’s his name) - is providing a banquet for the daughter of a local posh lady, Mrs Freemark. This banquet, for some reason, is the killer’s chosen time to offer up the Blood Feast to the Goddess Ishtar. This daughter, Suzette, is by coincidence dating the local cop who is trying to track down the killer. By another strange coincidence, this very same cop is attending a lecture on Ancient Egypt. This particular lecture is focusing on something known as the Blood Feast of Ishtar. Now, is that a coincidence or is that a coincidence?!
There’s plenty to laugh at in Blood Feast. For example:
- The police station – we never see the outside, or any other part of the station. No. The station comprises ONE desk, and that’s all we ever see.
- The hilariously implausible police tactics and interaction between these guys – obviously the only two cops in town. One line taken at random is “Well, Frank, this looks like its going to be one of them long, hard ones.” Errr… ok, so maybe I didn’t just pick that one at random.
- Ramses’ accent. I have no idea what kind of accent this is meant to be. Perhaps he’s supposed to be Egyptian, but as far as I could tell, he is just some guy who is trying to sound a bit like Bela Lugosi and has been waiting his entire life to play a bad guy with a limp.
- Ramses’ disturbingly large eyebrows as previously stated. You’ll understand why I’ve mentioned this twice when you see them.
- The acting where the guy who’s girlfriend has been murdered is crying to the cops – “It all happened so fast”, and the like. Bloody hell, what makes these people think they might be able to act? Beautifully poor.
- All the rest of the acting, especially Suzette (Connie Mason).
But it’s all ok. It’s a laugh, so get a copy, get a mate or two at your place (or go to their place, I don’t really care), have a drink and watch Blood Feast. It’s really enjoyable rubbish.
Versions The Tartan Video UK DVD release has been cut by the BBFC to remove shots of Ramses's whip hitting the girl in his back room. These have been replaced with shots of the statue's head and Ramses's face.
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