Monday, August 3, 2009

#90 - Bloodfeast

Blood Feast (1963)

Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis. Written by: A. Louise Down.

Plot: A deranged caterer with really weird eyebrows (Mal Arnold) kills beautiful young women and chops them up, which somehow is helping him to revive this Ancient Egyptian goddess.

Review: I know, this movie is terrible, but it is essentially, sixty-seven minutes of severed limbs and pointless gore and violence. I mean, what the hell is wrong with that?

Yes, it is low budget, incompetent and there is absolutely nothing subtle or restrained about it, but it is extremely entertaining and buoyed by a manic energy which is hard to find in higher budget films.

I'm willing to admit that it is not by any stretch a good movie. In fact, it’s a terrible movie. It’s cheap, the direction is incompetent, the plot is incomprehensible, the acting is worse than awful. But it has a certain purity which I admire. And it doesn’t care what you think (I may be over anthropomorphizing the movie here a little bit, but bear with me). It never apologizes for its crappiness.

It was also my introduction to H.G. Lewis and the world of the truly awful movie (I didn’t know that movies this bad existed before I saw this. My idea of suck was, like, Predator 2. I could not believe what I was watching), and will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. It was also after watching this film that I started working on the Trashiness Scale (I should call it the Sleaziness Scale as it is better at grading the sleaziness of a film). It took me another two months or so to refine and start using it, but this is really the film against which all others are compared in my mind. Things are either more or less trashy than Blood Feast. Usually less).

Blood Feast also retains a level of shock value even after forty six years. I mean, it isn’t, like, Se7en or anything, but it is a little offensive. A chick gets her LEGS CUT OFF! in the first scene, preparing us for the festival of mutilation which is to come. It also has some historical importance, being almost a period piece. A window into the way things used to be. The way movies used to be made.

A time when a person could shoot a fifteen page script in a week for a couple grand and still make a profit at the grindhouses and drive-ins. This movie is the American Dream, and H.G. Lewis a true American hero.

Favourite Part: The deranged Egyptian caterer has one of the beautiful young girls chained up in the basement of his business and, for no apparent reason, begins whipping her and screaming “Give yourself to the goddess!” prior to killing her and removing some part of her body. Damn straight.

Other versions: ?

Sequels: Blood Diner and Blood Feast 2.

Click here to read my original review (May 23rd, 2008).

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