I’d originally seen this a few years back not long after HG Lewis died. Blood Feast was the first of his movies I’d taken out for a spin. I have to confess to being relatively unaware of his works at the time, but upon researching it would appear he was more or less responsible for the exploitational gore genre.
With seminal gore curiosity piqued, I chose “Blood Feast” for my first HG Lewis experience. Let’s be honest, HG Lewis was never a household name. The movie was always going to be B grade at best. The movie was widely panned by the media at the time but I found it reasonably well shot. Quite watchable in fact. To be fair, I think its on par with anything shot in the 60s -70s horror vein anyway.
On my initial viewing I have to say I found some of the acting and the gore a little ‘hammy’ by modern standards. I went into this knowing that would be the case. On the second viewing years later, I warmed up to this one a lot. The movie made more sense, especially after the multitude of films I’ve since watched, this made more sense. Both historically and aesthetically. The soundtrack has one of those creepy horror music backings, that is quite simply other worldly. Lots of electric organ / moog type sounds, and percussion that really serve to heighten the senses and highlight the gore. Whist the gore in this film would have been an extremity at the time (really it was THE extremity at the time) now days, it’s so quaint that you a lot of it has a certain cuteness. How times have changed.
The Plot of Blood Feast
Plot wise, it follows the exploits of a shop keeper ‘Ramses’ who is intent on bringing the ancient Egyptian goddess ‘Ishtar’ back to life. The movie is set against a backdrop of gruesome murders. Beautiful young ladies are getting murdered in most vile fashion all over town. Rameses owns a small ethnic Egyptian food store. He gets commissioned to hold a special feast for a young lady, by her mother. She wants something special and Ramses offers her the “Egyptian Feast”. A banquet that has not been served for over 5000 years.
Instead of questioning why it hasn’t been served in all this time, his client blindly accepts the proposed meal. It then it becomes apparent it’s our Rameses that has killing the young ladies in anticipation of holding a special “blood feast”. A murderous rite, featuring an offering of assorted body parts harvested from his victims, through which he hopes to raise the Egyptian goddess Ishtar back from the dead.
Like I said before, I found it quite enjoyable and I love that old 60’s 70’s B Grade vibe. A cinematic feel which only a movie shot on film can have. As far as gore content goes, it is reportedly one of the first films to show full-on gore. The only other example I can think of is Lewis’ other film 1000 Maniacs. This is definitely a level beyond that though. As revolutionary as it was for the time, I don’t think anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie before would be put off by this.
Blood Feast is fairly tame by today’s standards really. The gore comes across a little fake, but If nothing else it it paved the way for many gore films following it. It really all adds to the charm of the affair anyway. Overall I liked it, I think its an important piece of history for horror buffs to experience. Definitely worth your time as a movie, but more importantly worth your time to see this part of the evolution of horror movies.
Be sure to also check out our review of 2000 Maniacs – Also directed by HG Lewis
For more great horror movie links and reviews feel free to check out https://www.gorenography.com