BLOOD FEAST Is A Great DVD From Something Weird Video
Jeffrey Timko | 03/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Blood Feast" is the most famous work of exploitation auteur Herschell Gordon Lewis. Released in 1963, it is considered the first slasher film, the one that spawned all of the imitators: "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Friday the 13th", etc. Despite (or because of) its questionable acting and really fake blood, it is a classic. Something Weird Video has given "Blood Feast" a great tribute with its DVD version. A beautiful print of the film was used, all of the garish colors are presented in their full glory. It contains one of the most interesting audio commentaries on a DVD that I have ever listened to. Director Herschell Gordon Lewis and producer David F. Friedman provide insights into everything you've ever wanted to know about "Blood Feast" - the casting, the special effects, the creation of Lewis' signiature music score, and much more. There are so many great anecdotes shared on the commentary: how Pine Sol was used to get rid of the smell of the sheep tongue (used for the infamous tongue removal scene) since it was being stored in a refrigerator and the power went out, how they had to spend money on a freeze frame at the optical effects lab because an actress pretending to be dead couldn't hold her breath (you can see her failed attempts in the collection of nearly 50-minutes of outtakes included on the DVD), a pizza parlor was used for the scene where the maniacal Fuad Ramses cooks a human leg in an oven, and how they first realized the film was going to be a phenomenon when they got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to its Peoria, Illinois drive-in premiere. P.S. - Bonus for trivia buffs: Robert Sinise, the editor of "Blood Feast", is the father of actor Gary Sinise. The DVD of "Blood Feast" is a must own for fans of the film and film buffs thanks to the great quality of the film to DVD transfer and the extras included by Something Weird Video."
Horror fans have to see this, naturally
General Zombie | the West | 05/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those few movies where everything that everyone says about it is precisely true: Utterly barebones production, flatly pathetic acting, stilted and pointless dialogue, and lots and lots of ultra-phony gore. Of course, this is pretty undisputedly the first real gore film, so horror fans pretty much have to see this. And, even if it weren't so important historically it would be worth seeing anyway, cause it's pretty damn cool either way.
Fortunately, in making the first gore film they didn't go halfway. Sure, there are tons of films which are gorier then it now, it's still gory enough that if it were redone, shot for shot with realistic, modern effects, it wouldn't be allowed an R rating in a million years. You got flaying, leg severing, heart extracting, tongue ripping, brain, um, snatching etc. And, while the gore effects are incredibly dated, they aren't quite as cheap and old as I would have imagined. The blood itself actually holds up fairly well, and looks better than much of the stage blood you'd see over the next 20 years or so. It's actually red! It is also delightfully shameless, perpetually leering at the simplistic effects in a way that makes Fulci look almost reserved by comparison. For example, fairly late in the film there is a 42 second pan over a flaying victim. (i.e. someone just covered with fake blood) 42 seconds may not sound that long when I just say it, but when you're actually watching it it's pretty damn funny, and seems to go on forever. It's also got some odd quirks, such as how virtually all the violence is performed in utter silence, with no sound effects, only music. It manages to make these scenes somehow poignant, in spite of the overall laughable nature of the project.
The film only gets 3 stars because much of the terrible acting and dialogue grows somewhat tiresome after a while. There are only a few topics: The cops whine about how they can't catch the mad butcher who is killing women, and stealing their body parts, and the civilains whine about there's a killer out there, and then reflect happily on the party they plan to have that Saturaday. (Turns out that the guy who's catering the party, Fuad Ramses, is the killer, and is gonna feed them the parts he stole. What a coincidence.) The directing is also amusingly flat. The camera hardly ever moves, nor do the actors. They just stand there, statue-stiff, delivering there lines. It's also got a fun soundtrack, with endless thumping tympani and cheesy organs and such. Lotsa people are irritated by it, but I find it quite amusing.
Yeah, you know if you wanna see this or not. So do it.
The film that gave birth to the genre of gory movies
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 12/10/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Blood Feast, the brain child of goremeister Herschell Gordon Lewis is one of the most important horrible movies ever made. Without question, the movie really, really stinks in more ways than I would have thought possible, but this, ladies and gentlemen, 1963's Blood Feast, gave birth to the blood and gore genre we know and love today. One man, H.G. Lewis, decided he was going to make a statement; he was going to shock people; he was going to give people gore as they had never seen it before; nothing could stop him, not the atrocious script, not the mind bogglingly bad actors, not his insistence to never shoot a scene more than three times no matter how awful it came out, and not the lack of any funds whatsoever; as long as Lewis could afford barrels of Karo syrup, he was happy. Looking back now, it's pretty hard to believe that this level of gore actually shocked people in the early 1960s, but history tells us that it did. Believe me, we've come a long way since then, but it was H.G. Lewis who blazed the trail we tread today.On the face of it, Blood Feast would seem to have some good things going for it: a catered feast secretly prepared with human blood and body parts, the influence of an ancient Egyptian religious rite, a number of dead bodies, and even a Playboy playmate in the form of Connie Mason (Miss June 1963). Despite all this, though, the movie drops an H bomb from the very first moment. Plot-wise, you have a series of gruesome murders striking fear all over town, with the killer bagging nubile young women at a rate of 3-4 a week. From each victim he takes a different body part (each time it looks like intestines to me, yet it can be an eyeball, an arm, a heart, whatever). The killer needs these "ingredients" so that he can bring the blood-thirsty goddess Ishtar back to life. The police are clueless, and I do mean clueless; they smoke cigarettes and sit at their desks as hard as they possibly can - heck, the chief even bangs his hand on the desk every now and again - but they just can't come up with a single clue (largely because they can't recognize a clue if it falls on top of them like a ton of bricks). Meanwhile, a wealthy woman is planning for her daughter's birthday celebration and, as a special surprise, she hires Fuad Ramses to cater the party. Ramses promises her an authentic Egyptian feast, and this idea goes over like gangbusters because daughter Suzette just so happens to be attending weekly lectures on ancient Egyptian cults. Suzette also happens to be the girl of one of the town's only two detectives, so you see how all of this starts fitting together. While the gore is pretty unspectacular from our modern viewpoint, Lewis succeeds quite well at times. We don't actually get to see the actual killings, of course, but there are plenty of shots of our killer pulling out parts of human bodies in his blood-soaked hands, mixing up a batch of young woman blood soup, hacking off limbs and such, and of course cooking such delicacies. Lewis makes a point of admiring his gruesome handiwork, oftentimes panning the camera slowly across the whole body of a mutilated, blood-spattered, thoroughly dead victim. There is one scene in particular that impressed me, involving the appearance of a girl who has a sunken cavity in her chest where her heart used to be. By and large, though, the gore is quite campy to us modern-day horror fans, but one should try to appreciate it in its proper context. I can't conclude without addressing the performances of the actors and actresses involved with this movie. This may well be the worst assembly of hopeless actors I've ever seen. I don't know where Lewis found these people. You can't just take people off the street and have them perform this badly; it takes years of devoted practice to become this bad a performer. Lewis must have had some of these kids in a bad actor's training camp from the time they could talk in order to coax such wooden, ridiculously bad performances out of them. Then there is the terrible music, which continually takes one of three forms: endless repetition of two drum beats, the playing of a kazoo-like instrument, and terrible pipe organ music of the type that worked well alongside silent movies but does not work at all in this film. Basically, Blood Feast is a horribly campy, low-budget, sub-B horror movie that now serves as hilarious entertainment which can not be taken the least bit seriously. Were it not for its importance as the first true blood and gore film, this would be just another forgettable trek through the dark forest of bad horror movies. Its historic importance to the genre, however, makes it a film every gorehound must watch and pay homage to in some way."
A Laugh a Minute
A. Griffiths | London | 05/04/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"How do you define the classic that is "Blood Feast"? H. G. Lewis has said in interviews that as soon as the soft-core sex romps that he made went out of fashion, he needed a new angle that was cheap and attention grabbing - well, it was GORE! "Blood Feast" was his first attempt at this new style, and its hilarious from start to finish. The plot involves a sinister shop owner who is trying to resurrect an Egyptian goddess by dismembering beautiful girls. The film strings scenes of bloodshed together with the most inept and hammy scenes ever committed to film, especially those involing starlet Connie Mason, who can barely remember her cues, and the assorted extras who really go overboard upon the discovery of gruesome bodies. Watch out for the hysterical over-acting from the grieving mother of the beach victim! The gore scenes are indeed extreme, with gallons of blood and chunky bits splashed everywhere, but you would be hard pushed to be frightened during these scenes as nobody really looks like they are suffering. All in all it has the cheap atmosphere of one of thos 60's "nudie" films, but instaed of lingering close-ups on a young beauty undressing, you get lingering close-ups of a young beauty having her tongue extracted, or having a leg sawn off while in the bath! All in all it's enormous fun, especially at parties. Worth buying."