Or should I...
Should I get to the actual review? Nah, I'm going to linger on this for a while longer. Every frame is graced (or cursed) with an amazing technicolor pastel look that is almost nauseating as viewed from today. It's as if you took an Excel spreadsheet and colored each cell a different optional color and then stared at it for a while. Man, I've got this strange combination of phosphor burn-in and visual purple still stuck in my eyes from the credit sequence alone. Did you ever see the overly lavish tones of mid-'60s television shows that had just switched to Color recording? You know, the kind that makes anything on The Brady Bunch seem muted and tame by comparison? It's like "The Fugitive: IN COLOR... now broadcasting to you from somewhere in a fucking Dali painting or something! This is ABC! Always BIG Color!" Well Blood Feast has all of those things beat. This has a rainbow of colors that even Skittles has yet to emulate, man. I've seen more drab Gay Pride flags! The NBC Peacock and the Turnerized Black-and-Whites are both put to shame! I had to double check to make sure that jack of all possible filmic trades Herschell Gordon Lewis wasn't really Mr. Furley.
Now, just imagine how the buckets of Herschell Gordon Lewis' patented stage blood would look in a contrast like that. And in this film, buckets is an understatement.
But enough about the visuals... the sounds are straight out of early '60s Soap Operas. Herschell Gordon Lewis (in addition to his co-writer, producer and director credits) also was listed as the composer of the score. It seems clear to me where he got his inspiration from, namely The Guiding Light (which was still black and white in those days). I don't remember cannibalism or dismemberment on The Guiding Light, but I admit to having seen precious few episodes. I think they had a few episodes of One Life to Live like that, back in the Mitch Lawrence days, but I digress, I digress...
Aside from that parade of sleaze and cheese, Blood Feast is a film basically summed up perfectly by its title. We begin with a tone-setting sequence beginning with a woman listening to news reports of a mad slasher on the loose, preying on nude women and progress to actually seeing said woman get nude and get preyed upon by said mad slasher. This scene alone violates the definition of "Obscene" followed by the British Board of Film Classification, seeing as how we see a woman, clothed only in bath bubbles being dismembered.
We progress to what should have qualified as one of Monty Python's "Completely Different" scenes. A woman goes to an exotic caterer to plan a party for her daughter. We're talking the offices of Fuad Ramses (the appropriately named "Mal Arnold"), which probably should've been her first clue to turn the hell around on her heel and leave as soon as the glass door slammed behind her. If not the name of the place then the interior paint job that looks like a hit of acid somebody sweated on. I'd've been like "Whoop! Nope! Wrong place, sorry!" and I'd be out the do'! Man, that place had EXCEDRIN written all over it. If not that either, then how about the fact that Fuad is a complete creep? But no, Mrs. Dorothy Fremont (Lyn Bolton) just stands there smiling, even when she asks him a question and he just stands there staring at her, looking like the Android from the opening credit sequence from Scooby Doo Where Are You?! It must take this douche thirty seconds to answer a simple question, maybe because he's trying to think of the single creepiest way to do so.
Anyway, Fuad promises to make a feast that hasn't been enjoyed for thousands of years (because, for some reason beyond sanity, Dorothy hires him). What Dorothy doesn't realize is what's really in store for her poor daughter Suzette (Connie Mason). You see, not only is Fuad Ramses the slasher in question (even his hair is technicolor blue), but his slash-happy occupation is all about the pleasure of the Egyptian Godess Ishtar, to whom each of Fuad's victims is a sacrifice. Should we care that "Ishtar" is actually a Babylonian Goddess (about as "Egyptian" as "The Lady in the Lake")? Hell no, Lewis didn't, nor did the other writers, Allison Louise Downe and David F. Friedman. I mean, they really didn't care! I would have believed that he was actually sacrificing to the evil power of the movie Ishtar, if Blood Feast hadn't predated it by a good two decades.
The 67 minutes (!) of this film drags on like a hilariously morbid production of some "Follies" or other with Mal Arnold occasionally posing (and looking like a cross between Peter Lorre and Marty Feldman with blue-ass hair) and doing his best to look menacing. Occasionally we also get the bumbling misadventures of the cop, who is always one step behind Fuad's ass, Detective Pete Thornton (William Kerwin, to whom an unevenly distributed quantity of really bad lines were awarded). 67 minutes... if you can take this as comedy, you can endure it. Right up to the hilariously lame ending. Hully GEE!
But there are repulsive scenes that would be considered shocking even today, most noticeably some back room torture and butchering scenes all set to Soap Operatic Organ Music amid a rainbow of fruit flavored hues. One might not expect a flick from the early sixties to exceed the late '70s and early '80s gore quotient, but this one is a red-soaked sponge of a flick. For gore hounds and fans of the super-inept bad movie, this is the one for you! Although certainly not a huge success by Hollywood standards, this film has had much more success than it had any claim to, spawning a remake, many immitators and even a 2002 sequel, man! A direct sequel, that is, seeing as how Blood Feast is even considered to be the first in Lewis' "Blood Trilogy", consisting of Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs and Color Me Blood Red. And that's only three of Herschell Gordon Lewis' 37 films. Not bad, eh?
Maybe not... Blood Feast, though... Bad! Whether you call it sleazy cheese or cheesy sleaze, Blood Feast is a veritable Feast of Bad. Munch on it, if you dare, but remember, it's not just a Turkey... it's a DOG! I can't tell you how happy I am that my daughter's last birthday was such a quiet affair, now that I'm so damned familiar with the alternative. Whoa, nelly! Hell, today at work, this guy I work with said "So, where's lunch, Egyptian or Indian?" and I was like "Shit! Indian, man! Fuck!" Blood Feast may no longer be a "rare" film... but it's still bloody. See you in the next reel.
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