Thursday, July 15, 2010
Blood Feast (1963) / Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat (2002)
Poor little Suzette Fremont. All she wanted was a nice and normal birthday party. What did she get? A Blood Feast! See where the splatter film began with Herschell Gordon Lewis's 1963 shocker Blood Feast, which shocked audiences with it's graphic depiction of gore and certainly leaving the viewer with something to dismember.
An Egyptian cater named Fuad Ramses has been secretly murdering and collecting body parts from several young women around the Miami area as part of a sacrificial feast to the Egyptian Goddess Ishtar. Meanwhile, Mrs. Dorothy Fremont has hired Ramses to be the cater for her daughter Suzette's birthday party. Suzette and Detective Pete Thornton are currently taking a course on Egyptian history. Pete soon discovers that Ramses is the killer that they are after and must stop him before he can take his next victim: Suzette.
The movies of H.G. Lewis are not going to be everybody's thing. It's an acquired taste in my opinion. His movies usually depict graphic scenes of gore and dismemberment, while also adding wacky humor known as slapstick humor or in this case splatstick. Before Lewis came along, movies (more particuliarly horror movies) could not have such graphic violence. Everything was under-wraps or in other words the violence was "off screen". That doesn't mean that there were no good horror films in the early days or disturbing films. Take Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho from 1960. Great horror/thriller with out any blood or nudity. It relied on story, characters, suspense, tension, music, and mystery to draw audiences in instead of delivering tons of gore and female nudity to gain an audience. Just because horror films were not allowed to show gore didn't mean that people weren't curious what graphic murders would look like in the open. There were horror genre plays that showed realistic horrific violence in front of a live audience.
In 1963, an independent filmmaker named Herschell Gordon Lewis decided to make a horror/exploitation film that would use graphic blood and gore right in front of the camera. That film was called Blood Feast, which shocked the hell out of people in the sixties. People just didn't know how to react to this new form of horror. Lewis went on to make such graphic motion pictures as Two-Thousand Maniacs!, The Gore Gore Girls, The Wizard of Gore, Color Me Blood Red, and the sequel Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat. Horror fans have and will forever know Mr. Lewis as "The Godfather of Gore". When horror filmmakers make very graphic and bloody horror flicks, a great majority of the time, Lewis is one of their top inspirations.
Anyway, Blood Feast is the first in the Lewis gorefests, but I wouldn't say it is my favorite Lewis film. It has a great cult following, but I personally liked Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat a lot better. Blood Feast is really a like it or hate it type of movie. If you're a gore hound and love Lewis's work then you will at least enjoy it. If you're into the more psychological stuff then this is definitely not your kinda movie. Like I said before, Lewis is an acquired taste. He's definitely a legend in my book. The story to Blood Feast is pretty straight forward. Lewis is not known for great storytelling or great character development. The plots to his movies are always straight forward and center on his expertise, the violence/gore. His characters are usually very wacky and the films have that wacky sense of humor. If you love sick and twisted humor then Lewis is your guy. The man sure knows how to construct gruesome gory deaths especially in Two-Thousand Maniacs! and Blood Feast 2.
The dialogue in Blood Feast sounds really ridiculous sometimes. I don't know if it was how the script was written or just intentional bad line delivery to add humor to the one dimensional victims. This is pre- Friday The 13th and we already have cannon fodder. Every victim's purpose in this movie is to die in some of the most graphic ways in the sixties. For all of those who are spoiled by modern splatter and torture porn films, yes, the gore looks really funny, but back in the early sixties man it really fucked with peoples' heads. We get some pretty cool kills. My favorite is the chick in the motel room who starts to scream before Ramses grabs her tongue while she is trying to scream and slices it out of her mouth. The part where Fuad has Suzette's friend chained to a wall and is whipping her was good too. There's also a crazy scene where Fuad attacks this girl who is making out with her boyfriend on the beach by cutting her brains out and taking her eyeball. The guy playing her boyfriend had bad fucking line delivery though, which is really fucking funny. The screenplay was written by Allison Louise Downe with the story penned by Lewis and his partner David F. Friedman. The script was alright but the violence is where this movie is good. There are definitely a few scenes that are just fucking weird though. As far as the characters go, the two leads Suzette and Detective Pete Thornton were actually pretty likeable as well as being more of actual characters. Playboy playmate Connie Mason was both very cute and likeable as Suzette. William Kerwin was definitely my favorite actor in the movie as Detective Pete Thornton. You could tell that Mason and Kerwin had good chemistry together. That's probably why Lewis and Friedman brought them back to play the surviving couple in Lewis's next shocker Two-Thousand Maniacs!.
Mal Arnold was okay as the villain Fuad Ramses. The guy definitely had that psychotic vibe about him especially his eyes which reminded me a lot of Bela Lugosi had in Dracula. Pretty creepy dude. All of the other characters are just there. These movies aren't really known for much character development anyway. I do take issue with the way some of the characters' dialogue is written though and how some of them react to the brutality in the movie. There's a scene at the end where Ramses tried to kill Suzette and the cops arrive after Ramses goes on the run. Pete tells Suzette's mother Dorothy about what's up and then tells her that she should throw all of Ramses's food out because of it being parts of the local women who were murdered. And this is her reaction...
" Oh well, I may as well fix hamburgers instead."
I don't know about you, but if the cater for my daughter's birthday party turned out to be some cannibalistic killer that planned to serve us parts of young women, the last thing I would think about is EATING FOOD and also, I don't know, FREAK THE FUCK OUT! The ending to the movie felt like a more adult version of Scooby Doo with Pete doing the Fred thing by describing how he figured out that Ramses was the killer that they were after all along. The whole thing with Ramses killing to please a statue of the Egyptian Goddess Ishtar was interesting. I really love how the sequel sets it up even more.
Overall, Blood Feast is a decent watch if you want to see old school gore and what is considered the first gory horror film. Friday The 13th or Dawn of the Dead are probably the ones that many who are unaware of Lewis think of when they think the start of gore but it was actually 1963's Blood Feast that began it all. At a fast pace of only 67 minutes, this cult horror hit depicted the shocking and grotesque for the first time on film in history.
It's over kids, you can peak now. Oh wait, we have another Lewis film to regrue. Next up on Disturbing Entertainment, BLOOD FEAST 2: ALL YOU CAN EAT. When it's ladies night, it's an all American buffet! Yom Yom Yom! It's fingerlickin' good! HEHEHEHAHAHA!
More GORE you say? I don't know, I think you've had enough. GASP! Are you that hungry for blood? Well, another BLOOD FEAST is on the menu tonight! It looks as if the grandson of Fuad Ramses has arrived in town and has set his knife on the bride's maids at the Lampley/Myers wedding. OH my, such fresh meat. So, hold on to your heart and watch the sharp obsticules, it's going to be a bloody ride!
Fuad Ramses III has arrived in town to set up shop for his new cater business after two bums apparently mutilated each other in front of the shop a few days prior. Mrs. Lampley hires the new cater to work her daughter Tiffany's wedding reception. That same day, Fuad discovers the statue of the Egyptian Goddess Ishtar in the back room of his new shop. The statue's eyes glow red, which possess Fuad. He decides to kill and use different parts of Tiffany's bride's maids for the wedding reception. Meanwhile, Tiffany's fiance' Detective Michael Myers and his partner Detective Loomis (LMFAO!) are on the case trying to find the killer. Can Myers and Loomis stop the killer before the rest of the bride's maids can be killed? Will the stuck up fucking bitch Mrs. Lampley get a gruesome and bloody death that she truly deserves? Oh God, I hope so deeply!
Herschell Gordon Lewis was a huge hit in the sixties and seventies with his gruesome and gory exploitative splatter films and then suddenly disappeared from the director's chair for a long time. Lewis usually produced other filmmakers' projects and definitely appeared at conventions to talk with his beloved fans. In 2002, Lewis returned to the director's chair with his long awaited follow up to his first big hit that many call the first of the splatter genre Blood Feast. To be quite honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the original Blood Feast. Sure, it had some wild and crazy gore for its time. Something though was missing for me. I enjoyed Lewis's second shocker Two-Thousand Maniacs! a lot more. Mainly because that film had more insane and inventive kills as well as a great revenge/supernatural story and a better sense of wacky humor. Yeah, I prefer Tim Sullivan's 2005 remake 2001 Maniacs more, but at the same time admire what Lewis accomplished with little money. Anyways, Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat is not only a step up from the original in having colorful characters and quirky humor, but also happens to be my favorite H.G. Lewis film so far.
I think the real thing that makes Blood Feast 2 better than the original is not only having better and more insane looking gore. But, it also has more fleshy characters on the menu than just one dimensional cannon fodder like the original had. Yes, some of the girls in this movie are fucking stupid, but to be honest that's what makes them more fun to watch. The humor is the best thing about the movie aside from obviously the brutal kills and disgusting bloody organs being ripped out right in front of the camera.
The screenplay written by W. Boyd Ford was fucking hilarious. I fucking love the humor in this film. Come on, you can't say that character names such as Bambi Deer, Trixie Treater, Misty Morning, and the fact that the two detectives' names are Myers and Loomis don't make you laugh. Now, all they need is Clear Rivers. Detective Loomis is by far my favorite character of the movie. All he cares about is food, which is definitely a great foil for all the gore. Nobody wants to think about food and gore at the same time, which gives the film that sick sense of humor that I fondly love. Loomis is always eating something when investigating the crime scenes of these women who have been brutally mutilated and it doesn't even faze the guy. I love how Detective Myers tries to act like such a badass when in reality the guy is dumb as a bag of bricks and also can't handle seeing the bodies without puking while Loomis hovers over the dead girls eating food while describing what happened to each girl.
The Police secretary is pretty funny too with her sarcastic remarks. I love how Myers acts like he knows it all and she corrects him and then he gets all pissed off. The bride's maids Trixie, Laci, Candy, Bambi, and Brandy ( I sense a name a pattern here) are pretty ditzy but they are smoking hot. That scene where they are changing was very nice. Can't have a splatter flick without showing some flesh. Tiffany Lampley is hot too, but doesn't really do much but hang with her girls, cry/scream, and get married to Detective Myers. Mrs. Lampley though. Wow, this woman is a bitch with all capital letters. She's stuck up, rich, puts people down, has her husband scared to even speak up, and believes that the universe revolves around only her. I fucking love how everytime she comes into a scene that a low voice repeats "SATAN SATAN SATAN". I absolutely love Lewis's sense of humor here. Hell, this woman is so bad to her husband that he actually stabs himself with a knife and lays happily on the bedroom floor just to escape her loud bitchy mouth. The sequence where Fuad tried to sneak in through her bedroom window and she closes the window down on his fingers unaware that he was there, which causes him to fall off the latter and stab himself in the leg with his own knife was pretty funny. Also, I love when Fuad serves her a dessert with his cum as the sause and she states " Oh my God, I haven't tasted anything like it before in my mouth." had me rolling. Her death was humorous too and she would be close to the last ones to go. Definitely a fucking bitch that deserved over a thousand gruesome ways to die.
Fuad Ramses III may not have the creepy looking eyes like his grandfather, but he sure makes a gore hound like myself roll with laughter. I love the scene where he tells his first victim that he doesn't want her to serve appetizers and that he wants her to BE the appetizer. Really funny stuff. The scenes with Fuad and the detectives are pretty funny as well. I love the scene where Loomis tells Myers that if he costs him one cream puff that he's going to break his foot off in his ass. The priest at the wedding is perverted as hell. I fucking love it. There's a scene where he tells these two little boys that if they don't want to burn in hell that they should always trust a priest. Bottom line, the characters are very colorful and hilarious.
This wouldn't be a Lewis film without the very over the top and brutal gore scenes. We get a lot of great stuff that will make your stomach scream. There's plenty of ripping out organs such as liver and hearts. Fuad also cuts this girl's eyeballs out and removes her tongue. A decapitation and throat slash also occur. My personal favorites are when Fuad uses an electric carving knife that removes all the flesh off this girl's head revealing her muscles and skull before breaking away her skull and removing her brains. The other is when he drives a cork screw through this chick's ear and pulls her brain out of her ear hole. Great stuff going on with the gore and special FX.
The acting is good considering the theme of the movie and the screenplay. These are not professional actors by any means but they sure do know how to entertain and make you laugh at how over the top they portray these characters. John McConnell is definitely my favorite actor playing the best character of the movie Detective Dave Loomis. The guy is fucking hilarious and had me cracking up the whole movie. Mark McLachlan was also very funny as Detective Michael Myers who had a lot of funny scenes with McConnell. Toni Wynne and Kristi Polit were both very sexy and good as Tiffany Lampley and Trixie Treeter. All of the girls playing the other bride's maids were stupidly funny and definitely eye candy. Melissa Morgan was great at playing the bitch of the movie Mrs. Lampley. Definitely the kinda character that you are begging will bite it brutally. Veronica Russell was hilarious as the secretary. I loved it when she basically did all of the Police work for Loomis and Myers. And J.P. Delahoussaye was very great and over the top as the psychotic and wacky Fuad Ramses III. The guy was hilarious and definitely entertained the hell out of me with his monologues and the way he talked to the girls before butchering them. All in all, really fun cast of unknowns.
Herschell Gordon Lewis returns to the director's chair and delivers a fun and brutal splatterfest of a sequel. Personally, I look at this as more of a remake than a sequel and a definitely great update on the 1963 original. The film is a lot longer than the original running at a good 103 minutes but flies by. Lewis did well with this film after a good almost 30 year absence. The guy is in his eighties and still knows how to deliver a fun splatterfest just like he did back when gore was looked down upon. The man is certainly a legend to gore hounds and splatter fans.
Before I conclude this review, I have to talk about the soundtrack. I absolutely loved the use of music from Southern Culture On The Skids, which added to the humor. Songs such as Zombiefied, Blood Sucker, and She's My Witch were great addictions to the scenes in which they were played in. Great wacky and fun soundtrack to a great wacky and fun splatter movie.
Overall, Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat is my favorite H.G. Lewis movie and definitely in my opinion better than the original. The wacky and perverted humor. The hot babes. The juicy gore. The colorful and dumb characters. And a great soundtrack make Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat a sequel/remake that you can certainly chew on.
It just goes to show you. There's more than one way to eat a woman out. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have some delicious fried fingers and some pusspops with a glass of warm blood. I just have to wait for the dinner to ring the Hell. Until the next screaming, have a nice bite! HEHEHEHAHAHA!