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Blood Feast – 5

Director – Herschell Gordon Lewis

Cast – William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason, Lyn Bolton, Scott H. Hall

Release Year – 1963

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I first came across Hershell Gordon Lewis when I saw the awesome 1964 film Two Thousand Maniacs!, and decided it was time to give another one of his films a go – a 1963 film titled Blood Feast. H. G. Lewis made a name for himself as one of the pioneers of gore in horror films, and much like his other works this early effort lives up to that hype. Blood Feast did OK for the film that it is, but I can see the majority of its viewers finding fault in its execution that results from a very low budget. The gore is there though and there are plenty of kills that grace the screen, but I see this being either a hit or a miss for those who view it.

Blood Feast centers on an Egyptian caterer who dismembers young women as part of an ancient ritual to bring back an Egyptian goddess.

The story wastes no time getting to the goods, giving us some gory scenes early on and never taking too much time between kills. I really did not care for the story too much because I just could not get interested in the Egyptian guy, Faud Ramses, looking to revive an old chick who should just stay dead. I did like that he needed to dismember attractive young women to succeed in his quest, but the rest of the story was thin and I never found myself caring for it. As usual we follow an inept police detective, Pete Thornton, trying to catch a break in this series of gruesome and brutal murders, but even that was not as fun to watch as it should have been. His character was uninteresting, uncharismatic, and lacked the punch required to keep me interested.

H. G. Lewis’ direction fared better than Allison Downe’s screenplay did, but his direction never had the chance to redeem the film from the damage already done before filming even began. Lewis delivers the gore as promised, with copious amounts of blood, guts, and dismembered body parts, but his execution of the kills showed the film’s low budget. We are not given full-frontal viewings of the killings but are instead forced to watch the kills from behind the killer, then view his gory aftermath. Despite the film’s low budget the monetary returns were high and millions of dollars were returned to the filmmakers, so nonetheless H. G. Lewis found success in an unlikely place, especially when you consider that the film is only about an hour in length.

Overall, Blood Feast is a decent watch that gets a few things right in the amount of gore and sleaze provided, but the budget forces the execution to take some serious shortcuts with the horror. On top of that the storyline is a dull one whose only positive is its constant kill sequences.

Rating: 5/10

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