Blood Feast

| October 24, 2017

2016 was a year of monumental loss in the realm of pop culture, especially in the music industry. Icons such as David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael all left their plane of existence. Meanwhile, a luminary in the horror genre also passed on, to much less fanfare. His name is Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Herschell Gordon Lewis became known as “the godfather of gore”, for numerous reasons. Lewis is credited as creating the horror subgenre known as “splatter films”. And the movie that started us all on a never ending ride through blood and guts horror flicks is 1963’s Blood Feast.

Blood Feast begins with a young woman coming home from work. As she gets ready for a relaxing bath, she sets a book entitled “Ancient Weird Religious Rites” on the bath tub. The nubile young lady is barely in the bubbly water before she is accosted and brutally murdered by a grey haired man with wild eyes. But this insane individual doesn’t just kill the young woman. He removes one of her eyes and her left leg below the knee.

The visuals are quite gruesome and disgusting. I can’t begin to imagine the reactions of a 1963 audience to the unabashed madness happening on the screen.

A socialite named Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw an unusual party for her daughter. She has been sent to a caterer named Fuad Ramses, who specializes in the strange and unusual. More so than anyone could imagine… Fuad is killing young woman and harvesting their body parts. These body parts will be made into a blood feast to appease and awaken the spirit of Ishtar, the Egyptian goddess of blood. Don’t be frightened by the name Ishtar. It’s not the same as the travesty starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. It’s actually less horrific!

Blood Feast was made cheaply, with pretty poor acting. And, it’s excessive gore kept it from getting a wide theatrical release. It did find its place at drive-ins across the country, quickly earning cult status. Blood Feast is not a great movie, but it’s not the worst movie you’ll ever see. Lewis should be held in the same esteem as legendary producer/director Roger Corman in that he could make multitudes of cheap, exploitative flicks that could turn a profit. At least Lewis will always be well regarded in the hearts and minds of horror hounds for generations to come.

Blood Feast has been released in a 2 disc Blu-Ray/DVD combo from the wonderful folks over at Arrow Video US. The special features are numerous, including another feature, 1963’s Scum of the Earth. The release also includes a reversible sleeve with both original and all new artwork, courtesy of the Twins of Evil.

Herschell Gordon Lewis passed away in September 2016 at the age of 90. His contributions to the horror arena are numerous. Pick up Blood Feast and see for yourself. And, if you like what you see, make sure to get the Arrow Video US box set The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast, featuring 12 of Lewis’ finest works. What a perfect Halloween gift!

About the Author:

Steve graduated from Southwestern Michigan College with an Associate's Degree in communications. He currently resides in Niles, MI

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