“But it’s MY party, and I WANT A BLOOD FEAST!” -Michael Alig, Party Monster.
Director Hershell Gordon Lewis is responsible for starting the genre of Splatter Films. Not only did his films pioneer the depiction of explicit gore, but he developed a new realistic looking stage blood that was also easy to clean. Blood Feast(1973) was banned in the UK, and was regarded as a Video Nasty right from the get-go, which is hardly surprising considering how shocking the gore must have seemed at the time. Adding further fuel to the fire, producers of the film opted to hand out “Personal Vomit-Bags” at screenings, and taking out an Injunction on the film in Sarasota, FL, knowing the move would garner publicity.
The film itself is pretty simple…some would even go so far as to say stupid, it concerns a deranged caterer (yes, a caterer…) Who brutally slaughters young women and collects various body parts to include in the meals he prepares. This is all done so as to make sacrifices to his “Egyptian Goddess” Ishtar. The killer, Mr. Ramses, is the original Wild Eyed Machete wielding Maniac, predating later day slashers by around 20 years. The film is quite low budget, and keeps its aspirations quite modest, except for the beautiful gore.
Then there is the silliness… I don’t think anyone could take this concept, with this title and play it completely straight. Here’s an example…
“Ma’am, I’m afraid this feast is evidence of murder”
“Oh dear…I suppose we’ll have to have hamburgers for dinner then”
“Saaaay…you wouldn’t sacrifice me on this Altar, would ya?”
“Oh no no no, of course not…now just lay back down…*pulls out Machete*”
Also worth checking out are the next two installments in Lewis’ “Blood Trilogy”, Two Thousand Maniacs, and Color Me Blood Red. A later gem by Lewis is The Wizard Of Gore.
The only thing Ghastly about this film is…well, everything, but not for the reasons you’d think. The Ghastly Ones(1968), sometimes known as Blood Rites, is a story about 3 sisters, along with their husbands, who are spending 3 nights in their late Father’s home. As a condition of his will, the couples must have sex in the house, and after 3 days, the remainder of the will is to be read. Along with the 3 couples, are 2 maids, and a semi-retarded hunchback named Colin. As one might expect, deaths start piling up, red herrings abound, etc. We’ve seen it before.
The only thing I can think of that would land this on the Nasty List is it’s somewhat graphic violence, though it is very tame by today’s standards. To be honest, I had a bitch of a time watching this film. I can forgive the poor picture quality, as it adds a certain charm, but I can’t get past the poor lighting which renders the action sometime impossible to see, and the horrible shaky camera work in the opening scene. The real atrocity though, is the acting. Everyone performs in an exaggerated pantomime usually reserved for stage plays, and it makes everyone on screen look like an over-acting tit. This one really bummed me out. Just a very lame film. Thankfully, the next few installments should provide better fare.