Splatter Time Fun Fest 2014: Blood Feast (1963)

blood feast

I’m always up for a feast, although this one seems a little dicey!

Screenplay By: Allison Louise Downe
Directed By: Herschell Gordon Lewis

I would love to be able to applaud Herschell Gordon Lewis for his willingness to be gory and cheesy in an era where such an approach really wasn’t respected. It would give me great joy to write a review extolling the virtues of Blood Feast and how it’s a great example of the positive qualities inherent in B movies. Sadly, those are not words I can write and remain true to the reality of the type of movie that is Blood Feast. This is a bad movie, a very bad movie in fact. There are almost no redeeming qualities found in the filmmaking that constitutes Blood Feast. Yet, I still have some positive things to say, and that’s why Blood Feast is a vexing film.

Most of the time Blood Feast gets it wrong. The acting is wooden with a dash of over the top tossed in for good measure. The writing is really bad, the sort that feels the need to state the obvious and leave nothing up to the imagination of the viewer. When terrible acting is combined with terrible writing the only result that can occur is a terrible movie. In so many ways Blood Feast is a prime example of how not to make a movie.

At the same time there’s a certain charm to Blood Feast. The score is actually quite ominous and it has staying power. The deep percussion of that drum beat draws the viewer into a world that feels very dangerous. The direction of Mr. Lewis isn’t great, but he’s making the type of movie he wants to make. I can respect that and I can appreciate his attempts to shock and to go for the over the top grossness. Perhaps Blood Feast was shocking in 1963, but that’s not the case in 2014. Still, I can appreciate what Mr. Lewis is trying for in Blood Feast, and it is his obvious love for gore and cheese that helps keep the movie from being a total disaster.

Blood Feast is a horror classic, but I’m not of the mind that it deserves its status as a classic. I can see why some horror cinephiles would migrate to the film and get so much from its gore and bloody bits. That being said, I don’t believe Mr. Lewis’ film ever overcomes its faults. The raw energy behind the film is able to move Blood Feast out of worst movie ever territory. But, going from worst movie ever to middling effort isn’t exactly a result to write home about. I wanted to enjoy Blood Feast a heck of a lot more than I did, but instead of enjoyment I was left watching a horror film misfire at almost every turn.




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