Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Written by: W. Boyd Ford
Produced by: Jacky Lee Morgan
Reviewed by: Brett H.
"I donít need you to serve appetizers, I need you to be appetizers!"
39 years. Thatís a damn long time. Itís hard to believe that it was in 1963 when Herschell Gordon Lewis bestowed upon the world the first gore film, Blood Feast, coloring drive-in screens crimson and forever changing the face of horror. It proved to be foreshadowing for the grue that was to come a little over a decade later and still exists in horror cinema today; and for that matter, always will. This wasnít some sixties ďgory for its timeĒ romp, either. In a mere 67 minutes, the Goddess Ishtar worshipping Fuad Ramses caused more bloodshed than Jason Voorhees did in his entire tenure at Paramount and gruesomely chopped up so many bodies that it would make Leatherface blush. It took until 2002 to get a sequel to the iconic gore classic, and H.G. Lewis fans were surely salivating at the opportunity to see the godfather of gore have one more kick at the can. I loved the original and quite frankly, Iím starved and craving one more Egyptian feast.
Fuad Ramses III (J.P. Delahoussaye) has inherited the restaurant of his grandfather which hasnít been used in years. Heís a pretty delightful and harmless man, ready to make a buck or two in the world of catering. The night before he arrived in town, a couple of bums senselessly slaughtered one another in good clean fun (yes, you read that right), and the local police pay him a visit to see if he has any information to share. Fuad informs them that he has nothing to share with them, but Detective Myers (Mark McLachlin) isnít buying it. His dad was also on the force back in the day and tells him about Fuad IIIís grandfatherís little hobby of murder and cooking up innocent people to create a sacrificial feast to an Egyptian God. This is news to Fuad III, but he goes about his business as usual, obviously he has no plans to follow in his grandpopís footsteps.
Fuad is hired by local bitch Mrs. Lampley (Melissa Morgan) to cook up some fine dining for the wedding reception of her daughter, Tiffany (Toni Wynne). When rummaging around in his newly acquired building, he comes across a stone statue with glowing eyes. In moments, Fuad is under the statueís spell, promising the Goddess Ishtar a special feast using only the finest ingredients. Weíre not talking about surf and turf here, ladies and gentlemen. With the aide of his grandfatherís old cookbook, Ramses begins to pick off all of Tiffanyís bridesmaids for their inclusion in his little banquet. As the bodies pile up, itís up to the dim-witted crime enforcement duo of Detectives Myers and Loomis to save the day. The deceased bridesmaids will definitely be a part of the wedding, albeit they will be medium rare.
Slam a few buddies in the trunk and stash some beer, Blood Feast 2 is the nostalgic drive-in movie you have been waiting for. Herschell Gordon Lewis has taken an extended 30-year hiatus from film and surely has a few more grey hairs, but the man hasnít lost his touch. Blood Feast 2 is as bloody, gory and sickening as the original, make no bones about it. The film is so appealing to the fans because it has been produced in such a way that it replicates the original perfectly. Thereís intentionally terrible acting (which wasnít so intentional in the original) and a continuation of the original plot that is to be admired, this is a perfect example of a movie being made for the fans and for no one else. The acting is hammy and the characters for the most part act as though they did in the original. The dialogue is intentionally cheesy, especially that of Detective Myers, an obvious nod to the terrible/amazing cop in the original film. The whole feel of the film is very unique, if you didnít know better it would appear as though it was made in 1964 as a direct sequel.
The film is very much a horror/comedy, never taking itself seriously. When you arenít grossed out by the eye-popping and throat slashing ways of Fuad Ramses III, youíll be laughing your ass off at the moronic cops. Detective Myers is essentially a cop circa a 1960s movie and his partner is mostly worried about getting some buffalo wings and donuts than solving a crime, yet is somehow more competent than Myers! Overlooking evidence, throwing up at every murder scene and being downright stupid, there is at least a handful of laugh out loud moments involving these two. Herschell also brings the ladies as there are a good eight sets of tits in the film and we get everything from lesbianism (although we never get to see any good stuff, damn it) to the drunken lingerie parties that all the vixens in horror films just love to take part in. Although modern touches like the internet and cell phones are present, the goal of the movie is to give off a vibe that is completely like the original with some drive-in nudie aspects thrown in for good, noÖ great measure.
The cinematography is a little boring in comparison to most horror films nowadays, but it is appropriate for the film and its intentions and the scenes still look good. This one was made on an obviously low budget and the gore effects show this as well. Of course, it is intended that the gore effects along with everything else to be ďbadĒ so as to relay the feel of the original, so itís all a good thing. The rock music tends to be a little out of place, but by the end you are used to it and come to enjoy it, and some music from the first film is featured. J.P. Delahoussaye looks and feels like a demented version of a Baldwin brother as Fuad Ramses III and he definitely would make the original Fuad actor, Mal Arnold, smile. Itís really a treat to see so many aspects of the original in the sequel in a time when movies are made to merely take advantage of franchises. Perhaps the funniest moment in the film is when Tiffany speaks to Detective Loomis and refers to him as Sam. He smiles and says to her ďitís DaveĒ, which got one hell of a roar out of me, I did not see that coming.
If you enjoyed Blood Feast, this is an absolute must watch, there is no other way to put it. Itís hilarious, itís gory, and itís an accurate portrayal of a drive-in film; itís nice to see good old H.G.L. hasnít changed over the years. He entered filmmaking making drive-in flicks and he has essentially ended his career with one final hurrah making one. The Shriek Show DVD looks good, but itís not the best transfer youíll ever see, which is probably a resultant of the filmís intentions and/or its low budget. Be sure to get the uncut version of the film or you may as well not see it, it just wouldnít be the same. It took Herschell 39 years to serve up another Blood Feast, but it was well worth the wait. Iím happy to live in a time when these types of movies are being made and similar ones from the past are being distributed on DVD for all those interested to easily find. If Blood Feast 3 was to make an appearance 39 years from now, Iíd be first in line. H.G.L. serves up a superb dining experience and it left me stuffed, but donít get me wrong, Iíd love another bite. Bon appetite! Buy it!
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