Our focus here at Kvlt of Brewtality is to showcase metal, craft beer and horror/cult flicks. So, may I introduce you to Herschell Gorgon Lewis, a director who got his start doing exploitation and “nudie-cuties,” a sub-genre of skin flicks that borderline on pornography. Gordon is a bit more recognizable for being the originator of the blood, guts and gore splatter films.
His low-budget, stomach turning movies began with the first of his Blood Trilogy, “Blood Feast” (1963). Being the fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and cult cinema shows hosted by Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs as a kid, I knew I was up to the task.
“Blood Feast” is certainly bloody and while the practical effects don’t stand up to the test of time, it is still pretty gross. The story follows the murders of Faud Ramses (played by Mal Arnold) who is a caterer with an obsession for “Egyptian goddess,” Ishtar. First off, Ishtar wasn’t Egyptian, she was Babylonian. But what do you expect from a low-budget movie put together in the ‘60s? Anyways, Ramses (a character surely named after the actual Egyptian line of pharaohs) needs to obtain body parts from virgins for his sacrifice to Ishtar so he may bring her back to this world.
Where is he going to get them? From the pretty ladies, specifically virgins, in the nice town he lives in of course. Ramses chokes, wrestles and hacks these women up with a machete all while doing his best to display his crazy eyes, something I believe Bela Lugosi did better pretty much his entire career. He goes about collecting the items he needs for his “blood feast,” and is lucky enough to have a woman approach him at his grocery and catering shop to prepare the food for a party she is throwing for her daughter, who is of course a virgin and also loves Egyptian history.
We had to move the story along somehow, why not have the last victim be an Egyptian history student.
Ramses agrees to do it and tells her he will prepare an authentic Egyptian feast fit for a goddess that hasn’t been served “in over 5,000 years.” Cue the crazy stare close-up at mom and the key slamming of an organ to really reinforce the mood.
Let’s take a pause and talk about the music and cinematography. Awful. The organ is used frequently to “create” mood, the rest of the music is stock stuff from the time. The camera may as well have been on a tripod and most likely was. Minimal editing was done so zooming the lens isn’t cut, we have to watch the camera move, track actors in the scene and slowly zoom in or out to focus.
This is what I signed up for.
Back to Ramses murder spree. He stalks the women and kills each one for just a body part. At one point, he attacks a woman in a hotel and rips out her tongue as we watch the whole thing. At the time, I’m sure these scenes were shocking and Lewis even had barf bags handed to theatergoers if they were too squeamish. There is certainly lots of blood and Ramses always displays for the audience his newest acquisition, be it tongue, brain, eye or flesh.
Fast forward to the end. Ramses is being pursued by local police who can’t break the case, mutilated bodies of women keep showing up and the detective’s girlfriend, Suzette, is actually the woman who Ramses’ blood feast party is being thrown for. Suzette is played by Connie Mason, Playboy’s June Playmate of the Month, 1963. Ramses attempts to get her to lie down on the kitchen counter so he can perform the last rite for the feast. It has to be authentic and being an Egyptian history student, she sheepishly agrees to go along with his little act. Right before he goes for the kill, mom comes into the kitchen and blows it. Everyone screams and Ramses takes off out the door.
The police have put the whole thing together thanks to a book Ramses wrote about Ishtar which another victim had ordered from him. They show up as Ramses is limp running down the street. The police miss the chance to nab him as dumbass Ramses decides to try and hitch and escape ride in the back of a trash truck at the nearby city dump. Cue compactor and cascade of blood. The end.
“He died a fitting end, just like the garbage he was.”
I like a good horror movie, but I spend most of my time watching B-movies and slasher flicks. This was certainly something right up my alley. Bad acting, bad music, bad filming, low budget, lots of fake blood, good looking women, screwball plot, etc.
If you’re looking for a good/bad cult film and want to see the root of blood and guts in horror cinema, then HG Lewis’ low-budget splatter film “Blood Feast” is certainly for you.