'Blood Feast (Special Edition)'
(Scott H. Hall, William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / (1963) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)
Overview: Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw a party unlike any other, and she gets just that when she hires the decidedly sinister Fuad Ramses to cater the event. Promising to provide her guests with an authentic Egyptian feast, Ramses promptly sets about acquiring the necessary ingredients the body parts of nubile young women!
Blu-ray Verdict: Following a series of grisly murders, the Chief of Detectives, (Scott H. Hall) and Detective Pete Thornton, (William Kerwin) are stuck as there's no leads in the case. A wealthy socialite, Mrs. Dorothy Fremont, (Lyn Bolton) tries to get her daughter Suzette, (Connie Mason) off the violent crimes by throwing her a lavish party, and visits the catering service of Fuad Ramses, (Mal Arnold) to deliver an Egyptian style party.
As the series of murders continue, the police are more helpless, as nothing has turned up in the investigation, and Pete decides to blow steam off while attending a lecture on Egyptian history with Suzette. During the course, a mention of a fanatical blood cult from the time period piques his interest, and learning more about it, realizes that the killer is a member of the cult and is trying to carry out the duties by trying to bring it's deity back to life, and race to stop the killer before it goes through.
Well, and in journalistic truth, there's very little good about this film, but there's a lot that they bring in. Director Herschell Gordon Lewis, Florida's pioneering father of low-rent gore, is an Ed Wood-type with a fixation on gushing blood, severed limbs, and ridiculous story lines. Hence, the biggest impact in the film is it's unrelenting and extreme gore! This comes in the form of several incredibly graphic kills. The opening victim not only has her leg cut off, she is first stabbed in the eye!
There's also another victim who has their head smashed open, a leg is baked in an oven, a heart is cut out, a girl is flayed by whipping; and most extreme of all, a tongue is pulled out, roots and all. There is a rare intensity about these scenes, a determination to really rub the extreme violence in.
Even though there are no impact shots of anything, the film instead trades them in their place are lingering "aftermath" shots not easily forgotten, including a bloody stump, complete with bone, sticking up out of the suds in a bathtub, brains spread across the sands of a beach, an empty mouth, and so on.
These hold a really great intensity about them that makes up for their badly-done execution. The only other point worthwhile about it is the lone scene that registers anything resembling horror mood. Searching the killer's hideout, they turn on the lights in a darkened room and find that, in front of them the whole but unnoticed in the dark, is the disemboweled and completely mutilated body of a previous victim.
This is simply the best scene in the film and really serves the film's best shock effect over the blood and gore. The short length also helps, as it's really over before it gets boring and overstays it's welcome. This here really has some good points about it.
Aside from all that Gore stuff, and again, in truth, there isn't a whole lot really wrong with this one. The main thing wrong with the film is that there's way too much here that's incompetent. This is easiest to see in the special effects department. The gore in here, while brutal in design, is hardly anywhere near convincing. The fact that just about all of the graphic blood is so obviously red paint that it's hard to believe it's shocking.
This really renders a lot of the deaths ineffective and give them a really goofy air about them. They're just too fake to be convincing and just come off as ridiculous. It's the same really for every single one of the kills, and that is where the film gets some real negative points. There's also the fact that there's no way around the characters could be as moronic as they are portrayed here. This is sheer stupidity on a massive level, there's really no way else to put it.
The heroes who take all film to make the connection between what's going on that the viewers made in a couple minutes, the investigating police do even less to solve the crimes than the heroes do to think about it, and the fact that they complain about it and can't solve them just makes it all the more frustrating. These are what really hold the film back, but they're big ones.
And so, in closing, 'Blood Feast' does, and is as it says on the label: a very graphic, gory tale that exists only because of how bloody it is rather than how good it is. The blood and guts are good enough for gore-hounds, while those who absolutely hate technically-incompetent films will loathe this one. Me, I actually watched it again two nights later! This is a Full Screen presentation (1:33.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Scum of the Earth - Herschelll Gordon Lewis' 1963 feature
Blood Perspectives - Filmmakers Nicholas McCarthy and Rodney Ascher on Blood Feast
Herschell's History - Archival interview in which director Herschell Gordon Lewis discusses his entry into the film industry
How Herschell Found his Niche - A new interview with Lewis discussing his early work
Archival interview with Lewis and David F. Friedman
Carving Magic - Vintage short film from 1959 featuring Blood Feast Actor Bill Kerwin
Alternate 'clean' scenes from Scum of the Earth
Promo gallery featuring trailers and more
Feature length commentary featuring Lewis and David F. Friedman moderated by Mike Grady
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
'Blood Feast: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on October 24th, 2017.
'Blood Feast: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] Purchase Link