Blood Feast 2 on DVD

Sunday, 17 January 2010 10:31

Almost forty years after his bleeding edge independent “Blood Feast”, Herschell Gordon Lewis returned with a sequel. The cult director cut his teeth on low budget splatterfests in the 1960s and 1970s and then left the scene to the big boys. Could he prove in the Noughties that he still had what it takes to make an entertaining horror movie?

Well, the premise for “Blood Feast 2” is simple enough. Fuad Ramses (JP Delahoussaye) is the great grandson of an infamous cannibal chef who sliced and diced young women two generations ago. Ramses reopens his deceased relative’s delicatessen, and although he initially has no hankering for blood, things start to take a very gory turn once he becomes spellbound by an ancient Babylonian statue of the goddess Ishtar. As the caterer strives to make a name for himself and his new business, the flesh and organs of local beauties start turning up in his gourmet concoctions.

Blood Feast 2 DVDMeanwhile, the moronic local law enforcement, represented by Detectives Myers and Loomis (get it?!) struggle to piece the evidence together despite it almost literally smacking them in the face.

“Blood Feast 2”, like its DVD release partner “Street Trash”, knows exactly what its goal is, and on the whole it hits the mark. This is a film that wants to entertain its audience through a heady mixture of exceptionally graphic gore, semi-naked babes and plentiful comedy. The death and mutilation scenes are quite something to behold, including vivid jets of bright red blood, carved up necks and torsos, handfuls of lovingly caressed intestines and brains, and spooned-out eyes.

Oh, and not forgetting some minced hands. As the prosthetics and dummy corpses range from reasonably to utterly convincing, you might think that this sounds like quite a sick and harrowing film. Sick, yes, but the horror is depicted in such a humorous, tongue-in-cheek fashion that the audience will be chuckling and wincing all the way to the end credits.

Ramses is a bizarre work of genius, resembling one of John Travolta’s more deranged and spoofing characters. Delahoussaye’s whacky and slightly wooden acting takes a short while to get used to, but then his quirky delivery and mannerisms captivate and entertain. The acting sticks stubbornly to a “barely acceptable” standard, but the movie’s lightness of touch helps it to pull through.

Mark McLachlan and John McConnell as Myers and Loomis make a funny double act. The former (like a low-rent Tom Cruise in his slicked-back hair days) is convinced that Ramses is a killer even before the blood-letting starts, and plagued by frequent bouts of vomiting thanks to his crippling squeamishness; the latter is seemingly more concerned about where his next junk food snack is coming from than about solving the murders, and quite at home scoffing a donut as he gazes over the latest victim. They stumble from crime scene to crime scene amassing grotesque bodies but incapable to piecing the blatant evidence together to frame the chef.

Examples include the constant presence of flour and icing sugar on or around the corpses, and in one funny scene Loomis even unwittingly wipes the sweat from his brow with an oven glove left by the killer! Later on in the film, when they make one of their numerous visits to Ramses’ shop, they even manage to step over a body in the middle of the floor without seeing it. This “Naked Gun”-style humour peppers the movie; sometimes it works, other times it falls a bit flat.

“Feast” has quite a few attractive ladies in its cast, and they certainly make the film very easy on the eye if you are interested in that kind of thing. Nudity is infrequent but the female cast members do seem incapable of staying out of either their slinky underwear or figure-hugging outfits for long. They universally behave in the “blonde supermodel” tradition, which is to say they suspect nothing and make no effort to escape when they are in peril. It is as though the “Scream” paradigm-shift never happened, but much like movies featuring slow-moving zombies, sometimes the good old horror traditions make for a refreshing experience. This is not a realistic premise, and the film makes no bones about it. If you like dumb, gory films that do their damnedest to entertain you, you will definitely find “Blood Feast 2” worth a shot.

The DVD release (certificate ‘18’) includes a few short special features that genuinely complement the main feature. They include “Gore Gourmet”, a featurette where several cult directors and horror aficionados explain Lewis’ title as “Godfather of Gore”, three on-set pieces that feature camcorder clips of behind the scenes action and “who are you, what is your role” accounts, as well as an illuminating gore special effects featurette. Here we see how some of the stand-out effects were achieved, with a helpful picture-in-picture clips from the same moments in the film. The contrast between the behind the scenes footage and the close-up movie clips is amazing, and goes to show what good editing and direction can really achieve.

Lastly, there are a few deleted and extended scenes. In addition to this on-disc material, the case includes a reversible sleeve, a large poster of the new DVD sleeve artwork and a 16-page booklet featuring an in-depth interview with Lewis. All told, it is a comprehensive package.

The DVD is out now and has an RRP of £15.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

 

Movie Review: "Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat" (2002)

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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