Blu-ray & DVD: Blood Feast (1963)
Herschell Gordon Lewis, AKA ‘The Godfather of Gore’, gave cinema studios a blood-soaked kick up the backside when Blood Feast was released in 1963. Far from shying away from when anyone was killed, Lewis made close-up voyeuristic looks at bodily dismemberment the raison d’être for the cinema audience to hand over their cash and huddle in the dark as the atrocities played out before them. His career move from making boob-centric movies to blood-centric put him on a career path that acquired many loyal fans…myself amongst them.
Blood Feast tells the story of Fuad Ramses (Mal Arnold), a caterer who dismembers women and uses their body parts to bring to life the ancient Egyptian goddess Ishtar, while an inept police force try to solve the mystery behind the murders.
Blood Feast, and proceeding HG Lewis movies Two Thousand Maniacs!, Color Me Blood Red, The Gruesome Twosome, The Wizard Of Gore, etc…,shouldn’t work on any level at all. But they do! Despite shoddy sets that wobble with the slightest of touches, acting that transcends being cringeworthy and has you laughing out loud, shot composition that has you scratching your head if Lewis was paying any attention at all, and gore effects that would get sniggers at Halloween parties these days, you can’t help but fall in love with these movies…and that’s without even mentioning a soundtrack that will stay in your head for far too long. That drum beat will haunt your every waking (and sleeping) hour for a long time after the credits have rolled.
HG Lewis movies are certainly an acquired taste and most definitely not for everyone, but if you have never seen one of his ‘classics’ before, then Blood Feast is as good a place to begin as any, especially with this fantastic release from Arrow Films. I still remember watching Blood Feast for the very first time on a 4th generation VHS copy. Oh how times have changed! Presented here with a picture quality that would have had me drooling back in the day, and accompanied by a plethora of extras that flesh out (pun intended) the entire Blood Feast experience, this is a disc that HAS to be in any horror movie fans collection.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- 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
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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.