‘Nothing so appalling in the annals of horror!’
Blood Feast is a 1963 American splatter horror film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. It concerns a psychopathic food caterer named Fuad Ramses who kills people so that he can include their body parts in his meals and perform sacrifices to his “Egyptian goddess” Ishtar.
Filming took place over just four days with a budget of $24,000 in Miami, Florida. Director Lewis wanted something realistic for the scene where a woman gets her tongue ripped out, in order to accommodate this a sheep’s tongue was imported from Tampa Bay and used in the scene.
Blood Feast is generally considered the first splatter movie, and is notable for its groundbreaking depictions of on-screen gore. It was unofficially remade in 1978 as Mardi Gras Massacre (with a character named Dr. Lewis, in homage to Herschell). A belated sequel, Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat, followed in 2002. In 2016, an official remake was released.
Fuad Ramses was described by author Christopher Wayne Curry in his book A Taste of Blood: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis as “the original machete-wielding madman” and the forerunner to similar characters in Friday the 13th and Halloween. Lewis said of the film, “I’ve often referred to Blood Feast as a Walt Whitman poem. It’s no good, but it was the first of its type.”
Blood Feast is the first part of what the director’s fans have dubbed “The Blood Trilogy”. Rounding out the trilogy are the films Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) and Color Me Blood Red (1965). After the third film, producer David F. Friedman said, “I think that for now we’re going to abandon making any more ‘super blood and gore’ movies, since so many of our contemporaries are launching similar productions, causing a risk that the market will quickly reach a saturation point.”
In a suburban Miami house, a young woman arrives home and turns on her portable radio which broadcasts news of the latest of several recent murders. The woman turns off the radio and begins to take a bath. Suddenly a gray-haired, wild-eyed man appears in the bathroom and brutally stabs the woman in her left eye, killing her. The maniac hacks off her left leg with a machete and leaves with it.
Next day at the police station, detective Pete Thornton reviews the latest murder, noting that a homicidal maniac has killed four women without leaving any clues. The police chief orders Thornton to continue to pursue the case.
At Fuad Ramses Catering store, wealthy socialite Dorothy Freemont arrives, where she arranges for Fuad to cater a party for her daughter Suzette. Fuad agrees and tells Mrs. Freemont that what he’s preparing hasn’t been prepared for over 5,000 years. Mrs. Freemont wants the catering done in two weeks, and Fuad assures her that he will have enough time to procure the last of his needed ingredients. After Mrs. Freemont leaves, Fuad ventures to the back storage room where he has displayed a large gold statue of the “mother of veiled darkness,” the goddess Ishtar. Fuad is preparing a “blood feast” – a huge vat containing the dead women’s body parts – that will ensure the goddess’s resurrection…
“Impossible to take seriously on any level, Blood Feast compels the viewer simply by topping itself in the gore department. Unlike the Friday the 13th films which mostly tease the viewers with quick and timid flashes of grisly mayhem, Lewis and company trot out the whole dog and pony show under a spotlight. Legs are hacked off, skulls pulled open, tongues yanked out, and so on. Meanwhile the laughs build up faster than any slasher spoof (“Leg Cut Off!” yells one newspaper headline), while Arnold delivers a hand-wringing villainous performance that actually makes Tod Slaughter look subtle”. Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital
“… Lewis’ listless direction shows all of the style and finesse of an early stag film (another genre with which he was fondly familiar). Blood Feast tastefully implies nothing, and instead plasters the screen in one lurid image after another, using as few camera set-ups and shots as possible for the minimal amount of coverage provided … Mason, along with her fellow cast members, produce truly horrible performances, but the roles are so poorly acted and outrageously over-the-top that they give way to the highest level of camp.” I Like Horror Movies
“As Lewis had intended, Blood Feast was a mindless, virtually plotless, but high-spirited orgy of gore for gore’s sake, which, upon its initial release to drive-ins in the South, managed to shock both the popcorn eaters and the neckers alike into wide-eyed, open-mouther attention. Its like had never been seen before in a commercial feature film”. John McCarty, Splatter Movies (FantaCo Enterprises, 1981)
Cast and characters:
- William Kerwin as Detective Pete Thornton
- Mal Arnold as Fuad Ramses
- Connie Mason as Suzette Fremont
- Scott H. Hall as Frank, Police Captain
- Lyn Bolton as Mrs. Dorothy Fremont
- Toni Calvert as Trudy Sanders
- Ashlyn Martin as Marcy, girl on beach
- Sandra Sinclair as Pat Tracey
- Astrid Olson as Motel victim
The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast: 17-Disc Limited Edition Box Set – Arrow Video Blu-ray + DVD (US and UK)
Arrow Video is proud to present fourteen of the Godfather of Gore’s most essential films (including nine Blu-ray world debuts), collected together in a Limited Edition set (only 2,500 in the U.S.) and packed full of eye-popping bonus content. So put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of good ol moonshine, and prepare yourself for a feast H.G. Lewis style!
- Fourteen of the Godfather of Gore’s finest attractions, newly restored from original and best surviving vault materials: Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Two Thousand Maniacs!, Moonshine Mountain, Color Me Blood Red, Something Weird, The Gruesome Twosome, A Taste of Blood, She-Devils on Wheels, Just for the Hell of It, How to Make a Doll, The Wizard of Gore, The Gore Gore Girls, This Stuff ll Kill Ya!
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the features and extras on 7 Blu-ray and 7 DVD discs
- Brand new introductions to the films by Lewis
- Hours of extras including newly-produced interviews and featurettes, commentaries, short films and much more
- Additional 2 bonus Blu-rays featuring 1.33:1 versions of Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste of Blood and The Wizard of Gore [limited editions exclusive]
- Additional bonus DVD: Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore documentary [limited editions exclusive]
- 28-page H.G. Lewis annual stuffed full with Lewis-themed activities plus archive promotional material [limited editions exclusive]
- Newly illustrated packaging by The Twins of Evil [Feast edition exclusive]
Please help us cover our web-hosting costs by buying from our affiliate links. Thank you.