Blood Feast

Blood Feast

(Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1963)

Rating: 3/5

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster

: A cult classic and a trailblazer in the horror genre, 1963's Blood Feast is as tasteless as its title.

It is thought that Herschell Gordon Lewis invented the "splatter film" - the gore-filled explicit serial killer thriller that caught on like wildfire particularly in the video nasty era.

Just because it's one of the first doesn't make it one of the best. This is a film that combines male-gaze sleaze, paint-like glowing red blood by the bucket and the kind of calibre in the acting department you'd find on Ed Wood's cutting room floor. The script is so thin that the actors are in danger of tripping over it and snapping it. And yet there's something intriguing about it...

Clocking in at just over an hour, Blood Feast certainly doesn't outstay its welcome from its first nude death to its delicious demise of the deranged body part chopping villain. It also has some nice photography and location use if you can get past some of the stiff performances.

I'd like to think that Herschell Gordon Lewis is toying with his audience rather than attempting to shock them with all seriousness. The garish colour cinematography, wafer-thin motive for the killer, bevy of beautiful girls and dated attitudes when it comes to gender seem almost like they're priming for a satire of the future.

Arrow, as usual, have really gone to town on the Blu-ray release and granted the fans a treasure trove of bonus features including another full length Herschell Gordon Lewis picture - a black and white melodrama about women being tricked into baring all for an abusive photography troupe. Against Blood Feast, it emerges as a thoughtful and chilling picture that has plenty to say and once again seems to predict that society would only get worse.


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Scum of the Earth - Herschell 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
  • Outtakes
  • 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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