Blood Feast  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Blood Feast, a 1963 film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, is an American exploitation film often considered the first "gore" or splatter film. It was produced by David F. Friedman. The screenplay was written by Alison Louise Downe, an actress who had previously appeared in several of Lewis's other films. Lewis also wrote the film's score. This movie received an R rating for violence and blood and gore. The screenplay was written by Alison Louise Downe, who had previously appeared in several of Lewis's other films. Lewis also wrote the film's score.



Popular with members of Lewis's small but loyal cult following, as well as by some "B movie" fans, Blood Feast is a low budget horror film about an insane Egyptian caterer who kills people so that he can include their body parts in his meals and perform sacrifices to his "Egyptian goddess" Ishtar (the deity in question is actually Babylonian). Blood Feast immediately became notorious for its explicit blood, gore and violence. Many people consider its most infamous moment to be when the murderer comes into a girl's door, grabs her tongue and her arm, and puts her on the bed. She tries to get up, but the murderer sits on her and contiues to rip out her tongue and succeeds on camera. Blood Feast is often erroneously cited as one of the first films to show people dying with their eyes open (earlier examples include D. W. Griffith's The Country Doctor from 1909 and the 1931 The Public Enemy).

Mal Arnold plays deranged murderer Fuad Ramses, 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 the Friday the 13th and Halloween series of films. 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."



Originally, critics were not kind to Blood Feast. A Variety review of May 6, 1964 called the film a "totally inept shocker", "incredibly crude and unprofessional from start to finish", and "an insult even to the most puerile and salacious of audiences". The review labeled the entire production a "fiasco", calling Louise Downe's screenplay "senseless" and the acting "amateurish". Of Herschell Gordon Lewis's direction, camerawork and musical composition, the review judged that he had "failed dismally on all three counts".


Jackie Kong directed the cult favorite Blood Diner in 1986, with the intention of making it a "spiritual sequel" to Blood Feast. A spoof remake, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat, was released in 2002. It marked the first time Lewis and Friedman worked together on a movie in several years.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blood Feast" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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