November 2017


Blood Feast
Arrow Films/MVD
Blu-ray Review By: Jaime Pina

The films of Herschell Gordon Lewis have been in constant print since the dawn of home video. Available for years through the excellent Something Weird Video, several essential titles were recently released in two spectacular box sets by Arrow Films. One was a deluxe edition and the other was a scaled down version that was still a monster. Now Arrow is releasing Blood Feast with Scum Of The Earth as a bonus feature in a stand-alone disc.

It starts as a woman is undressing to take a bath and is interrupted by a man with a dark suit and grey hair who promptly chops off her leg with a machete. Later on another woman shows up at a shop with a sign that reads “Fuad Ramses Exotic Catering” and meets the proprietor, a man with a dark suit, grey hair and some wicked eyebrows. The woman wants him to prepare an especially exotic dinner for her daughter who is studying ancient Egypt. As it turns out, Ramses is trying to revive the ancient Egyptian Goddess Ishtar and needs the body parts and blood of young women to complete the ritual. Thus begins the granddaddy of the gore films.

While burning out on making “nudie cutie” films that were popular at the time, producer David F. Friedman and director Herschell Gordon Lewis decided to break into another taboo genre where they might not have any competition. Gore was the answer and Blood Feast was born and was a box office success. While shocking when first released, the films’ shoddy gore effects are now looked upon as “fake” but that was not quite the goal of the creators. Sure, the gore is the lure but what makes the Lewis/Friedman and later Lewis features so much fun is the (severed) tongue-in-cheek humor injected into the gruesome events that take place. The infamous tongue scene in Blood Feast is proof of this as the cow tongue removed from the woman’s mouth is much too large to come from a human being. But it’s big, it’s bloody and the scene is pure surreal comedy. This is what also separates the Lewis films from the genre it spawned; these films are gruesome yet fun.

Scum Of The Earth is a b/w thriller about an underground pornographic photo ring starring the two leads from Blood Feast William Kerwin and Mal Arnold. It may be a pinch more sophisticated in the actual filmmaking effort than Blood Feast and is a nifty little drama.

This release seems to be the same as the version in Arrow’s box set and includes the theatrical ratio versions on a DVD that is also included.