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[FrightFest Review] ‘Blood Feast’ Has the Makings of a Cult Favourite

Even if you’ve never actually seen it, you’ve likely heard plenty about Blood Feast. Dating all the way back to 1963, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ film about a caterer who kidnaps and sacrifices young women in order to summon an Egyptian goddess is often singled out as the original splatter film.

I appreciate its influence, but I don’t like it all that much. It’s cheesy, very thinly plotted and just pretty shoddily put together. This remake, from German director Marcel Walz, is well aware of this and aims for a similar level of schlock. The budget is workable this time round, and Walz and his co-writer, Philip Lilienschwarz, pad out the plot a bit, but at its core this is definitely a blood-relative of its father.

This time out, Fuad Ramses (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2’s Robert Rusler) owns a diner in the Parisian suburbs, alongside his wife, Louise (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s Caroline Williams), and daughter, Penny (The Hills Run Red’s Sophie Monk). But business is hardly booming, and Ramses works a second job doing the night shift at a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. One night in the museum, after he’s skipped one of his pills, an apparition of Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, love, war and sex, appears before Ramses. Once again, she promises him a lifetime as her lover, if he can gather the requisite sacrificial subjects.

The plot updates are pretty hilarious, and are directed with aplomb by Walz: though the joke may be lost on those not acquainted with Lewis’ film. But, what of the gore? That’s what we’re all here for, after all. Well, in a post-torture porn world, there’s nothing here that feels all that extreme, but Walz and co. certainly aren’t playing. There’s a castration scene that’ll make even the ladies cross their legs, and other instances of inventive splatter. But, don’t take the opening narrated warning too seriously.

In keeping with the original, the acting varies from stilted to downright silly. Not that it would’ve been possible to avoid with the laughable (read: hilarious) dialogue. Characters do and say the stupidest stuff, but I didn’t care one jot. If anything, the cheesiness of this remake is more entertaining than the eccentricities of the original.

In the end, the thought that I was left with was that maybe we should be taking more remakes away from Hollywood and the studio system, and instead giving these properties over to international filmmakers: at least they might give us something different. The Paris setting alone is welcome alteration, and differentiates this nicely.

Suffice to say, Blood Feast is parked firmly in the so-bad-its-good camp. It’s definitely worth watching if you’re a fan of the original because, in a strange way, it kind of feels like the perfect remake…




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