The Curator of Schlock #325 by Jeff Shuster
Herschell Gordon Lewis. The man. The myth. The Legend.
The food has been off in this place ever since Jervis made those sloppy Joes. He said it was a special ground meat blend, but I’ve never tasted meat like that in my life. And I never noticed any authorities showing up to retrieve Indigo’s body. When I sleep at night, it feels like someone is in the room with me, watching me. Sometimes I want to get in my car and hightail it, but then I remember I abandoned my car in the Florida Everglades.
Tonight’s movie is 1963’s Blood Feast from director Herschell Gordon Lewis. This is a wet one, folks. I don’t know. I guess one director got fed up with all the restrictions imposed by the Hays Code and went hog wild. Apparently, vomit bags were provided to theater goers at screenings. Oh, and Lewis wrote a novelization to coincide with the release of the movie should any of you readerly types want to seek it out.
Blood Feast begins with a suburban housewife listening to a Miami news report about how there’s a homicidal maniac on the loose. The reporter says that women should not go out alone at night. Good thing the housewife is staying in for a bath and not going outside, right? Not really because the killer breaks into her house and kills her in the bath by stabbing her in the eye. The killer then severs and bags up her leg before he leaves.
This is sick movie! I don’t want to watch body parts being hacked off in full color. Maybe it’s the fact that this movie was made in the early 60s which is throwing off my sensibilities. I expect this crap from my 70s movies and not during a time when Americans were clean cut and respectable. We get two inept police detectives who don’t really get any closer to solving this case with each gruesome murder.
The guy going around murdering women is named Fuad Ramses (Mal Arnold). He runs a local grocery store and has written a book on bizarre Egyptian cults of the ancient world. One such cult worshipped the goddess Ishtar and that worshipping demanded the preparation of a “blood feast.” Basically, it’s just an excuse for cannibalism. And he’s preparing this blood feast at a party hosted by, naturally, wealthy socialite Dorothy Fremont.
I guess Fuad has to get different body parts from different women. He’ll get a brain from one and a heart from another. One vicious attack revolved around him removing a woman’s tongue, and we get to watch her bleed to death. I can only think such feats had never been attempted before on film. And maybe they should never have been attempted again.
That’s all I got to say about Blood Feast. I’m sure that in a couple of years I’ll have worse judgement and will fervently recommend this film to friends and family.
To my future self, please don’t.
That’s all for now.
Jeff Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.