A cannibalistic caterer prepares a grand feast for the Egyptian goddess who has him under her control. No pork pies or scotch eggs for goddess Ishtar though – only the finest young women will do, chopped up to bits and dressed up as party food. Tasty.
“I’ve always compared Blood Feast to a Walt Whitman poem,” Herschell Gordon Lewis once said of his infamous gore movie. “It was no good, but it was the first of its kind.” Quite. Blood Feast is indeed rubbish, but it did help to inspire a whole sub genre. Blood Feast 2 has no such excuse. Released almost forty years after the fist movie, how would it fare in a world now used to gore and splatter? The answer: not very well. Regardless of whatever environment or context the film was released to, Blood Feast 2 never was nor ever will be a good film.
It did manage to get in before the ‘torture P*rn’ boom though, being released three years before the likes of Hostel and Saw. It deserves some credit for that, although its influence (more grand guignol than torture flick) has been negligable at best. I remember seeing Blood Feast 2 back then and being profoundly disappointed. As have been, in fact, by all of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s movies. His most famous film – Two Thousand Maniacs! – is one of the few horror movies which benefits from a remake. 2001 Manaics is a bad movie itself, but it still manages to be better than Lewis’s version. For shame.
Blood Feast 2 revisits the Rameses family, with Faud Rameses III (Delahoussey) returning to Miami to make a go of his grandfather’s old catering company. It doesn’t take long for prospective business to come knocking on his door, with the local Sheriff’s mother-in-law hiring him to host a wedding. Things are looking good for Rameses III, until he finds an old statue of his grandfather’s. Lo, the goddess Ishtar is unleashed, and poor Faud is forced to become her puppet. This spells doom for the local ladies, who soon find themselves on the fast track towards Rameses’ buffet table. With tedious inevitability, we watch as Rameses chloroforms his victims, ties them to chairs and sets about them with various power tools and implements of bodily destruction.
Lewis drags Bood Feast into the twenty-first century, although (horrible title aside) it feels fairly old fashioned. There’s no real plot, aside from a number of (admittedly well done) gore scenes loosely strung together by Delahoussey’s game mugging and a cameo from that master of good taste, John Waters himself. That says it all, really, as the two directors have a very similar mindset (add Lloyd Kaufman to that list) – their movies may not always (or ever)be technically proficient, but they never fail to make an impact.
For in spite of its lack of story, dire script and awful acting, Blood Feast 2 certainly makes an impact. The gore is very well done and occasionally disturbing at times. By far the most effective and memorable sequence is one in which Rameses performs brain surgery on one bound and gagged victim, shown in uncomfortable close-up. Bright red, gloopy and sickening, it’s vibrantly depicted and veritably abundant. For all its sins, the film certainly doesn’t skimp on the gore. The overall colour palette is incredibly bright, like a Troma film: visually, it’s the polar opposite of every other torture film out there. It should be too cartoonish and unrealistic to be effective, but somehow Lewis makes it work. It’s just a shame that he doesn’t integrate those brilliant gore sequences into a better movie.
It may have been almost forty years in the making, but Blood Feast 2 is undercooked, over-egged and not nearly filling enough. By all means, fill your boots with All U Can Eat, just don’t come crying to us when you realise it leaves a distinctly bland taste in the mouth.
Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat