There’s something just so right and good about waiting forever for a sequel, and then — when it finally arrives — finding that the sequel rocks.
No, I’m not talking about Star Wars Episode One — are you kidding me? I’m talking about a real long wait in the ticket line … nearly 40 years, in fact. Cult god Herschell Gordon Lewis has come out of retirement to craft a sequel to the film that started the gore genre and became an object of worship to the underground-pop-culture elite, Blood Feast.
Very wisely, Lewis has opted to basically remake the first picture, preserving all the elements that made the first Blood Feast so great yet taking advantage of some of the advancements in film production that have occurred since 1963. All the good stuff is there; the mindless gore, the black (and lots of not-so-black) humor, the dangling bits of leftover continuity, the sub-par acting, the boobies.
What’s added is simply better film stock, better production values (but not ever crossing the line into good production values, mind you!), better acting (in just the right places), and much better sound and music (the latter courtesy Southern Culture on the Skids).
Once again, Ramses’ Exotic Catering is open for business. Fuad Ramses III, the grandson of the original, quickly falls under the spell of the evil goddess Ishtar and begins preparations for the ritual feast of blood. While the actual feast disappoints somewhat, gore fans should be quite pleased with the outstanding balance of storyline and guts, and the story’s conclusion is completely satisfying.
The characters are all memorable, from the two-dimensional Michael Myers (the cop) to the soon-to-be-dismembered wedding party (the girls have names like Misty Morning and Lacey Undies) to the surprise (and delightful) John Waters cameo as the local priest. It’s ironic to see Waters in a film that is more like his own work (apart from the splatter sequences) than anything he’s made in years. Lewis proves, even in the age of imitators such as Troma, that he is still the master. Hell, a lot of modern filmmakers could learn a thing or two about storytelling from this guy!
HGL fans, longtime FT readers, or anyone who is into psychotronic movies of any kind will enjoy themselves silly watching Blood Feast 2. I even screened it for friends who had never seen the original, and — after a warning about the guts on display — the film never failed to entertain and amuse.
Thank Ishtar there is finally a filmmaker who remembers how to make sequels as good as the original (if not better), and who doesn’t need an army of digital composite artists to keep an audience glued to their seats.
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