“Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat” reps first screen effort in three decades by cult legend Herschell Gordon Lewis, the briefly but wildly prolific (between 1960-’72 he helmed 35 exploitation features) director credited with inventing the gore-horror genre. Like recent comebacks by fellow schlock auteurs Ted V. Mikels and the late Doris Wishman, this 40-years-later sequel yecchfest is a decidedly tongue-in-cheek effort aimed at knowing psychotronic cinema fans. “Blood” is being gobbled up at horror fests and for fest midnight slots.
Having exhausted commercial returns from the “nudie cutie” genre, Lewis and his frequent producer David F. Friedman figured they’d give horror a go with 1963’s “Blood Feast.” And, why not go whole hog? Utilizing butcher shop discards to crudely (but ohhhhh-so-vividly) represent the mutilated body parts of murder victims, they had viewers along the drive-in circuit gasping and heaving in queasy delight. Made for under $25,000 (and looking it), “Blood Feast” grossed an estimated $4 million.
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Despite subsequent forays into hillbilly hijinks, biker violence, sexploitation and even children’s musicals, Lewis has forever remained identified with gore (as well as primitive technical presentation and amateurish acting, which in tandem lend his movies their principal charm).
Presumably the urgings of camp devotees — longtime champion John Waters even plays a cameo role here — lured him back into the cinematic saddle in his mid-70s. Low-budget yet still more professionally mountedthan such Lewis “classics” as “The Gruesome Twosome” and “The Gore-Gore Girls,” “Blood Feast 2” is an amusing-enough if attenuated homage to their tawdry ilk.
Fuad Ramses III (J.P. Delahoussaye) inherits the now-decrepit catering biz of his long-dead grandpa, the original pic’s serial-murderer. Discovering a statute of the ancient goddess Ishtar in a backroom, he’s instantly enslaved by her renewed desire for a sacrificial blood feast.
Hired by a snooty society matron to cater her daughter’s wedding reception, he sets to knocking off the bridesmaids — a parodically bimbo-licious, lingerie-modeling lot with names like Laci Hundees and Trixi Treeter. Done in by ill-used kitchen utensils, their flesh is then graphically harvested for such dishes as “marinated ladyfingers.” Comically inept police detective duo of hot-headed bridegroom Myers (Mark McLachlan) and omnivorous Loomis (John McConnell) follow the carnage trail.
Humor is pretty low-brow; gratuitous nudity far more present than 1964 standards allowed. Gore f/x remains deliberately primitive, with the animal organs yanked from rubbery “corpses” mercifully phony-looking.
Perfs are broad, their wiseass intent inevitably robbing pic of the innocent thespian haplessness that made Lewis’ earlier gorepics such guilty pleasures.
Pacing could be a lot tighter, but then that was never Lewis’ strong point. Adequately assembled package’s major nostalgic note is sounded by reprise of drum roll-and-organ-chord theme that accompanied ’64 model’s grossout moments. Elsewhere, longtime North Carolina indie-trash-rockers Southern Culture on the Skids contrib incidental music and songs.