The 1960s and early 70s were his heyday, and during that time he churned out a steady stream of trashy, gory, smutty flicks with amazing titles like Color Me Blood Red (1965), The Gruesome Twosome (1967) and, of course, The Wizard of Gore (1970). The original Blood Feast (1963) was probably his first horror film (I think we can all guess the kinds of film The Adventures of Lucky Pierre and Nature’s Playmates are…), and featured the lashings of bright red blood and cut-price effects that would become his trademark.
Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat is, I guess, Lewis’ big comeback, his first film in 30 years and it is as if time stood still.
Forget the last few decades of horror, for in a Herschell Gordon Lewis film, continuity is everything.
No matter that better effects are within the low-budget filmmakers price range (as Tom Savini has consistently proven throughout his career), Blood Feast 2 still employs the principle that cheaper is better. So be prepared for the most plastic looking cadavers you’ve ever seen outside of a First Aid course, the reddest blood the world has ever seen, and the flimsiest acting this side of a Dario Argento movie.
But of course, these things are not important for Lewis, and neither should they bother whoever is watching. This is a very specific kind of movie, a very particular kind of world, where cheapness and badness is to be valued and enjoyed, nay, revelled in.
The plot is appropriately minimal, involving possession by an Egyptian deity and the need for human sacrifice, mostly female. This allows the main character to be named Fuad Ramses III, and the rest of the cast to be populated by nymphets called Laci Hundees, Bambi Deere and Trixi Treeter, and a pair of inept detectives aptly christened Dave Loomis and Mike Myers (especially for the horror geeks one can only assume).
Hilarious? Well, that depends on your point of view. Clearly acolytes of the Lewis Oeuvre will be overjoyed with another helping of his bloody tastelessness, as will anyone with a penchant for the very cheapest of thrills (and plenty of tits mixed in with their horror).
The film is endorsed, if you can call it that, by John Waters’ presence as a massively inappropriate and possibly paedophilic priest. Which I have to say was a major high point for me, since he was about the only person capable of being even slightly convincing.
The ‘Pope of Trash’ aside, the film offered few pleasures for me except for the comedic turn of John McConnell as Dave Loomis, the always eating detective and his ludicrous partner, played by Mark McLachlan, who probably has a sideline in appearing as a Tom Cruise lookalike, because he’s clearly not making much money as an actor (funny though he is).
For Lewis fans: