Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002, HG Lewis)

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Well, whoulda thunk it. In 2002, 38(!) years after the release of the original gore movie Blood Feast, we finally got that long awaited (by someone, surely) sequel.

If anything, the popularity of the film was at an all time high, thanks to excellent DVD releases from Something Weird video brought the films back into the public eye. Gore scenes had long since entered the mainstream, and blockbuster movies like Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop had easily surpassed Blood Feast in terms of onscreen violence.

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And so it was into this uncertain world that HG Lewis stepped with Blood Feast 2, his first directorial effort in 30 years since he gave up filmmaking to concentrate on a successful career in marketing and copywriting. And you know what? It’s like he was never away. The laziness, incompetence and complete lack of cinematic craft that characterised his films remains intact, for better or worse, though mostly worse.

What’s missing is the charm.

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Shall we start with the good? Don’t worry, it won’t take long. The effects work is obviously far superior than the original, although the gore is shot in such an extreme close up that you may as well be looking at it through a microscope, robbing the scenes of any power or visual impact.

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The music is also slightly better, with only the briefest of appearances from those damnable timpani drums. Instead, we have some Cramps-lite rockabilly and southern rock, which at least gives the film an energy sorely lacking from Blood Feast.

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One thing that doesn’t change is the story. Here we have Fuad Ramses’ grandson, Fuad Ramses III, which means that somewhere along the line Fuad fathered a child, which is a ghastly thought. Fuad has inherited his grandfather’s catering shop, and is immediately possessed by Ishtar, causing him to closely follow the plot of the original movie, because if it’s broke, why bother fixing it?

I mean, it’s not like they’ve had nearly 4 decades to come up with a new angle or interesting twist…

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The difference is all in the tone, with Lewis opting for a rather smug, campy feel to the mayhem. The performances range from embarrassing to broad and the humour rarely comes off, being mostly of the fat-man-likes-eating and cop-can’t-stop-vomiting variety, although sometimes the verbal gags raise a smile. The undoubted highlight of the entire movie is a cameo from legendary director John Waters as a priest who, when asked by a potential altar boy what to bring to their meeting, suggests, ‘Bring a bathing suit! I got some beer.’

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Lewis also embraces his softcore past in a big way, with every female member of the cast stripping off at regular intervals. There’s a scene where a woman says to her roomful of friends, ‘You just have to see the new bra I got yesterday,’ pulling down her dress to show them all. Later they make a toast – ‘To lingerie!’ and we are treated to a slow motion lingerie party, which, if nothing else, proves that Lewis has at least learnt what slow motion is and how to film it.

This is what’s known as progress.

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It’s so good natured and amiable that it’s hard to hate Blood Feast 2, but whereas part one ran for 67 minutes, this drags on for a truly excruciating 99 minutes. With 20 minutes cut out, I could probably recommend this as a mildly fun party movie. But as it stands, there’s just not enough here to justify the running time.

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