Blood Feast 4K UHD Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Synapse Films

Directed by Marcel Walz
Written by Philip Lilienschwarz
2016, 99 minutes, Unrated
Released on January 16th, 2024

Starring:
Robert Rusler as Fuad Ramses
Caroline Williams as Louise Ramses
Sophie Monk as Penny Ramses
Sadie Katz as The Goddess Ishtar
Roland Freitag as Officer Fatih
Wilfried Capet as Clement
Max Evans as Mathis

Review:

Fuad Ramses runs the Ramses Diner with his wife and daughter in Paris, and to help make ends meet also works as a night watchman at a museum for Egyptian culture. Following a mishap with his medication, Fuad has a vision of the goddess Ishtar, who tells him he has been chosen to rule with her for eternity if he agrees to bring her back via blood sacrifice. He eagerly agrees and before long the diner has a new supply of meat products. His daughter Penny and her friends go to an empty theatre for a night of fun, but Fuad follows and continues to collect ingredients for his upcoming feast. Further complicating matters, a policeman is hanging around the diner investigating missing persons cases and has caught the eye of Penny as a possible romantic interest. Will Fuad serve his blood feast and ascend to the afterlife with Ishtar and if so, what happens to his family and hungry customers?

The late, great Herschell Gordon Lewis (The Wizard of Gore) reinvented the horror genre with his 1963 classic Blood Feast. With its in-your-face gory murder-set-pieces, audiences were shocked and critics outraged, comparing his work to pornography. Lewis spent the next decade directing a number of over-the-top splatter movies before retiring from filmmaking. He returned to the fold thirty years later with Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002). His visionary work inspired countless horror filmmakers, leading to the rise of graphic onscreen kills, most popular in the slasher and torture-porn subgenres.

Fifty-three years after its initial release, Lewis gave his blessing and the franchise is resurrected with Blood Feast (2016), directed by Marcel Walz (That’s A Wrap) and written by Philip Lilienschwarz (Absolution). The story is retold on a grander scale, featuring an international cast and crew filming in France, Germany and the United States. The star attraction in a movie like this is the make-up effects, expertly crafted here by Ryan Nicholson (Gutterballs) and Megan Nicholson. The film was savaged by the MPAA ratings board and consequently all the red stuff removed. The 90-minute R rated version was released on Blu-ray in 2018, but fans left hungry for more should be delighted with the newly restored, uncut 99-minute 4K UHD/Blu-ray release from Synapse Films.

Blood Feast delivers the goods not only with its gruesome savagery, but also with a solid cast led by familiar genre faces Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2) and Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2) as Fuad Ramses and his lovely wife Louise. Rusler does all of the heavy lifting and carries the picture handily with a terrific performance. Williams is always enjoyable but doesn’t get a lot to do for the majority of the picture. Sophie Monk (The Hills Run Red) co-stars as daughter Penny, the fresh young face whose friends are the focus of the killing spree. Roland Freitag (The Curse of Doctor Wolffenstein) plays the dutiful Officer Fatih, who has his eye on Penny as he tries to solve the murders. Sadie Katz (Wrong Turn Part 6) is effectively creepy as the goddess Ishtar, orchestrating the madness from beyond the grave in a bid for resurrection.

Where Blood Feast falters is with the script and the director, Marcel Walz, whose heart is in the right place but his camera isn’t as successful. Dialogue scenes are frequently flat and blame for this also falls on the screenplay. There is never a true sense of urgency even in the most harrowing moments. The kills are underwhelmingly staged, but are saved by the effects work. This new version carries the highest production value and likely had the largest budget, but as it stands, this entry leaves a hollow feeling. To be fair, none of the Blood Feast movies are particularly good, but each have merit. The best film in the series is actually the companion piece horror/comedy Blood Diner (1987) by Jackie Kong, which takes the same plot as inspiration and ramps up the black humor. Blood Feast (2016) is worth checking out to see what was cut for the theatrical release, as the gore truly is what you came to see.

Video and Audio:

Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, picture quality is excellent with bold colors and rich black levels. Skin tones appear natural throughout and there is plenty of small-object detail, particularly in close-ups and in hair and fibers. The 4K UHD disc features Dolby Vision and is HDR10 compatible.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 gets the job done with decent use of the rear channels and well-balanced music and effects tracks. Dialogue is always clear and understandable and optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

Special Features:

Synapse includes a collection of straightforward special features, starting with a standard Making of Blood Feast (29 minutes) featurette that includes behind-the-scenes footage intercut with talking-head interviews with members of the cast and crew.

The original Indiegogo promotional trailer is on hand as well as the theatrical trailer.

Blood Feast Red Carpet Premiere (2018, 29 minutes) takes a look at the big night, featuring appearances from some unexpected faces, including actor Josh Brolin (?!) and Halloween franchise producer Malek Akkad. Interviews include director Marcel Walz, producer Dominik Jurczek, production manager Joe Quintanilla and actors Robert Rusler, Caroline Williams, Sadie Katz and Liliana Nova.

A music video for Chilli Con Curtis’ “Tonite” (4 minutes) is also included.

Winner of the most annoying featurette is the Blood Feast Scare Cam (6 minutes) in which people jump out and scare members of the cast and crew.

Grades:

Movie: Cover
Video:
Audio:
Features:
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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