(Runs into room gasping, pauses for a second before wiping off forehead) Sorry about all that. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I know I should explain myself. I happened to vanish for a very long time, and I’m not even sure if anyone noticed. There is a story with all of this, but it’s possibly more dramatic than my entrance and therefore should just pass without mention. Now then…I have a riddle for you! What is wrong with the title of this review? I’ll give you a little bit.
Aha! Blood Feast wasn’t released in 1987—it was 1963! But then again, this isn’t Blood Feast. It is not the Blood Feast you know; the classic H.G. “Godfather of Gore” Lewis slasher which marked the beginning of the trash gore genre. This was created by Lewis, however. It’s not a remake. It’s the novelization. Bet you didn’t know that yes, our sorts of movies get books too. And thus it is with great honor that I present the (Google verification) first review of the paperback copy of Blood Feast!
And holy Morpheus (been awhile since I typed that)…what a marvelous adventure we have here.
The story is as old as time—or, at least, as old as 1963. Crazed Egyptian Fuad Ramses is running around killing girls to summon the goddess Ishtar. The cops are after him. A lot of really bloody killings take place. The cops catch up with Ramses. He dies somewhat horribly. The entire world is set straight, for the most part, even if a weird part of it is exposed. That’s essentially the plot of the novel. Or—as the H.G. Lewis in me tells me to say—is it?!?
The world of the Blood Feast novel (hereafter just Blood Feast for lack of confusion) is a very different place than the world we call Earth. I had to take notes about a fourth into the novel because I was scared I would forget all of the truly weird shit that plagues the reader as they descend. Take, for example, an early implication that Detective Mason, one of the main cops, may have been responsible for murdering his brother and his mom, who were both abusive. It’s only implied. His mom is eaten by rats in a locked room. This is presented as a running joke. We know by the time the characters are laughing and chuckling at the thought of an old lady being swarmed and consumed by rodents that this novel was written by, or at least takes place in the imagination of, a sarcastic, perhaps bitter lunatic. Another recurring theme of the novel involves Karl Snarling, a man who accidentally hangs a cat. The police spend about 75% of the novel tracking down Snarling instead of Ramses, and they actually stop Ramses almost as an afterthought. It’s really bizarre, but that’s not all…
There are so many scenes that I want to list. Fuad Ramses is presented as a practical joker. He throws gas bombs into crowded theatres, gets people addicted to his father’s brand of narcotic cigarettes, and wails out ghost noises to scare the shit out of his customers before hypnotizing them into going to bed with them and stealing their jewels. The world “bleb” is thrown around by everyone, and even given a fictitious definition. People talk about adultery at completely random times. A man shows up named Sergeant Schitt, first name Bull. Someone makes a Philo Vance reference (!). A cop gets someone drunk so he can pick his pocket. A girl is so timid and self-conscious that she pays her boyfriend for kissing her. A politician named Dick accidentally shoots a judge during a hunting accident (!!!). And at the end, when trying to stop a criminal, the chief of police guns down three innocent people in a crowd and walks away nonchalantly. It’s all too much, too soon, and eventually even if you hate violence and sleaze you get so unglued that you can’t stop laughing. It’s insane. It’s off the wall. It’s a horror novel written by the Joker. It’s better than Blood Feast: The Movie in so many ways. You think, you ponder, you wonder, you cry. And at the end of the day, like all the characters in the book, so nobly monstrous, you walk away and you shrug your shoulders.
This novel isn’t hard to find, and I’m glad it’s not. Everyone should read this. It should go up there with Waiting for Godot in terms of comedic surrealism—it should go up there with Shakespeare in terms of dramatic conclusions and mastery of vulgar implications. Watch the film, read the book. It’s a win-win situation.
P.S. – This is not my last book review. There is still the Two Thousand Maniacs novel and all of the truly weird sounding young adult tie-ins with Halloween, Friday the 13th, and, curiously enough, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Stay tuned.