Editor's Note: This was originally published for FANGORIA on July 29, 2002, and we're proud to share it as part of The Gingold Files.
First, let’s get the nostalgia stuff out of the way: Yes, it’s something of a kick to see pioneering goremeister Herschell Gordon Lewis back in old territory after 30 years absent from the movie business. Fans of their many previous collaborations will get a warm glow seeing Lewis and executive producer David F. Friedman’s names in the opening credits of a modern-day production. And after four decades of splatter flicks launched by their original Blood Feast, it only seems appropriate that the duo come out of cinematic retirement to revisit their old stamping grounds; no doubt they had a great time making this sequel.
Now for the reality: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat is awful—a static, poorly acted slog through a one-note script punctuated by badly staged mayhem and overwrought makeup FX. In other words, little has changed for Lewis and co., and the director’s cult might not want it any other way. But nothing about the film suggests any awareness of the advancements in horror and gore cinema since the ’60s. Movies such as Evil Dead II, Re-Animator and Dead Alive have demonstrated that gruesome enjoyment can be wrought through skill and wit and doesn’t have to come at the film’s expense, and the likes of Night of the Creeps have proved that it’s possible to honor (and replicate) the appeal of old schlock with a modern sensibility.
But the people behind Blood Feast 2 don’t even appear to be trying, and deliver little more than a rehash of the original with somewhat improved production values. Once again, Fuad Ramses (J.P. Delahoussaye, portraying the grandson of the first film’s Fuad) carves his way through a succession of young lovelies to provide a sacrificial buffet for an ancient Egyptian goddess, always staying one step ahead of the dumb cops on the case. All this is presented with a distinct lack of style, or even apparent enthusiasm; it might be comforting to certain devotees to notice that Lewis is still crossing the director’s line. (If you don’t know what this means, please look it up before attempting to make a film.)
There might have been some cheesy amusement to be had at this hoary Z-movie plot being played out in contemporary times, except that W. Boyd Ford’s script makes the fatal mistake of playing it for intentional comedy, with a sense of humor that would have to skip ahead several grades to be called sophomoric. Just check out the character names: Fuad’s nubile victims are given monikers like Candy Graham and Bambi Deere, while the lead cops are called Michael Myers (ho ho) and Sam Loomis (ha ha). Did I mention that the former is a supposed tough guy who throws up—right on camera, of course—at every murder scene (are you laughing yet?) and that the latter is a fat slob who constantly eats donuts and other junk food (stop, you’re killing me!)? Oh yes, and John Waters shows up in a cameo as a priest who—you won’t believe this—leches after little boys!
Not funny, not scary, not nothin’. Of course, there are those who will say that this is all supposed to be bad, that a schlock classic is being honored by a follow-up that replicates all its inept “qualities.” To those who consider this a worthwhile venture, and look forward to spending 90-odd minutes viewing the shoddy product, all I can say is, eat up and enjoy. But in a time when so many unintentionally lousy horror films are flooding the market, do we really need one that succeeds in its attempts to be terrible?