“The worst horror movie I have ever seen.”


Who made it? – Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis| Written by Allison Louise Downe | Director Of Photography Herschell Gordon Lewis | Special Effects

Who’s in it? – Mal Arnold| William Kerwin | Connie Mason | Lyn Bolton | Scott H. Hall

If you weren’t watching this, you might have been watching… Cleopatra / The Birds / The Great Escape

So this, ladies and gentlemen, is apparently where it all began. Not the first movie with a murder, not the first movie with bloodshed, not the first movie with Egyptian sacrifice. Probably not even the first movie with all of them. However, it you study your literature, read your web pages, check your books and ask Mark Kermode and Kim Newman nicely, they’ll probably tell you. There once were just movies. Then in 1963, all of a sudden, there were “splatter movies.”

Ladies and gents, I present Herschell Gordon Lewis’s BLOOD FEAST

So, before we dive in. Some background. Why this one. Why this one now?

Well I went to a few websites and found that essentially, the world agrees that the Video Recordings Act of 1984 drew up lists of types of films likely to “deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it”.

This list breaks down 166 (yep, 166) movies into 5 categories. And this puts the “gories” into catagories:

7 just “seized” by police, presumably because they looked a little nasty and probably had lurid boxes or titles (Blood For Dracula, Terror Express etc).

5 banned by the BBFC (British Board Of Film Classification) but not catagorized as “nasties” (Straw Dogs, Mother’s Day etc

82 “Section 3 Nasties” that could be seized and destroyed if found to be being owned or distributed (Dawn Of The Dead, Scanners, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc)

Next up were the films that were never prosecuted of which there are 33 (Evil Dead, Toolbox Murders, Don’t Look In The Basement etc)

And finally, what became the holy grail for horror fans in the 80s, the 39 prosecuted films (Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit On Your Grave, Love Camp 7 and so on and so on).

So having found these lists, I then spent an afternoon sticking them all into a lovely spreadsheet so I could keep a tally. Buddha always said all suffering came from attachments. I believe this Excel attachment was what he was talking about.

List done, I then went online to find the directors and the years of release. I didn’t really know what to expect. Would there be some true oldies from the vaults? Might the black and white Hammer movies of the 50s and 60s have turned enough heads and/or stomachs to have some classics branded as “corrupting?”

Well it turns out no. Once I had got all the directors and dates, a simple mouse click put them in chronological order. From the very earliest banned movie, to the very lastest (spoiler alert, Lamberto Bava’s Demons).

Which has given me, for want of a better method, a way of approaching. I mean I could have done this other ways. By director, (starting with Dario Argento and Deep Red, ending with Andrzej Żuławski’s “Posession.” Or by theme. Maybe all the Cannibal movies first, then all the “psycho on the loose” tales, followed by anything with “Don’t…” in the title (there are five of them).

But I have figured that chronological is best. Does this mean the movies will get steadily better? Gorier? More disturbing? Slowly improving production values and acting? Are early 1970s movies clearly grainier and more amateur and clumsy than slick mid 80s efforts? Well I don’t know. We’ll find out together.

But anyhoo, that’s why, boys and girls, we’re kicking off with the very earliest. As I say, Herschell Gordon Lewis’s BLOOD FEAST.

Now this isn’t a library entry, nor an encyclopaedic detailing of production details. If you want things like that, here are the Wikipedia page and IMDB pages



Almost ALL the movies these. I’ll supply as we go. This is where to go for minutae of cast and crew and dates and whatnot.

What’s it all about?

A simple and short tale (just 67 mins) of a crazed food caterer. Crazy eyebrows, crazy hair dye, crazy walk. He worships an Egyptian God. There is an unconvincing plastic effigy of her in his basement he seems oddly fond of. To bring her to life, he must perform rituals and whatnot with props and swathes of cheap fabric and candles. These rituals require body parts of young women. They don’t have to be from Miami, or in bikinis. Or be appalling actors. Although this apparently helps. Some bumbling cops are on the case.

That’s it.

Is it any good?

Well it’s too early to say. Given this is my first “Video Nasty” and as much part of history as a piece of art, I’m hoping this is the shoddier end. Because hell, if this is one of the “top quality ones” then we’re in for a fucking long ride.

The effect is rather like watching total amateurs. I mean proper no-talent, non-union pedestrians, who happen to be passing n their way to work and stumble in front of a Super 8 cine-camera on a wobbly tripod. Embarrassed, they start reading aloud cue cards in loud voices.

Honestly. It’s got a stagey “am-dram” feel to it all. All done in one take. Lines written on the backs of chairs and taped to the camera so the cast can read them aloud. The lighting – notoriuously hard to get right on a budget and usually the give-away for a low-cost picture – is glaring and bright, causing double-shadows on the walls. Imagine a man up a step ladder with a huge torch just off screen.

If you’ve ever seen 8yr olds do a shouty nativity, bellowing “and it came to pass…” while having teatowels on their head, then you’ll be in the ball-park.

The cops are wooden as wood. They make Chief O’Hara and Commisioner Gordon from the Batman TV show look like an outtake from Heat.


Well as the earliest on the list, I suppose it was never going to be all-out Rob Zombie torture porn or Italian gore fest of Ruggero Deodato (he’s coming up soon. We have to wait til 1980. But it’s bloody worth it).

It’s got that ectochrome bright coloured red-paint blood effect. All runny and sticky and like it’s from a Dulux tester-pot. It has thrusty and lusty stabbings, mostly shown as it were, from the waist up. So plenty of gurning and scowling, only to pull back to reveal the waxy, plastic looking fake body parts.

The most unwatchable thing about it is actually the performances. Panto villain with stick-on eyebrows and a Keyzer Soze limp (spoiler). Dialogue delivered in a slow, deadened eastern European sing song, like a bad Peter Lorre impersonator.

Ban worthy?

Well this is going to be interesting because what does that even mean? Too repulsive in its execution, imagery, themes, attitude and delivery to be able to be seen by consenting adults in private? No, of course not. And I’m going to be fascinated if we actually come across one.

But the deaths are vicious and prolonged and there are dangly animal-innards waved on forks like spaghetti. Imagine watching a terrible episode of Tales Of The Unexpected mixed with Hawaii Five O, while cleaning a dead badger off your car. If that sounds fun, then go nuts with this.

What does it remind me of?

Well nothing on the list yet, as it’s the first. But as I say. It’s clunky and shoddy and slow and daft. It’s a 1960s home movie made by your idiot cousins when they got drunk and found a grey wig, some Indian Restaurant decor and some left over Nandos.

Where to find it?

Well it’s available on Amazon Prime currently (14.11.21).  And also it seems in full, free, here on YouTube.

As well as the usual clips and trailers


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