Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mal Arnold Gave Me Stockholm Syndrome

RV!: Blood Feast (1963) Dir: Herschell Gordon Lewis Date Released: July 6, 1963 Date Seen: September 26, 2012 Rating: 1.5/5

This clunker has only grown in my estimation since I first saw it. I now get what, on a very basic level, Lewis was trying to do. I don't think he knew how to do it, and I don't think he made a great effort to do it, either. But the grand guignol elements that he says are there can be found in the film's leering close-ups, amateurish long takes on severed gams and mutilated bodies, and yes, Mal Arnold's stilted acting. Arnold has even said that it wasn't his idea to talk like, in his words, "Bela Lugosi:" that was Lewis's direction. There is, in other words, an intelligence behind this (historically) important shit heap. And now that I've spent so much time thinking about its creators, I don't think I'll ever be able to hate it.

I rewatched Blood Feast so that I'd have better notes for the chapter of this long-gestating book on gore and the exploitation of explicit violence on film. So I'm writing about it at greater length. I'm just not ready to show off that writing as it's still in progress. More later.

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