Gross-out and laugh-out moments in horror comedies are tricky to achieve, and there’s certainly no better example of how to do it right and wrong than in the Feast series, which brings our Halloween movie special week on an even gorier track.
(USA 2005, director: John Gulager)
A group of people is attacked by monsters in a bar.
It’s clear from the start that this is a movie that doesn’t take the genre and itself seriously, introducing characters with short info about their occupation (like “hero”), chance of survival (“pretty f… great”) and others. Actually, it’s so tongue-in-cheek that some people might already roll their eyes in the first couple of minutes. However, if one accepts the fast pacing and weird characters, then one is in for a gory ride.
An amazing amount of blood and bodily fluids of the monsters and their victims, relentless action as far as the budget allows, makes this one of the best fun splatter movies, if it weren’t for some minor or major niggles. The most problematic is the shaky camera that tries to hide the fact that the monsters are people dressed up in costumes. Then there’s the lack of an actual story, although as in other horror movies where people have to defend themselves from things trying to get inside their safe haven, this can be overlooked. Much more of a problem is how many disgusting scenes one can personally take. This is definitely not for the squeamish, as maggots and body parts are constantly thrown around. Just like the genre-breaking moments, a bit less would have been more effective.
Feast II: Sloppy Seconds
(USA 2008, director: John Gulager)
Monsters have taken over a small town, and with survivors of the bar attack, a new group of people has to fight for their lives.
Humor is highly subjective and crossing the line of what can be shown on screen can lead to two results: either making the audience turn away and be disgusted or applaud the director of being brave enough to show it and find it sickeningly funny. The first movie already jumped back and forth between ridiculous and horrible scenes, and this concept is taken even further, involving a baby (which is weirdly part of the real Gulager family) and a grandmother. Without taking anything away from the surprise, the scenes are a perfect example of bad taste multiple times, and that’s the main problem.
It isn’t enough to gross out the audience and be experimental with horror/comedy if the plot and characters aren’t engaging. Sure, the first movie wasn’t Shakespeare material and only focused on one location, with a bunch of people who weren’t all likable, but at least they were to a point. This isn’t the case here, as there’s absolutely none one would feel sympathy for to survive. The acting is quite terrible as well, so what one is left with is an abundance of gore, blood, bad monster costumes, and that shaky camera that doesn’t make the action-scenes and bad special effects any better. It’s a shame, because there are so many scenes that have to be watched to be believed, e.g. with two little people who worked as wrestlers and are now used on a catapult. As the movie is connected to the first one and ends with a cliffhanger, one doesn’t have another option than watching it, though.
Feast III: The Happy Finish
(USA 2009, director: John Gulager)
Still on the run, the survivors of a monster-infested small town meet even crazier people along the way and defend themselves against the fiendish attackers.
Continuing from where the second movie left of, the main problem with unlikable characters still remains, but now the crazy ideas and especially blood and gore are cranked up to eleven. Cinematography is also a bit better, as it doesn’t look as if it was filmed with a student camera. However, there are moments which show that the director desperately tries to be clever and somewhat exaggerates, e.g. with a scene where flickering disco lights make a fighting sequence almost unbearable to watch due to its extended length. It’s a pretty cool effect and is better executed than with the shaky camera that tried to cover up the cheap monster costumes, but it’s way too long and gets rather annoying.
There are so many cool wtf moments that are both hilarious and gruesome. Unlike its predecessor that had a few truly disgusting and disturbing scenes, the fun splatter aspect is more prevalent here. It might not reach the same high/low comedy of Braindead, but it comes pretty close. Adding even crazier characters (like a false prophet and a kung fu master student) and having one of the most nonsensical but also coolest endings in a horror trilogy series, this might not be as polished as the first movie, but it’s an improvement over the second one and a reason to watch the predecessor.
If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the Amazon links and buying the products also helps ;).