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HISTORY

An article in the 16 Oct 1963 Var revealed that producer David F. Friedman had abandoned the sex-film market in favor of graphic horror, often referred to as “gore” or “splatter” films. Friedman explained that the horror genre was generally accepted by censors, while pictures involving sex and nudity often required negotiations with censorship boards, and alternate versions that conformed to regional standards. His first horror picture, Blood Feast, was already released in some foreign markets, earning approximately $31,000 to date. Ironically, Blood Feast was banned by British censors, who previously accepted his sex films.
       Friedman’s partner in the project, Herschell G. Lewis, spent several months developing special effects in Chicago, IL, followed by twelve days of principal photography in Florida. The team also created its own formula for stage blood, which Friedman described as “bloodier than blood.” The film debuted at a drive-in theater in Peoria, IL, in Jul 1963, where patrons were supplied with plastic cups as vomit receptacles. The producer anticipated 3,000 available engagements for Blood Feast, as opposed to the 600 available for sex films. A novelization of the screenplay was scheduled for publication by Belmont Books in Nov 1963.
       The picture opened 29 Apr 1964 in Los Angeles, CA, and 15 Jul 1964 in New York City to scathing critical notices. The 2 May 1964 LAT review noted that end credits included an acknowledgement of the North Miami Beach, FL, police department.
       Later that year, the 31 Aug 1964 DV reported that the $40,000 production earned approximately $500,000 in gross receipts. ... More Less

An article in the 16 Oct 1963 Var revealed that producer David F. Friedman had abandoned the sex-film market in favor of graphic horror, often referred to as “gore” or “splatter” films. Friedman explained that the horror genre was generally accepted by censors, while pictures involving sex and nudity often required negotiations with censorship boards, and alternate versions that conformed to regional standards. His first horror picture, Blood Feast, was already released in some foreign markets, earning approximately $31,000 to date. Ironically, Blood Feast was banned by British censors, who previously accepted his sex films.
       Friedman’s partner in the project, Herschell G. Lewis, spent several months developing special effects in Chicago, IL, followed by twelve days of principal photography in Florida. The team also created its own formula for stage blood, which Friedman described as “bloodier than blood.” The film debuted at a drive-in theater in Peoria, IL, in Jul 1963, where patrons were supplied with plastic cups as vomit receptacles. The producer anticipated 3,000 available engagements for Blood Feast, as opposed to the 600 available for sex films. A novelization of the screenplay was scheduled for publication by Belmont Books in Nov 1963.
       The picture opened 29 Apr 1964 in Los Angeles, CA, and 15 Jul 1964 in New York City to scathing critical notices. The 2 May 1964 LAT review noted that end credits included an acknowledgement of the North Miami Beach, FL, police department.
       Later that year, the 31 Aug 1964 DV reported that the $40,000 production earned approximately $500,000 in gross receipts. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 May 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1964
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
26 Apr 1964
Section U, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
2 May 1964
Section B, p. 5.
New York Times
14 Jul 1964
p. 28.
Variety
16 Oct 1963
p. 18.
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 April 1963
Premiere Information:
Peoria, Illinois, showing: July 1963
Los Angeles opening: 29 April 1964
New York opening: 15 July 1964
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
75
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Ramses, an exotic caterer and a fanatic worshiper of the devil-cult of Ishtar, convinces a woman to give her daughter an "Egyptian feast," in which he secretly plans to serve parts of girls' bodies. As the day of the party approaches, a series of bloody murders occur. The girl's fiance, a police lieutenant, arrives just in time to prevent her being vivisected for the feast. Fleeing from the police across the city dump, the fiendish cultist is accidentally mangled to death beneath the blades of a garbage ... +


Ramses, an exotic caterer and a fanatic worshiper of the devil-cult of Ishtar, convinces a woman to give her daughter an "Egyptian feast," in which he secretly plans to serve parts of girls' bodies. As the day of the party approaches, a series of bloody murders occur. The girl's fiance, a police lieutenant, arrives just in time to prevent her being vivisected for the feast. Fleeing from the police across the city dump, the fiendish cultist is accidentally mangled to death beneath the blades of a garbage truck. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.