review for Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat on AllMovie

Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002)
by Fred Beldin review

Fans have been begging Herschell Gordon Lewis to end his self-imposed exile from the film world for years, but as a highly successful writer of books on copywriting and direct-mail marketing, he's never had a need to return to the camera. Apparently, the time was right in 2001; so nearly 30 years after the groundbreaking "gore" film Blood Feast, he reunited with producer David F. Friedman and returned to the scene of his most notorious cinematic crime. Strangely enough, Lewis' directing has greatly improved in the three decades since his last film (the nearly incoherent Gore Gore Girls). Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat is a smoother ride than the haphazard rhythms of his past catalog, and it's more than just better film stock or mere technological innovation. Perhaps the fact that he's no longer grinding out product to put bread on his table allowed Lewis to take more care in composing shots and guiding the action. It's never as wild or unpredictable as the outlandishly weird films that made his reputation, but it doesn't matter. Blood Feast 2 is a farce through and through, paying tribute to its director's sticky legacy and never even attempting to scare the audience. The emphasis here is on gags and gore, with the occasional wink-and-nudge reference to the 1963 original. Most of the humor is cheap and obvious, taking easy pokes at donut-chewing cops and pedophilic priests (courtesy of Lewis devotee John Waters, who dons the collar in a lengthy cameo), but there are several laugh-out-loud moments that will take viewers by surprise. Thankfully, Lewis stays true to the old-school methods of gross-out technology, relying on rubber torsos and gallons of butcher shop offal. It's the whole point of the picture, and there are a multitude of long, lingering shots of lead psycho J. P. Delahoussaye lovingly running his fingers through steaming intestines, brains and livers. Some of the special effects aren't entirely successful, but all are effectively nauseating, and even hardened gore fans might find themselves frantically grasping for the remote control during the more intense scenes. The cast attempts to capture the same amateurish theatricality of the original, but they're playing it strictly for laughs this time. Melissa Morgan is the funniest, stealing every scene as a haughty, self-absorbed society dame. She's also the only female cast member who isn't required to strip naked and gyrate for the camera, but there are plenty of nubile victims on hand to model lingerie and take gratuitous showers. The expectations for Blood Feast 2 were high, but Lewis hasn't let his fans down. With this career-capping tribute to himself and his audience, Lewis manages to simultaneously satisfy and parody the sick lusts that have made his film career possible.