Horror and comedy can team up like Bambi and its mother. All seems fine at first. Then mother’s brains splatter over the grass. After she stops twitching hunters skin and gut her so she can be sold to a butcher who in his turn will chop her into a hundred pieces that go for a good price. The customers laugh. Cheap steaks for everyone. The horror comedy Feast trilogy by director John Gulager goes something along those lines, plus a couple of farts and alien puke. My review.
These films are not for the light hearted even though Gulager aims not to scare, but to repulse. In an entertaining way, as you will have probably guessed already. Blood, guts and intestines are a goal here, not a means, and as the title already suggests the humans that separate from them are a meal. They get prayed upon by innumerable monsters that show up from nowhere and have only one other apparent goal than simply eating people: sex. It may sound a bit immature and well, it is. Feast never tries not to be and in the mix of horror and pulp it stays funny until the very end of the last movie.
The trilogy starts of in a bar that has to be barricaded against the monster attacks. The first film is funny already, but it does aim at horror and thrill more than its sequels. The second part, Sloppy Seconds, picks up where part one left off. The monsters are not only surrounding the bar anymore, they are everywhere. This is where the trilogy shakes off the scary moments like a seven year old girl with arachnophobia shakes of a spider, so only some bloodstains and hairy bits remain. And topless women, in the case of these films. The Happy Finish continues this streak and finishes off with horrible cinematography and the coolest one-liners of all three parts.
There are many comparisons to be made to other films. Feast and its sequels are obviously a revival of eighties monster flicks like The Gremlins, Critters or even Bad Taste, although the aliens in this film are way bigger. At times it feels a lot like the Evil Dead trilogy too, especially since the focus on horror shifts more towards comedy per film. The mixture between the genres works out differently in Feast though, as this it is not as much the masquerade of weird faces that is Army of Darkness. It does have the coolest batch of one-liners since that film. “You don’t need arms to kick ass” is the only response you can give to a character called Jean Claude Segal after his arms get bitten off.
Then the sleazy films of Troma are never far away. Feast is immature, dirty and full of stereotypes. Still, a Troma flick like Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is a fartfest galore and at times it seems that their audience consists of twelve year olds only. Compared to that the Feast trilogy keeps a rather clean house literally, but on the other hand that doesn’t say much either. And here too the monsters are men in good old latex suits. They are not made up from computer generated images, which makes it all the more real and luckily never realistic.
Even though Feast feels like a blend of all types of horror comedy critter movies, it has a taste of its own. It is bloodier than most and Gulager uses the genre to turn it inside out. He manipulates expectations so that everything that is likely to happen in these films wont. And just when you think you have seen it all, you haven’t. It is very probable that a lot of people will not appreciate this nonsense but I don’t think Gulager cares much about that. This is modern cult with a classic ring to it and films like this aren’t meant to be enjoyed generally. If you can appreciate the lowest form of culture as an art though you can take your chances on this gassy Mona Lisa.