When it comes to creature features, most horror fans demand twisted, hideous monsters long of claw and sharp of tooth to fulfill their nightmarish expectations. Even the classic images of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster set a morbid standard of stitched together, dead remains. Though Frankenstein’s monster is, and will forever be, the father of creature features, modern day monsters have become deadlier than ever. Take, for example, John Gulager’s 2005 horror comedy Feast.
As the winning director for the third season documentary television series Project Greenlight, John Gulager (Piranha 3DD) develops a unique, raunchy, instinct-driven monster for his debut, full-length feature film, Feast. As one of my all-time favorite campy creature features, this film holds nothing back while introducing a family of unsightly monsters with all the blood, goo, gore and slime to feed your every horror desire.
Embracing an action packed comedic approach with just the right amount of laughs, Feast is the story of a bunch of bar patrons in a secluded desert tavern fighting for survival against a family of vengeful, human-eating monsters. Opening with classic satirical freeze frame introductions of each character’s humorous nickname, fun facts and life expectancies are given before the shotgun wielding Hero (Eric Dane: X-Men: The Last Stand) barges through the door with a severed monster’s head and a warning to all those inside. In his epic introductory speech, Hero perfectly describes the grotesque beasts soon to make their own brutal appearance.
“Listen to me. A storm o’hell’s coming down on this place any second. I don’t know what they are, I don’t know where they came from. All I do know is that these fuckers are fast, nasty, and hungry… and there’s four of ’em. They got claws like Ginsu knives and more teeth than a chainsaw. They’re comin’… right now. So we gotta lock this bar down. That means doors, windows, drains, and zippers, and we gotta do it now. You! Get a phone, call the cops, National Guard, townies, anybody who kicks ass, and get ’em out here. Any questions?”
The bartender (Clu Gulager: Return of the Living Dead) is the one who immediately replies with, “Yeah, who the hell are you?” before Hero’s most memorable quote and scene in the film: “I’m the guy that’s gonna save your ass,” immediately followed by a monster busting through the window, devouring the adrenaline-fueled conqueror and spewing buckets of blood at the patrons. When the Hero’s wife, nicknamed Heroine (Navi Rawat: The Collection), enters the bar, the customers get a new leader with a life expectancy of “hopefully better than the last one.”
Not only did this brilliant throwback to extreme monster films help launch Gulager’s filmmaking career, but it also served as a springboard for writers Marcus Dunstan (Saw IV, Saw V, The Collector) and Patrick Melton (Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, The Collection). As diehard B-movie fans and aficionados, Dunstan and Melton got to live every writer’s dream under Project Greenlight, crafting a script perfectly balanced with comedy and horror.
While there are cleverly crafted, over-the-top laughs, the cringeworthy horror effects and action are not spared. Though some films of this nature struggle to prevent some elements from overshadowing others, creating a whole new level of cheapened ridiculousness, everything in Feast works together as a perfect mesh of humor, horror and hideous monsters. This fun ride is a dish not to miss for anyone craving a perfectly balanced, campy creature feature.