Weekend Edition…

Feast (2005 film) after the break…

Feast (2005 film)…

The line between horror & comedy is as delicate as the line between handling nitroglycerin carefully & a huge awful explosion. In other words, most people attempting such a hybrid ought to just step aside & let braver souls attempt it so that they can watch a mass majority of those braver souls fail in spectacular fashion.

In fact, most successful horror-comedy hybrids are usually more comedy-oriented then horror. Movies like “Fright Night, “Shaun of the Dead,” “Evil Dead” & “Night of the Creeps” often come to mind when trying to find examples of successful horror-comedies. However, in each of those examples, the movie is a comedy with horror elements rather then a horror movie with comedic elements. I can’t think of a single successful horror-comedy that was more horror then comedy & here’s why – Because the two are just not meant to go well together.

“Feast” attempts to trot down the uncertain horror-comedy path &, surprisingly, does rather well for itself as a horror-comedy rather then a comedy-horror. Unfortunately, it derails in the final act rather spectacularly, much like a fine gymnastics performance where all goes well until the gymnast lands awkwardly on her head, snapping her spine & needing to be carried out on a stretcher. Sure, the first part went well but you only remember the part where her neck bends at an inhumanly angle as she collides unprofessionally with the ground.

“Feast” opens up in an isolated, redneck desert bar featuring a vast array of colorful characters. A fat criminal overlord, a single-mom waitress who’s also a prostitute, a ditzy waitress who aspires to be an actress, a wheelchair-bound lad, an egotistical motivational speaker, an elderly barkeep… the list goes on & on but, trust me, that list will thin out rather quickly as the movie wears on.

All is normal until a man bursts in, carrying a shotgun in one hand & the decapitated head of a mutant creature in the other. He brings bad news in that four ravenous creatures are about to siege the bar &, in an awful twist of fate, is either mercifully allowed not to witness the upcoming carnage or is cruelly removed from his inherant duties because of a fatal misstep.

The bar patrons need little additional motivation & the bar soon becomes a modern-day Alamo, ill-equipped to deal with the siege of highly-fast, highly-powerful monsters who take advantage of every single open window & mistake by the patrons to raise the body count.

Through most of the movie, there is competent horror component – These monsters have both the brains of the “Predator” monster with the brutal savagery of the “Alien” monster. They are hardly seen until the final act which lends an additional amount of suspense.

Unfortunately, it seems clear early on that the filmmakers wanted to add an overt comedy component to this movie. Here, they derail the movie which is unfortunate as the movie is more then capable of being more thne just an adequate re-telling of “Night of the Living Dead” with super-fast, super-deadly monsters being the understudies to the more well-known zombies.

We are treated to still shots of the bar patrons, complete with on-screen bio that both takes away from the suspense but adds little if anything for humor. A seasoned horror viewer would already have such a “still-shot” in their mind without the need for an actual, on-screen aid.

Also, there are far too many references to monsters having sex & monster genitalia in this film to ignore. Apparently, this is supposed to be real funny but again it comes at great expense to a horror movie trying to be just that – a horror movie. A little of this banter goes a long way but, just like the prankster who loosens the cap on a salt shaker, the viewer gets a lot then just a sprinkle of that comedy onto this movie then is bargained for.

Ultimately, the comedy derails this film as it becomes clear that the filmmakers are more interested in making wisecracks about horror movie conventions rather then completing their movie. For instance, the monsters are established fairly early on as having an opportunistic & ravenous appetite. Straying too close to a window or thin wall is the death of a few characters but one character who is captured outside of the bar is not only kept alive(?) by the monsters but used as a human battering ram(!) for what is ultimately just a cheap joke at that human character’s expense. Also, the phlegm of these creatures are established early on as being acidic, much to the displeasure of one bar patron who slowly succumbs to their acidic demise. However, this is directly contradicted in the final act when one such brave patron punches their entire arm(!) into the mouth of one such creature, choking that creature but pulling out an entirely intact arm(!). Shouldn’t that arm be nothing but bone? Can these creatures turn their acidic phlegm on & off like a switch? What looked like a brave sacrifice turns simply into a cheap money shot that is more confusing then gratifying.

In the end, the comedy ruins the horror & we are left being more entertained with what might have been then with what actually was. With a few simple edits, this movie might’ve been able to have had it both ways – Subtle moments of humor intertwined with moments of genuine horror & suspense. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be & this movie ends up being a showcase of excessive gore & guffaws rather then being an example that horror & humor do not have to live in mutually-exclusive kingdoms in order to be successful together.

Be forewarned – If this movie tries unsuccessful to marry horror & humor, the next two movies (yes, there are sequels) simply gives up trying to delicately balance the two & has comedy steal the limelight at every possible convenience. While a careful number of edits could save the first “Feast,” it appears that nothing short of a complete re-write & a time machine can save the sequels.

Like handling nitroglycerin, it doesn’t matter that you handled it with care through the first part, just that you clumsily dropped it for one moment & then died a quick but horrible death the very next. It’s the same, sadly, with this film.

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