Feast is an absolute riot! Director John Gulager has brought into barbaric being an extravaganza of black comic catastrophe and hysterical horror parody. With names including Wes Craven, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck tacked to the Producer title, as well as a brief encounter with Jason Mewes as ‘Edgy Cat’, the film’s sarcasm is safely secured to the spotlight. Fans of Horror and the three friends it takes to make any art form ‘unliked’ by the masses have awarded Feast, released in 2005, the cachet of Cult. Not bad for a Project Greenlight baby. Feast won season three of the amateur filmmaking documentary series, giving writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, along with John Gulager, the chance to make their film. Thank goodness for that – life without the colossal carnage of Feast is just not as cool.
Owing to the fact that pretty much every synopsis in the history of horror has been used and abused for decades; the film’s plot is familiar (which is kind of the point of a parody): patrons locked inside bar, monsters attack, patrons are forced to fight, there is a hero (a few actually) and the black guy dies… so does the 10-year-old boy. It’s a siege/strategy scenario. Who will win – monster or man? Amidst the chaos of humping hellions, maggot-infested infections, gyrating genitalia and bestial birth, there is even room for some character development. The beautiful blonde saves her own immoral ass, the whore becomes the hero (as do the cripple and the jock – who also happened to be brothers) and… everyone else dies by some or other manner of disgusting defilement.
In order to emphasise the premise of ‘audience expectation’ the film starts off documentary style; introducing characters with captions and freeze frames. And then the all-encompassing obliteration begins; the hero dies within the first ten seconds of his appearance and the expectations that the film has already taken the trouble to instigate are poignantly pulverised. Okay… so the hero dies, the audience shrieks, and most importantly viewers are subconsciously forced to engage with a new set of expectations prescribed by preconceived ideas proposed by the horror genre, which the film panders to with heightened hyperbole. Feast thus sets itself up as a cyclical experience dictated by decimated and re-created expectations. Every time the audience is left ‘what the fucking?’ some craziness distracts said viewer from further film analysis. And it never gets boring! The parody is so sharp that the audience neglects the parody. Feast is the riddle that viewers forgot to figure out because entertainment bashed introspection into oblivion.
Feast offers a perverse synth of satirical slapstick and sardonic sensationalism in a terrifically tarantinoesque, Planet-Terror-style nod to the horror genre. The film takes cliché, chews it up and then spews it out with tantalizing, terrifying and traumatic effect. And so is birthed a repulsive ride of intense insanity, ecstatic enthrallment and cosmic cringe-worthiness.