18. Blood Feast (1963)
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Nearly 50 years after its splashy debut, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ breakthrough exploitation flick, Blood Feast, doesn’t exactly hold up in the effects department. The blood, which pours in abundance, now looks like shiny red paint, and the Z-grade direction and storytelling, then masked by the film’s initial shock value, is glaringly problematic. But there’s one thing no one can ever take away from Lewis: Blood Feast, widely considered to be the first-ever “splatter” movie, is the reason why a countdown of this nature can even exist.
Groundbreaking in so many evil ways, Blood Feast is the simple tale of an insane Miami resident who kills women in putrid manners, in hopes of resurrecting an Egyptian goddess. Yes, it’s a load of narrative malarkey, yet Lewis’ one-note flick is charmingly despicable. It took some major balls to make a gross-out of this kind back in '63, and Blood Feast doesn’t shy away from its vileness; the film’s most memorable (for all the wrong reasons) image is that of the antagonist pulling a hot blonde’s tongue right out of her throat. It’s a moment akin to the moon landing for gore-hounds.