March is “March Monsters” here at Dread Central – clever girl, Jonathan Barkan – which means it’s officially time we cover one of cha’boi’s personal favorite comfort horror watches. A Project Greenlight winner, maverick rule breaker, and all-around massively entertaining creature romp from open to close. For this required “monster” edition of Drinking With The Dread, let’s honor John Gulager’s liquor-breathed Feast. Take a cast of veteran character actors, lock ‘em in a bar, and send a family of unexplained evil hellbeast straight to their door – Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan’s “dive bar” aesthetic in full form.
From the moment Clu Gulager’s “Bartender” (given name) taps the first glass of room temperature swill, Feast is all about bashing down subgenre constructs. Wes Craven’s influence oozes out of every wound, as character arcs traverse by shocks, challenged preconceptions, and a twisted sense of morbid humor. Melton and Dunstan know * precisely* what you, the viewer, have been trained to expect given generic horror blueprints repurposed for decades. Feast douses guidelines in gasoline and tosses a match on the pile like a badass 90s action hero. Expect the unexpected and love every wink.
Most prominently, each actor’s personality is captured by a first playing card freeze-frame that lists “Name,” “Occupation,” and “Life Expectancy.” Sepia photos exude cool – or in Judah Friedlander’s “Beer Guy” case, doofiness – you can expect from an actor’s performance without backstory garble, while descriptors add a comedic tinge to future uncertainty. From names like “Hero” and notes like “We wouldn’t kill a child, would we,” Melton and Dunstan morph a gimmick into the film’s defining character trait (none better than the realization that Jason Mewes is playing himself as a stoner pool hall junkie).
Feast knows how to have fun and buck the system like an angry bronco.
No-bullshit energy propels a barricaded scenario where middle-of-nowhere bar patrons barricade themselves inside a Road House like water hole. The dump’s gallery of rogues band together including grifter Bozo (Balthazar Getty), handicapped Hot Wheels (Josh Zuckerman), waitress Tuffy (Krista Allen), self-help guru Coach (Henry Rollins), sweetheart Honey Pie (Jenny Wade) – names rattle on. Snarling primal aggressors bang upon closed shutters and blocked doors, snatching anyone who’s dumb enough to tempt fate. It’s a failsafe formula – kick the door in, keep pressure tight, and don’t let up until the credits roll. Honest midnight exploitation of the most invigorated persuasion.
Creature department effects are bodysuit practical, ferocious, and answer multiple long-pondered questions. What happens when monsters get food poisoning from a tainted treat? Do monsters get sexy-freaky like us? What does monster splooge look like? Gulager’s appreciation of outlandish gags (literally, zing) still doesn’t hinder the imposition his hairy, hulking attackers carry when cloaked in desert graveyard trophy accents. Then furs are shed, and you’ll be stricken trying to decide which is sharper – piercing claws or elongated fangs. Fucking, fighting, pheromones invaders from Hell, complete with ninja assassin offspring!
As a good midnighter does, Feast slathers on goop of all consistencies and colors. Vile projectile bile is spewed onto Mr. Unlucky aka Beer Guy as his outlook worsens with each passing scene (slowly decomposing his human flesh over time). One dissenter is used as a bloody battering ram, organs are ripped straight out of bodies, heads pop like particularly nasty prom-night pimples, and monsters slice with Ginsu-sharp precision. Deaths are never slow nor forgiving, and Gulager milks every ounce of depravity as corpses pile up.
Highlight moments include but are not limited to:
- Clu Gulager’s whiskey-soaked wisdom.
- Aw, Cody.
- Donkey Kong barrel scheme.
- Jason Mewes gets his face ripped clean off…as Jason Mewes.
- The sweet “romance” kindled between Honey Pie and Beer Guy.
- How many “Hero” types Melton and Dunstan cycle through.
- Poor Harley Girl.
- Henry Rollins in fuzzy pink sweats.
- Zero false advertising.
Are you ready to get locked in with the madness that is Feast? Let’s get to this barroom blitzin’ edition of Drinking With The Dread!
- Drink whenever a character description card shows.
- Drink whenever a character fucks over another character (could be cheating during a game, could be killing someone, could be hiding a wedding ring).
- Drink whenever one or multiple monsters launch an attack.
- Drink whenever a plan ceremoniously backfires.
- Drink TWICE for every character death.
- Drink TWICE whenever Beer Guy is abused (physically or emotionally).
- TAKE A SHOT when Tuffy makes her final transformation.
ALTERNATE SHOT RULE:
In college, I’d have everyone watching (first timers) select a different character they think will live through the night. Simple concept – if your character dies, you take a shot. Or maybe you only have a few friends over and select multiple characters with this same parameter? Instead of taking a shot, finish your beer at that moment. In any case, Melton and Dunstan’s twist-heavy approach leads to hilarious reactions from first-time watchers when, say, their perceived assumption that a strapping hunk dies within mere minutes.
Alright my Drinking With The Dread collective, you know the drill. Raise your glasses for a final toast to Feast, one of my all-time favorite monster mashes. What more can you ask for? Demon sieges, serious practical devotion, actors having an absolute blast while limbs are being torn off – John Gulager, and I’d argue Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, have never been better. No apologies, maximum effort, and some seriously insane views on subgenre reshuffling. Now if you’ll excuse me, my glass is empty. Where’s Beer Guy when you need him?