A FEAST OF FLESH
“The Truce has been Broken…”
Originally titled Abattoir, A Feast of Flesh is our “vampire movie”. Specifically, it was meant to be our “sell out” movie.
Famously, Amy Lynn Best and I were on our way home from a film festival wherein so many of the entries were “erotic horror”, oftentimes with the word “erotic” right in the tunnel. We’d already noted this trend when we took part in Paul Scrabo’s Dr. Horror’s EROTIC House of Idiots.
“We should just do ‘vampires in a brothel’,” Amy said.
“Okay, what’s it about?” I asked.
“Vampires,” she said. “In a brothel.”
Which is how it started. But how do you get people to go to that brothel? Vampires sending out invitations was a subversion of the genre, so I instantly loved the idea.
And since my very early days of fiction writing, I always held that the shield between you and your vampire is not religion, but faith. And Faith can take all sorts of different forms. Hence, a character warding off the creatures with a dollar bill.
Since I abhor the concept of “good vs evil”—how utterly dull and reductive—this became a story about a small society trying to exist within the boundaries of a “truce” being upheld by a similarly in-the-shadows organization. Since Gangs from New York happened to be on, I made this antagonist group ex-IRA.
“Vampires in a brothel” became “undead prostitutes (we never use the v-word) vs. the IRA”. And the more Amy and I worked on the script, the more it became a female empowerment story, even with a lack of clearly defined “heroes” and “villains.” We work in morally gray areas with our stories any way (we got the audience to cheer a murderer’s first kill in Severe Injuries!), so this was a fun thing to explore.
One thing we strive to do as well is make our locations primary characters and I think we pulled that off here in two areas: the Bathory House and Sheridan’s Shack. The Bathory House belongs to Stacy Bartlebaugh-Gmys (who stars in Feast) and her husband, Ron (who co-stars and gets killed in a neat way). We were helping them move in when we saw the place for the first time—tin ceilings, servant staircase, very versatile spare rooms that can be constantly repurposed (thanks to Ron’s skill at set design). The house looms and breathes throughout the movie.
Sheridan’s Shack belonged to Amy’s family (she grew up in that house at one point) and it was sitting largely disused at the exact time we needed it. It was undergoing remodeling so it was also the perfect time to cover place with Bill Homan’s arteries and Steve Foland’s guts. The cheddar cheese-colored kitchen with the cat paintings we thought gave Sheridan’s character a certain flair for the ridiculous.
- Amy kept those nails on throughout the four-month shooting schedule (lots of evenings and weekends). I have no idea how she put her contacts in every day.
- Don Bumgarner is still the best tooth-guy in the business. He made Rachelle Williams’ fangs in five minutes using a pair of press-on fingernails.
- Despite Aaron Bernard being the most under-written second-act switch in history, his turn as the abused/abusive boyfriend remains memorable.
- There are four shots in here as green screen tests for a film our DP was prepping at the time. See if you can spot them all!
- The end-credit music is by Lorena’Malena, with lyrics written by Neil Gaiman.
- Neil Gaiman has seen this movie.