Blood Diner Blu-ray
Director: Jackie Kong
Screenwriter: Michael Sonye
Cast: Rick Burks, Carl Crew, Roger Dauer, LaNette LaFrance, Lisa Guggenheim, Tanya Papanicolas, Drew Godderis
Unrated | 88 Minutes
Release Date: September 27, 2016
“Warning! The truly unusual motion picture you are about to see contains many scenes of graphic violence. It is not intended for the faint of heart nor the young and impressionable. While it is a sad fact that mass homicide and practitioners of blood cults infest our society, the producers of this film wish to express that they do not condone, nor do they want to inspire, any of the human butchery or violence portrayed in this film. If you feel you will be offended by such material, please leave the theater at once. Note: All of the mutilations, bodily dismemberments, and cannibal rituals were performed by seasoned professionals. Please do not attempt any of these stunts at home. Thank you.”
Directed by female exploitation filmmaker Jackie Kong (Night Patrol) and written by Michael Sonye (Mengele from Troma’s Surf Nazis Must Die), Blood Diner is one of the craziest damn movies you’ll ever see – and now it’s available on Blu-ray, transferred from the original film elements, thanks to Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series.
As children, brothers Michael (Rick Burks) and George Tutman (Carl Crew) are brainwashed by their serial killer uncle Anwar (Drew Godderis), who dies with a meat cleaver in one hand and his genitals in the other (don’t ask). Now adults, the brothers – proprietors of a successful vegetarian restaurant – must dig up their crazy uncle, toss his brain in a jar, and finish what he started 20 years ago: the resurrection of the ancient goddess Sheetar (Tanya Papanicolas).
The talking brain orders the brothers to collect different body parts from “loose” women, stitch them together, and summon the golden goddess with a “blood buffet,” topped off with a virgin sacrifice. While the boys are chopping up women at a topless aerobics class to make french-fried lady fingers, two mismatched detectives (LaNette LaFrance and Roger Dauer) have to work together to stop the culinary carnage. As if this movie needed anything else, there’s also a subplot in which one of the brothers squares off against Aryan professional wrestler Little Jimmy Hitler (John Barton Shields). Because sure, why not.
An homage to Herschell Gordon Lewis’ 1963 film, Blood Feast, Kong’s 1987 horror-comedy is like Street Trash, Samurai Cop, Troll 2, and Death Spa all rolled up into one depraved orgy of gore and cannibalism. Did I mention the part where a guy’s head is smashed like one of Gallagher’s watermelons under the wheel of a bouncing lowrider blasting “La Cucaracha,” only for a bystander to ask, “Hey man, are you OK?” Needless to say, if you’re a fan of forgotten ’80s VHS sleaze-cheese, this unrated high-definition release of Blood Diner is a must-own.
Included on the Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray Edition are an audio commentary with the director, TV spots, a theatrical trailer and still gallery, an archival interview with project consultant Eric Caidin (08:01) and Killer Cuisine: The Making of Blood Diner (01:04:31). This five-part documentary features interviews with Kong, Sonye, producer Jimmy Maslon, actors Carl Crew, Drew Godderis, Roger Dauer, composer Don Preston, and cinematographer Jürg V. Walther.
There are some amazing takeaways from this making-of doc, including Kong’s insistence that no one was doing horror-comedy before 1987. Hmm, not sure about that, considering Sonye points out that The Evil Dead and Re-Animator were major influences on the movie’s tone. Then there’s Crew, who says Sheetar actress Tanya Papanicolas “always smelled like teriyaki.” Fascinating. Crew also talks briefly about shooting a sequel to Blood Diner, Blood Dinner (see what he did there?) that will be shot entirely in virtual reality. In the archival interview with Eric Caidin, he drops an equally mind-blowing bombshell: the original leads for the film were to be Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes) and professional wrestler George “The Animal” Steele, who would go on to star in Ed Wood. That pro wrestling subplot makes more sense now!
Blood Diner must be seen to be believed. As Jackie Kong says in the bonus materials, “love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it.” She’s right. There are moments in this film that are now permanently burned into my brain.