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Blood Diner

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May. 6th, 2006 | 01:59 pm

All you vegetarians can kiss my blood sauce.


During my lonely days as a high school freshmen, I was a frequent customer of Blockbuster Video, long before DVDs were even a glint in the retail industry's eye. So much so, in fact, that almost everyone on-staff knew my pathetic ass by name, often commenting quite loudly to other employees and customers alike that I was a pretty sad individual. Didn't matter to me, though; I was on a mission to consume as many movies as I possibly could in a given week, regardless of how nerdy they presumed I was. Anyway, once I had devoured every silly picture listed in my tattered spiral-bound notebook, I started with the A's in the horror section and slowly worked my way through their entire selection, which was fairly impressive for a Blockbuster Video franchise. One film I could never bring myself to rent, however, was Jackie Kong's Blood Diner, whose cover art and synopsis never really appealed to me. It was one of the few movies I purposely skipped, since it seemed to be nothing more than a low-budget sleazefest. Now, I as begrudgingly approach my 30's, I'm obsessed with these campy low-budget horror flicks, and I'd love the opportunity to travel back in time to inform my 15 year-old self that Blood Diner is, in fact, worthy of a rental. Actually, scratch that.

Blood Diner is sheer brilliance. Period.

To be quite honest, dear readers, I really don't know to describe the movie to those who haven't had a chance to witness its genius in action. From the poorly-dubbed voiceovers to the incredibly lame dialogue, it's one of the craziest slashers I've ever seen. Ever. Seriously. EVER. To accurately describe the proceedings is rather difficult, but I will say that it's in the same vein as the highly underrated Motel Hell, though Diner seems to be the more mentally unstable of the two. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments that I actually started writing this review as a list of the jokes that worked, then scrapped the idea for fear it would ruin the many surprises awaiting those brave enough to set foot inside Jackie Kong's surreal world of disembodied talking brains, nude aerobics, and pointless Nazi references. It's pure insanity from start to finish, and I loved every frame of it.

Michael and George Tutman (Rick Burks and Carl Crew, respectively) run a little vegetarian diner with the help of their weird uncle, who just happens to be a disembodied, foul-mouthed brain floating in a jar of mystery juice. However, the Tutman's diner isn't exactly what it claims to be; not only do they use human parts for their "special seasoning," but the diner also serves as a front for an ancient ritual that will bring back the long-dead goddess Sheetar, who must be constructed using various female body parts ala Bride of Re-Animator -- though not as gooey -- and resurrected during the film's climatic "blood buffet." Hot on their trail, however, are two mismatched cops and their physically abusive chief, who won't hesitate to put a fist in your stomach if you get just an inch out-of-line. But that's where the logic ends, since Blood Diner boasts some of the goofiest scenes ever filmed, from the slaughter of several nude cheerleaders to the crushing of some poor bouncer's head outside of a popular nightclub, followed immediately by a loud burst of laughter from those who happened to witness the crime.

I could go on and on about my favorite moments from this descent into mind-numbing trash, but I really want those who haven't seen it to experience the film completely, without the stink of the spoilers I so desperately want to spill here. But I will refrain from such antics, since I think Blood Diner's charm lies in the fact that you have no idea what's around the proverbial corner. Will the next scene feature the sloppy, overweight, belch-laden vegetarian devotee who spends all of his free time eating the Tutman's special recipes, or will you get yet another bit featuring the meat-obsessed brothers during their gory preparation of the Sheetar ritual? It's these unexpected moments that make Blood Diner truly entertaining, since the script follows no preset formula and separates itself from the use of everyday common sense. Damn, is it magical.

There's also a fair amount of gore on display, though the specifics I will keep under wraps, since it's so off-the-wall outrageous that to mention it here would dilute the experience for Blood Diner virgins. It's never presented seriously, and stays true to the likes of Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case series and, once again, Motel Hell. It's all played for laughs, of course, and though some of it is too stupid to garner more than a brief chuckle, some scenes are truly gut-busting, which prompted this reviewer to rewind and watch several scenes more than once. I almost never do that, you see, since I like to watch movies in one long chunk, sans interruptions. For me to replay a specific scene due to the bizarre nature of the material is quite an accomplishment. I have no doubt that you'll do the same thing, too.

I saw this one on VHS, and not by choice. I wasn't able to locate a proper DVD release, and had to settle for the worn copy my local video store has in stock. There appears to be a Region 2 release via Dragon, though they sometimes mistreat the films they choose to distribute. However, I did discover, after some extensive research on the Internet, that Monsters HD recently aired a crystal-clear widescreen version of Blood Diner, uncut and intact, complete with an Artisan logo at the beginning. Why hasn't this been released on DVD? Why? I want to know the answer to this most perplexing question, since I think there's definitely an audience out there for it. Perhaps I'll start a petition. After all, that seems to be the thing to do these days when you can't find your favorite film on DVD. Together, maybe we can bring this forgotten gem to the masses. With its demented mixture of humor, gore, and absurdity, Blood Diner deserves preservation. Sheetar demands it!

All hail Sheetar! Oh, and the blood buffet is open until nine.

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from: anonymous
date: Oct. 29th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)


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