HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Blood Diner
HTS Overall Score:68
Lionsgate is back again. As I mentioned in my “Chopping Mall” review, Lionsgate has been absent from the catalog title game for quite some time. They were originally dumping out titles left and right on Blu-ray in the onset of the format, but as the catalog market has been drying up slightly, they stopped altogether and left a HUGE backlog of old horror titles on the backburner for several years. Now they’ve revived the Vestron Video line of titles and brought back the line as a premier set of films, stuffed with extras and bringing out the whole special edition style back again with fancy slipcovers and great encodes. “Chopping Mall” was a FANTASTIC entrance for the Vestron Video lineup, and the pairing with “Blood Diner” makes for an odd couple for sure. While “Chopping Mall” was a classic B-movie slasher, “Blood Diner” is a zany splatstick horror comedy with a quirky charm all its own.
Originally meant to be a sequel to “Blood Feast”, “Blood Diner” quickly turned into its own project, complete with a ludicrous comedic styling that hearkened back to the old cannibal gore fests of the 70s and early 80s. The story is pretty simple. Mikey (Rick Burks) and George (Carl Crew) are a pair of cannibalistic brothers who are following an ancient blood rite of the Lumerian lineage handed down to them by their old uncle Anwar (Drew Godderis). Uncle Anwar was killed trying to complete the ceremony to resurrect the ancient goddess Shitar, but 20 years later the boys have resurrected his spirit and use his wisdom to help complete the old ritual before the moon comes out of alignment.
To complete the ritual the boys have to collect body parts from girls with loose morals and stitch together a corpse for Shitar to inhabit, then use the rest of the body parts to create a “blood buffet” to commemorate ceremony. All, of course, with the traditional virgin sacrifice whom Shitar is to feast upon as she enters the world. The plot is all over the place, but the film gives it the whole shebang, and gleefully hops around with ludicrous scene after ludicrous scene of Mikey and George hacking and chopping up body parts and feeding the leftover parts to the patrons of their little “vegetarian” café.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80666[/img]“Blood Diner” hearkens back to the old over the top comedy gore fests like “Blood Feast” and the like, but sometimes goes a little TOOO overboard with the comedy. The entire film tries its best to be a gory laugh fest and that sometimes feels too strained and too stretched. The scene where George is running over the biker gang with his truck just plays on like a bad Three Stooges skit, but the naked martial arts scene with him and the beach babe had me rolling in the aisles. We’ve got random accented cops who are pervily trying to hit on their hot partners, a police chief that feels like he’s straight out of “Samurai Cop”, and two cannibalistic brothers feel like they should be the main stars in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”.
As much as the film stumbles around with the comedy and horror, I have to say that Director Jackie Kong has some serious guts for going with the style that she did. She has no symptoms of playing it safe and pushes the gore and prosthetics to the limits in a creepily humorous sort of way. What makes this even more interesting is that Jackie Kong was a young Asian girl of barely 30 years old who has only made four movies in her lifetime. All of them bizarrely gory, and using the same whacked out zany style of comedy indicative of “Blood Diner”.
While it doesn’t try too hard to be serious, no one could take it as anything but a splatstick gore comedy that usually relates to the really hardcore gorehounds. Simply put, “Blood Diner” is wickedly delicious horror/comedy that really is aimed straight at the niche genre of hardcore horror aficionados and isn’t ashamed of doing so. Some of the more mainstream fans may not get “Blood Diner” as much as the hardcore, but it is still something that is highly sought after in the horror community and a worthy starting point for the Vestron Video line of horror films.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80674[/img]While the box says that it is 1.85:1 in the aspect ratio department, the actual film (same goes for “Chopping Mall”) is ever so slightly opened up to 1.78:1, and the results are very impressive. The beat up old film looks better than it ever has and probably better than it has a right to be. Contrast is nice, and the colors really pop on the Blu-ray edition of the film that didn’t in the old DVD (at least according to my memory. I haven’t seen it for over 10-15 years so take that with a grain of salt). Blacks are solid and show plenty of detail, amidst minimal washing out of some scenes. Grain is impressively natural and the fine detail department shows off plenty of ooey gooey gorey bits of human flesh. Intimate detail like clothing and the décor of the two boy’s café is impressive to the naked eye, but there is a little bit of focus softness around the edges if you look for it.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80682[/img]The DTS-HD MA mono track on board is a solid enough track, but age has not been altogether kind the single track audio experience. Vocals are usually quite good, but the sound stage feels a bit boxy and harsh on the upper end. Not to mention the vocal’s audio balance is a bit off. It raises and lowers depending on the section of the movie. Still, there is no real background hiss and the effects are fairly impressive, despite a lack of low end in the enter movie. Most of this is due to being a really REALLY budget release back in the day, and limited audio equipment used for the creation of the film. Lionsgate’s DTS-HD MA track is technically sound, but the source issues keep it from being really great.
• AUDIO COMMENTARY with Director Jackie Kong
o “Queen Kong”
o “The Cook, The Uncle, and The Detective”
o “Open for Business”
o “Scoring for Sheetar!”
o “You Are What They Eat”
• Archival Interview with Project Consultant Eric Caidin
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
• Still Gallery
I’ve been really impressed with the first two titles in the Vestron Video rollout from Lionsgate, and I’m really excited over the next few coming out in a month or so. They have really rolled out the carpet and brought out the kid glove treatment for these titles and the results are rather nice. “Blood Diner” is the weaker of the duo of starting films, but “Chopping Mall” is a hard title to run second too. Gory, and wildly crazy, “Blood Diner” is a gleeful mess of a film that is disturbingly gory while maintaining a light hearted Doo-wop soundtrack that allows from plenty of levity amongst the good. Video is great, but audio is sadly a bit worn and weathered due to age. While the extras aren’t as feature rich as “Chopping Mall”, it’s still a huge sight better than most NEW titles coming out today, let alone the barebones nature of the catalog market. For this the Vestron Line truly earns my respect. Definitely for the fans.
Starring: Rick Burks, Carl Crew, Roger Dauer
Directed by: Jackie Kong
Written by: Michael Sonye
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA Mono
Runtime: 88 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Sept 27th, 2016
Buy Blood Diner On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: For the Fans
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