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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BLOOD DINER (Vestron/Lionsgate Blu-ray) - Come Hungry. Disco Fries Not Included.

So what do you want to have for dinner to night? How about a Blu-ray with a side of Sheetar and disco fries? Blood Diner hits its HD debut in the states September 27th, and it is simply delicious. I want to express up front that Blood Diner has never been a favorite of mine, but I can appreciate it for its distant connection to Blood Feast by H.G. Lewis. I also love the enthusiasm fans have for this movie which is contagious as is the laughter that accompanies each viewing. Every time a distro company would announce its upcoming release lineup, Blood Diner is on the list even though it was clearly a Lionsgate product and perhaps inaccessible to certain labels. Before the recent announcement of the resurrection of Vestron, it almost seemed hopeless that we would ever see this cult favorite hit the Blu. Lo and behold the coming of Vestron has unleashed the adoration of fans and inspired many of us to dream. What will these folks put out next? In a few short days you'll have the chance to enjoy the gore and the goddess and the grill. Let's run this one down.

What's to love about Blood Diner? Jackie Kong, director of The Being and a couple dark comedy films, created the gonzo adventures of two brothers who include some FDA unapproved ingredients in their secret sauce ie people. This ain't your daddy's Soylent Green. Unlike the dystopian tale of people eating from the 70's, Blood Diner's man-eating (not man-pleasing) food is created with an eye on the resurrection of the goddess Sheeter. What we get is a whole lotta gruesome in the gruel. The story was in part inspired by Blood Feast and has also carried the title Blood Feast 2. Thus my ability to overlook some of the more cornball moments in the picture; I simply love that connection and the Blood Feast's story works no matter how it is imitated.

The issue I take with Blood Diner is that I simply don't find it funny. I've been in a theater watching it projected on 35mm and listened to the crowd response. People love this movie, laugh at this movie to the point of bellyache and it truly is a crowd-pleaser. While the humor doesn't tickle me, the kills and the gore are extremely over the top and are absolutely characteristic of the late 80's when Blood Diner made its release. Effective practical effects that are fun to watch and go for the gross out; that's what I want in my 80's Horror. So even if I don't have the nostalgic connection to Blood Diner (having seen it much later in life) I can appreciate its place in one of the most exciting eras in Horror.

This is not the first time Blood Diner has made it to digital home video in the US, having been released as a part of an 8 movie set in much the same way that Chopping Mall and several other Vestron titles were previously made available. I will say that as a rule those sets served only as a way to watch the movie and were not a quality effort. The Blood Diner transfer previously offered was poor, without extra features, had packaging that didn't focus on the film and were in dire need of an upgrade. Vestron in its new incarnation has created a very handsome package that features the traditional cover art with a slipcover. While it lack reverse art, it contains a still gallery on the disc itself.

The extra package is extensive and a serious upgrade from the previous release. There is a multi part making of featurette, each part focusing on a different aspect of production or creation. The standard extras of trailer, stills and TV spots are included. Beyond the making of featurettes which are heavy on additional content and provide an overview of the historical placement of Blood Diner in 80's Horror legacy, the disc includes a commentary track with the infamous, powerhouse Jackie Kong! I also found the archival interview with project consultant, Eric Caidin, very informative and helped to provide context for a film that I knew better by cover than content.

Each of the releases coming out of Vestron has been numbered on the spine which makes me believe that collecting these releases will be a must for Horror fans. Haven't seen Blood Diner? This is the way to check it out. The transfer is solid. The release is voluptuous, and the movie itself is entertaining in its commitment to excess. Love the movie? You'll love this Blu. As I stated before, this isn't a favorite movie of mine, and I the presentation alone was enough to make me hungry and excited (in that order).  Keep an eye out for more coverage of the Vestron relaunch. It sure is an exciting time to be a fan of 80's Horror.

Order your copy now from DiabolikDVD

From Vestron/Lionsgate:

Synopsis:

The Namtut brothers run the most popular restaurant in town. But their delicious recipes contain nothing less than the victims of their after- hours sorcery. Possessed by the spirit of their demonic uncle Anwar, the brothers are attempting to resurrect the ancient and deadly Sheeter, goddess of blood and lust.

BLOOD DINER BLU-RAY™ SPECIAL FEATURES

AUDIO COMMENTARY with Director Jackie Kong

FEATURETTES:

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

Year of Production: 1987
Title Copyright: Program Content and Package Artwork © 1987 Lightning Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Horror
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: English SDH
Feature Run Time: 88 Minutes
Blu-ray Format: 1080P High Definition, 16x9 Widescreen 1.85:1 Presentation
Blu-ray Audio: Original Monaural Audio

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