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Jackie Kong
Rick Burks, Carl Crew, LaNette LaFrance, Roger Dauer
Writing Credits:
Michael Sonye

Two cannibalistic brothers kill various young women to make their flesh part of their new special dish at their rundown restaurant while seeking blood sacrifices to awaken a dormant Egyptian goddess.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $39.97
Release Date: 9/27/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director Jackie Kong
• “Killer Cuisine” Documentary
• Archival Interview with Project Consultant Eric Caidin
• Trailers, TV Spots and Radio Spots
• Still Gallery


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Blood Diner [Blu-Ray] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 20, 2016)

As a teen in the 1980s, I came to know a lot of the era’s horror films. However, the genre exploded so rapidly that many of these flicks flew under my radar.

Into that category comes 1987’s Blood Diner. Essentially a straight-to-video effort that enjoyed only a brief theatrical run, the film introduces us to brothers Michael (Rick Burks) and George Tutman (Carl Crew). As children, their psychotic Uncle Anwar (Drew Godderis) inspires them with stories of Lumerian gods and tells them to follow through with his evil plans.

Michael and George go through with this, and they resurrect Anwar’s brain to guide them. Michael must sacrifice a virgin, and George must create a “blood buffet”. They use their popular restaurant as a means to an end, all while they try to avoid detection by the police.

Though touted as a horror film, Diner accentuates the comedic side more than scares. Really, it rarely – if ever – tries to terrify the audience.

Instead, Diner acts as a parody of the genre, with broad performances and silly situations. How seriously can one take a film in which a lead character deep-fries a topless woman’s head and then lops off the battered noggin?

“Not very seriously” would be the answer, and Diner clearly is in on the joke. This isn’t a movie that attempts any form of realism or actual terror, as it plays up camp and absurdity. This is a feature in which a naked woman repels an assailant with karate chops – it’s goofy as goofy can be.

Does this result in entertainment? Occasionally. Movies like this walk a fine line between intentional badness and actual badness, and given the talent – or lack thereof – involved, it can be hard to tell which is which.

If an amateurish actor offers an amateurish performance, does that count as parody? Maybe, but it’s tough to tell the difference. Some of the actors seem to play their roles with an intentional sense of cheesiness, while others just appear to lack talent. This all ends up in one silly pot.

Iffy production values also play a part. None of the gore effects seem vaguely convincing, but how much of that is done on purpose? A lot, probably, but as with the acting, it can be tough to tell the difference between bad effects and intentionally poor material.

Given the movie’s ridiculous tone, I lean toward the belief that the filmmakers embraced the amateurish side of things to create a comedic spoof, and as I noted, this works to a degree. Diner seems so consistently absurd and over the top that it creates a moderately entertaining experience.

It lacks the intelligence or insight to do more than that, though. Diner throws enough idiocy at the wall that some of it sticks, but the movie’s inherent cheesiness means it can’t become more than a minor pleasure.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C/ Bonus B

Blood Diner appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not a bad presentation, the transfer showed its limitations.

Definition was acceptable, as the film showed reasonable accuracy. I’d never call it razor-sharp, but it usually offered fair delineation. Sporadic soft shots popped up, though, especially during interiors.

No issues with shimmering or jaggies occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws were minor. I noticed a smattering of small specks but nothing substantial.

Colors seemed acceptable. Diner provided a natural palette that never favored any particular tones. The hues lacked much pop but they appeared passable overall. Blacks were moderately inky, and low-light shots tended to appear somewhat dense. The transfer seemed dated but decent.

Similar thoughts greeted the lackluster DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Blood Diner. Speech appeared a little reedy and thin, and the movie came with a lot of poorly looped dialogue. Nonetheless, the lines showed good intelligibility and lacked overt flaws. Music demonstrated limited range as well, but the score was clear enough and showed moderate pep.

Effects fell into the same range. The track didn’t ask for much, and the elements sounded decent; they could be somewhat flat but they showed no distortion and represented the material well enough. All of this left us with a “C” soundtrack.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we start with an audio commentary from director Jackie Kong. She provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, music, editing, cinematography, budgetary issues, sets and locations, and related areas.

Most of the time, Kong offers a strong commentary. She occasionally tends to simply narrate the movie, but those moments appear fairly infrequently. Instead, Kong usually gives us an honest, informative and engaging look at her movie.

Killer Cuisine: The Making of Blood Diner runs one hour, four minutes and 31 seconds. It involves info from Kong, screenwriter Michael Sonye, producer Jimmy Maslon, creative consultant Bill Osco, composer Don Preston, director of photography Jurg Walther, and actors Carl Crew, Drew Godderis and Roger Dauer.

The show looks at the project’s origins and development, story/character/script areas, cast and performances, music, sets and locations and photography. Though presented as one package, “Cuisine” really provides five separate featurettes that don’t link together in a natural way.

As such, don’t expect “Cuisine” to deliver a coherent start-to-finish overview of the film. The awkward format aside, we do get a fairly good array of information here. It’s not an especially fluid program but it tells us useful material about the film.

Next we get an Archival Interview with Project Consultant Eric Gaidin. In this eight-minute, one second chat from 2009, Gaidin discusses his involvement in the film and aspects of the production. Galdin gives us a nice summary of different topics.

Some advertising materials appear. We find two trailers, two TV spots and three radio spots. The presence of “gore-met Phil A. Mignon” makes the trailers/TV promos more interesting than most.

Finally, we find a Still Gallery. A running montage, it goes for five minutes, 34 seconds and offers a mix of movie shots and promo images. It’s fairly forgettable.

A goofy stab at horror/comedy, Blood Diner delivers occasional entertainment. It lacks consistency, though, and fails to become a particularly good romp. The Blu-ray provides adequate picture and audio as well as a collection of bonus features highlighted by a strong commentary. Fans of campy 80s horror might like Blood Diner, but it seems unlikely to appeal beyond that cult crowd.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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