blood diner | jackie kong | michael sonye | rick burks | carl crew | roger dauer | comedy | remake | blood feast | united states | cannibal | ritual | religion | lanette la france | lisa elaina | max morris | roxanne osco | sir lamont rodeheaver | dino lee | drew godderis
Film: Blood Diner
Director: Jackie Kong
Writer: Michael Sonye
Starring: Rick Burks, Carl Crew and Roger Dauer
This is a movie that I feel like I remember it existing, but not fully sure how. I do know that I learned more about it after seeing Blood Feast as this movie is a loose remake. I’ll get into that more with my breakdown of the movie though. What finally pushed me into seeing this as this is the only movie as part of the Blood Feast series that I hadn’t seen according to Letterboxd. The synopsis is two brothers are entrusted by their uncle to uphold the ritualistic cannibalism of the ancient cult of Sheetar. To do so, they have to prepare a feast of sacrifice for the resurrection of their goddess.
We start this movie in 1962. The brothers from the synopsis are playing while their mother is leaving them for a bit. Michael (Roxanne Osco) is practicing his ability to hypnotize while George (Sir Lamont Rodeheaver) is making food from Play-doh. This is coupled with a Point of View shot and we hear over the radio that a crazed man is on the loose. This person tries to come into the house and ends up breaking down the door. It is their uncle, Anwar (Drew Godderis). He imparts them with information before he’s killed.
The movie then shifts 20 years into the future. Michael (Rick Burks) and George (Carl Crew) are now adults. They dig up Anwar and take his brain. In the process they also kill the graveyard’s security guard. These two own a health food restaurant where they’re putting something other than plants in the food. They perform a ritual in the back that makes Anwar’s brain come back to life. They’ve been studying the ritual to bring forth Sheetar and they need their uncle’s help. He’s memorized what they need and he sends his nephews to collect it.
Part of what they must do is construct a body of loose women so that Sheetar can inhabit it. They also need a virgin for the body to eat as its first meal. Michael is the suave brother and he sets his eyes on Connie Stanton (Lisa Elaina). As the bodies pile up, this draws the attention of detective Mark Shepard (Roger Dauer). His is assigned a new partner, Sheba Jackson (LaNette La France). She has experience in tracking down serial killers from what I gather. There are other things that complicate what Michael and George are trying to do, including a rival chef, Stan Saldin (Bob Loya). Anwar won’t be stopped this time in completing this ritual. His nephews aren’t the greatest at what they do, but they’re determined to make their uncle’s dream come true.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and where I want to start is that this movie is absurd. A few years ago, I did hear an interview with the director Jackie Kong and she talked about this one a bit. When this film was made, there weren’t a lot of women directors, so she had trouble getting it put together. Being a woman is something that I’ll get back to with social commentary, but I wanted to bring this up here. Apparently, this screenplay was intended to be a sequel to Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast. It was shopped around until Kong got ahold of it and she was the one that reworked this into a remake of sorts. She also decided to make this more of a comedy. I’ll be honest, I wish that she hadn’t though. I think it makes what we are getting is easier to digest, no pun intended, but it also makes me lose interest a bit.
Now I’ve teased a few things here, so I’ll start with positives. If I didn’t know that Kong was a woman, then I’d say this movie is misogynistic. Anwar is using some harsh words to describe women in this movie and his nephews don’t treat them well. Since this movie is a satire, I’m getting the idea that this is done for us to not like Michael, George or Anwar. They’re bad people and the movie is going over the top with it. Part of it is for laughs. Going along with this, Mark is misogynistic in how he talks to Sheba. She puts him in his place. She is also the best cop in the movie, which makes it interesting in that she is a black woman. The rest are all white men. Credit here to Kong for how she handled this.
Something else I liked here is the cult and the ritual. I’m a sucker for this in movies. This is also my favorite part of the original movie as well. It does get a bit confusing, as part of this cult seems to be Egyptian. If memory serves, Sheetar is a play on Ishtar, who was a god in ancient religion. I’m assuming here they altered the name to put she in front of it. There is a moment that cleared up some things for me where Mark and Sheba go to an expert who explains this was a cult that living at the time of Atlantis. Followers were thought to have survived. We do get some things that Michael and Anwar say that get contradicted later, but I can overlook that due to this being a comedy.
That is where I’ll go next, the comedy. I don’t like this being the route they took. I don’t find this movie to be all that funny. I’m not shocked to see that this came out in the late 1980’s. This is a slasher movie of sorts and we were getting more comedy around that time. I do believe that they went this route as that made it easier to get out in front of a bigger audience or something along those lines. This feels like a National Lampoon’s movie with things that are happening. It just doesn’t mesh as well in my opinion.
Going along with this, I’ll go to the acting next. Despite me not liking the comedy, I do think that Burks and Crew were solid. They are distinct characters and how they play it worked for me. Dauer and La France also play well off each other. La France is probably one of the best performances in the movie overall. Elaina is solid as the mousey Connie. Godderis is fine as the uncle. There were bits of comedy with his character for sure. Everyone else was fine as well. Many of them are playing caricatures which fit for what the movie needed. We do get quite a bit of nudity as well.
Finally, this will take me to the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, they did some good things. The blood was good. I like what they did with the body parts as well. They went practical there. Some of this goes over the top, which again, as a comedy that works. I like what they do when they bring Sheetar (Tanya Papanicolas) to life. Her teeth were creepy and her chest vagina was interesting. I’d also give credit here to the cinematography. This movie looks solid. That will take me to the soundtrack. I’m torn here. I like that they use upbeat songs for violent things happening on screen as well as the dichotomy it brings. I just don’t know if it always fit. It was hit or miss for me.
In conclusion, this movie has some good elements and some that didn’t work for me. I like the updating the movie Blood Feast. It just didn’t work for me to go comedy as much as they did. The cult and ritual are interesting. I think the acting for the most part was solid. We get some good effects and the cinematography was well done. We are also getting some interesting social commentary that is vailed in there. This just didn’t come together was well as I think they thought it would. I would say that after this first viewing, this movie is over average for me. There are too many things for me to go higher though.
My Rating: 6 out of 10