Blood Diner (1987)

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I guess when I read the title Blood Diner I imagined a slasher film set in a diner, like the movie Diner…with more blood. Instead what I got was a silly, 80s remix of Herschel Gordon Lewis’ seminal splatter-fest Blood Feast. But there is blood. And there is a diner. So…sign me up!

This is a dumb movie but a fun one. A sequence early on featuring a nude aerobics class is a good signifier for the kind of tone the film is aiming for. Played more for laughs than shocks, director Jackie Kong and writer Michael Sonye (aka Dukey Flyswatter) pile on the ridiculousness until the very end. It reminded me a lot of the films of Fred Olen Ray and the onslaught of 50s doo-wop songs on the soundtrack gives it a distinct flavour. There are sight gags galore, like the woman who is dunked into a deep-fat fryer before getting her doughball head knocked clean off with a broom, or the guy who has both arms severed and attempts to drive home with bloody nubs where his hands used to be. The film actually stops near the end for a wrestling match with a guy called “Little Jimmy Hitler”. I mean, in a movie that features a talking brain stored in a jar as the villain, I shouldn’t be surprised. What a silly movie! But I smiled all the way through it.

Blood Diner is also historically significant in that it is one of the few 80s slasher films – hell one of the few slasher films in general – directed by a woman. Not only that, but most of the department heads were also women. As Kong states in an interview on the film’s recent blu-ray release, “in a genre dominated by guys, I outdid the guys!” There are loads of fascinating production stills showing this tiny, petite asian woman with a huge megaphone on a set littered with dead bodies. I wish they were online so I could link to them because they are some of the coolest behind-the-scenes shots I’ve seen.

Watched on Vestron Video Series blu-ray.

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