APRIL 8, 2008
Have I ever explained the strange law of the universe that dictates that whenever I work the night shift (I alternate my work schedule – one week I start at 930 am and leave at 6, the next I start at 1 pm and leave whenever everything’s done, usually round 7:30) on a night that I have something to do, I will get out late? However, if I have zero plans or opportunities, I will be out even earlier than average. It never fails. I’ve even tested it, buying tickets for a 10 o clock movie and watching as my twelve bucks got wasted as I sat in my office until close to 11, a record “late” night at the time. So my chances for seeing Blood Diner were pretty slim, as it was the first of the double feature at the New Beverly tonight.
And, true to form, I got out of work around 8:30, an hour later than usual for a Tuesday night. So I raced down to the Bev, hoping to get there in time to find parking, buy some “refreshments”, and enter in time for the start of Scream Bloody Murder, which was supposed to start around 9:30. But I had a sneaking suspicion that the movie started late, so I went to the box office before I bought beer, and discovered that Diner had only started about 10 minutes prior (due to the raffle, guest introduction, usual 20 minute delay due to the long concession line, and 15 minutes of trailers). Hurrah!
Sadly as it was dark I couldn’t find any friends, so I had to sit alone and experience this masterpiece of gloriously batshit cinema. It would pair nicely with Pieces (both movies even involve a human jigsaw puzzle!), as it’s just so ridiculous, so strangely plotted, and so damn delightful that it could only be appreciated with a big crowd. The plot finds a pair of brothers looking to appease their uncle, a talking brain with googly eyes*, by serving up human food to their diner patrons, while constructing a reincarnation of the goddess Sheetar. Nazi wrestlers, a nude aerobics class, rival diner owners, and a ventriloquist hobo also fit into the plot.
The strange thing about it was that it was eventually exhausting. I noticed that even the New Bev crowd began growing silent as it went on, with the laughs coming less frequently and not lasting as long. The finale picked up a bit, but it was a bit odd to “hear” silence for a couple minutes at a time once the film passed the halfway mark.
The funniest thing about the movie is what little concern the non-killer characters displayed for the horrible violent acts going on around them. At one point the brothers try to enter a club and the bouncer gives them a hard time. So they toss him out into the street, where he is immediately killed by a passing car. No one seems to care much. It’s breathtaking. There’s also a lot of random background stuff, such as a scene where three cops walk down a hall discussing the case. In the background, there is a scuffle between a prisoner and a few guards, which no one else seems to notice. Then again, the foreground has its own violence, as the police chief guy suddenly decks the hero cop for making a crazy suggestion (which probably turned out to be true).
Even weirder, it’s directed by a woman (Jackie Kong)! Almost every female character in the movie is needlessly punched or slapped around, so this little factoid, which I learned after the movie, is pretty surprising. Also, it makes Slumber Party Massacre (also surprisingly female-helmed) another fine choice for a double feature with Diner.
I had never heard of this one before it was announced for a screening at the Bev (apparently it's a quasi-remake of Blood Feast, which I haven't seen either), so I thank them again for letting me discover it. And Scream Bloody Murder was just as delightful as it was when I first saw it, though the laughter of the crowd resulted in my beloved “Who ever bought you a steak before?” line being completely drowned out. I should point out that the laughter was from an earlier line in the film, and NOT the annoying woman sitting near the front who kept MST3king the movie. The occasional comment is fine (preferably if it’s actually funny), but for the most part, these movies are funny enough on their own. We don’t need would-be Tom Servos borderline ruining it for everyone else. And the thing is, no one laughed at a single thing she said! Other occasional comments from other folks in the crowd were met with a small smattering of laughter, but hers fell flat every single time. You’d think after a few duds that she would realize that the rest of the crowd didn’t “appreciate” her genius and shut the fuck up, but no. She just kept saying random things that barely even made sense half the time. Luckily, one of the guys who run the Grindhouse told her to shut her pie hole after a while. Thanks pal!
What say you?
*They were actually regular eyes, not googly eyes, but the amazing SNL sketch with Christopher Walken was still fresh in my head, so everytime they showed the damn thing I had flashbacks and laughed my ass off. “Eye contact is important!”