The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 3-9

blood dinerBlood Diner (1987)
Directed by Jackie Kong
“All of the mutilations, body dismemberments and cannibal rituals were performed by seasoned professionals.” So notes the opening credits of this splatterfestive whatsit, like an Ed Wood movie (directed by a woman!) without the delusions of grandeur—Herschell Gordon Lewis for the slasher-sequels era. New Horror movies, such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, were supposed to be silly as well as scary, but the real peril and rotting blood never made many people chuckle; this movie, however, begs for more laughs as it gets grosser—it’s blithely low-budget, flauntedly foul and self-consciously goofy.

In it, two blood-cultist twentysomethings resurrect their beloved uncle, whom they last saw 20 years ago before he was shot to death by police. (The radio describes him, after his mental-hospital escape, as having a meat cleaver in one hand and his genitals in the other.) The boys use a “Lumerian” spell to animate his grave-robbed brain; from a jar, also housing his eyes and lips, he communicates with a Bernie Sanders-like voice, shouting memorable lines such as, “don’t forget the lungs and livers of two sluts!” He charges his nephews with assembling a goddess “from many immoral girls”; the script has a video-game structure of level-like tasks, such as mowing down a roomful of topless cheerleaders with an AK47 while wearing a Ronald Reagan mask, or sticking some rocker chick’s battered face (not beaten—covered in batter) into a deep fryer.

Did I mention they also operate a popular vegetarian restaurant, and feed their customers the people-parts they don’t use for their ancient spells? But there’s not much commentary there, or anywhere, so don’t bother. Just enjoy the build-up to the Blood Buffet (including copious soul music and a pro-wrestling match with “Jimmy Hitler,” who has a Chaplin mustache and a red swastika armband) at a dance club, where pill-mad cannibals beset a pair of detectives trying to stop the resurrected goddess from murdering the band and the crowd with her laser eyes, or from consuming a virgin with her massive vagina dentata, which runs from shoulders to hips. It’s all set to the Tannhäuser overture, the weirdest use of Wagner ever, and is actually a bit too accidentally evocative of the massacre at Bataclan, 30 years later, making it the least funny, most disturbing part of the movie, even though it’s when you’re supposed to be laughing the hardest. Henry Stewart (February 5, 6, midnight at the Nitehawk)


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