So bad it’s good? I wouldn’t go that far. But Blood Diner is definitely something—a no-frills pastiche of 1950s disembodied-brain sci-fi potboiler, 1960s Herschell Gordon Lewis splatter movie, 1970s cannibal-cuisine flick, and early-1980s buddy-cop movie. I’m tempted to say it stitches together a Frankenstein’s patchwork of genre movies because it has no vision of its own, but that’s too glib. If nothing else, 20-something Asian-American director Jackie Kong (Night Patrol) loves L.A.: she wrapped all of those genre influences around a love letter to the city’s underground music scene circa 1987, casting punk rockers and rockabilly singers as extras, bit players, and movie stars in a story about a pair of pretty-boy sibling serial killers who run a popular foodie destination on Hollywood Boulevard where the vegetarian dishes are, unbeknownst to patrons, boosted by the presence of human flesh in the recipe.
Here’s the bad news: it’s not as good as Dead & Buried. But it’s still pretty good. Director Gary Sherman’s 1972 feature, known in the U.S. as Raw Meat, is a spooky subway movie that takes place in the London Underground but features images of tunnelled emptiness that should send at least a mild shiver of recognition down the spine of any big-city dweller without the coin to take taxicabs every damn place under the sun. Like Dead & Buried, it involves a cop in over his head, but this time the cop — played in typically amiable style by Donald Pleasence — isn’t in any real danger. Instead, the protagonists are a hip young couple (their shared pad displays poster tributes to Hendrix and Che Guevara) who trip over an unconscious man on their way up the subway stairs after the last train departs the station. She wants to find help; he doesn’t want to get involved. And before a constable can be summoned, the body disappears.