Growing up in the heyday of VHS, there were certain logos—sometimes referred to as “nightmare logos”—that induced a Pavlovian sense of dread thanks to their appearance on so many scary VHS tapes kids pored over in the ’80s. When the Media, New World Pictures, or Vestron Video logo appeared on screen, you knew you were probably going to have some bad dreams that night. (The CLG Motion Graphics Museum ranks the Vestron logo’s scare factor as low to medium.)
Vestron Video—initially formed by Time-Life video in 1981 in order to release “special interest videos as well as independent films, B-movies, and TV movies”—is back, thanks to Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collectors series. Lionsgate will be releasing re-mastered Blu-ray editions of films from the deep Vestron library of genre classics, starting with Jackie Kong’s Blood Diner.
Blood Diner is a loose sequel to H.G. Lewis’s 1966 proto-gore cheapie Blood Feast, focusing on two brothers who must collect body parts and appendages from “immoral women” in order to resurrect Ancient Lumerian goddess Sheetar. The film garnered a cult following after its limited theatrical release from Lightning Pictures in 1987 and eventual home video release from Vestron. The film’s trailer recaptures some of that great Lewis hucksterism by featuring Phil A. Mignon, the world-famous “gore-met” recommending the charming new eatery located right downtown. Mignon explains that the “mouthwatering specialties will have you, as they say, licking your lips” and that “only the freshest natural ingredients are selected for use in their carefully guarded recipes.”
The trailer, as well as several featurettes on the making of the film, will be included on the new release. Blood Diner will also feature audio commentary from director Jackie Kong. “I’ve supervised the mastering of the Blu-Ray with the DP,” Kong reveals on her website. “It looks incredible and has the intended color timing and [same] exposures as the theatrical print release.” Kong directed a few notable cult oddities throughout the ’80s,including Night Patrol (featuring Gong Show favorite The Unknown Comic) and the underrated radioactive monster mash The Being, featuring Martin Landau.
Two of Vestron’s notable early releases were An American Werewolf In London and Fred Dekker’s Monster Squad, although the company scored its biggest hit with 1988’s Dirty Dancing. Mainly a distribution company, Vestron eventually began releasing its own films through under the Vestron Pictures banner. While early adopters of the VHS craze, once the major studios wised up, it was harder for a smaller company like Vestron to get its hands on product ,and the company filed Chapter 11. Vestron’s library was taken over by LIVE Entertainment in 1991. LIVE Entertainment morphed into Artisan Entertainment and was acquired by Lionsgate in 2003.
Blood Diner will be served up September 27.