Night Feeder - Night Feeder( DVD) [SRS Cinema - 2021]
Night Feeder is a late 80’s SOV cop thriller meets horror/ creature feature set in the post-punk scene of San Francisco. For an SOV picture, the film has high production value, with it initially had a look/ vibe of early SOV classic Blood Cult- though of course with a pronounced new wave/ punk setting. Here from SRS Cinema- one of the key releases of all things low budget horror/ SOV. It's a region free DVD release of the film, featuring a commentary track from the director and trailer reel.
Night Feeder appeared in the year 1988- it was directed by one Jim Whiteaker, and it was his one and only credit- and it’s very impressively scoped and made for a first time SOV feature. With well thought out, at point pro looking shot set-ups, a relatively large cast, and general good low budget production value. The only criticism of the filmmaking itself is that the pacing is a little off in places, and the one hour and thirty-minute runtime feels too long for the story to be told.
The film kicks off with a decidedly noir type vibe- as we see Inspt Alonzo Bernardo(Jonathan Zeichner) on misty and neon lick street corner, covering up the body of the latest victim of a serial killer. At the scene is 'just moved to the area' cigarette smoking journalist Jean( Kate Alexander- who has a rather more pushy Catriona MacColl quality to her). She becomes quite pushy with the inspector, and we find out she lives with the keyboard player of controversial post-punk band Disease- members of San Francisco band The Nuns.Roger Batty
As the film unfolds more people are killed- with each having one of their eyes removed, and their brains seemingly pulled out via the hole. Jean keeps trying to investigate/ report on the case- as she and Inspt Bernardo get closer and closer. With suggestions that Disease could be connected to the killings- as a few of their groupies died in mysterious circumstances some years back. With the film moving towards a fairly surprising/ shocking finale.
As you’d hope/ expect with a new wave/ post-punk setting- we get some neat musical/ performances moments- the first of these come in Jean’s huge loft apartment, where Disease play a song- as the surrounding party of quirky characters snort/ take drugs, strip nude, and generally party hard. The aftermath of the killings are impressive enough- with slashed faces and pulled out eyeballs, we also get a grim and lengthy autopsy scene- where a face is pulled back, skull sawn off. And later on in the film we get a cool and creepy dream sequence, and some neat creature effects- though I won’t detail those, as it will reveal a big spoiler. Aside from The Nun’s dark and at times angry post-punk, the soundtrack features a rather up-front keyboard score- and this takes in quite a few very 80 sounds/ tones.
With this been SOV- one thing that is very on point with the genre is the acting- which moves from competent-if-over acting, to downright bad. The two leads Zeichner and Alexander are passable, though the latter has moments of hammy soapiness. Aside from the already mention pace/ runtime, Night Feeder is a good and competent example of higher production SOV.
Moving onto this new region free DVD- the print looks good low budget 1980’s and is certainly head and shoulders above most SOV. Moving onto extra side of things are we get a commentary track- this is with director Jim Whiteaker. And it’s an interesting track, which finds Whiteaker discussing how the film came about- basically a group of bay area music video producers/ artists decided to make a film. He moves on to talk about the actors- both main and smaller players, with many of the latter being artists or connected with the art scene. He talks about how much of the film was shot in and around Dutch Boy Studios in Oakland- which is still today a respected art space/studio. He points out some of his favourite moments, talks about the band in the film The Nuns, and more. Initially, Whiteaker came across a little deadpan, but in time he warms up to give a good track. Lastly, we get trailer reels for other SRS releases.
Night Feeder is one of the more high production value SOV titles of the 80’s- so with that in mind, I’d say this will appeal above and beyond the normal SOV audience. So if you enjoy cop thriller/ horror creature feature low budget fare, this will be something you’ll be wanting to check out, and the commentary is a great bonus.