'Bitter Feast:' Mario Batali in a Straight-to-DVD Horror Film About a Food Blogger


First I should clarify that by "in" I mean, about two-and-some-change minute's worth of Mario Batali's face at the very beginning. But he does have a few lines in Bitter Feast, the bloody horror flick that somehow went under your radar (imagine that!).

One of them is: "Dude, he creates public opinion, ergo he creates everything." Batali is referring to the food blogger character J.T. Frankes (Joshua Leonard, who you may recognize from such films as The Blair Witch Project) after Frankes writes a nasty review about a chef personality named Peter Grey (James Le Gros). Batali, who plays the restaurant's owner-investor authority figure, fires Grey after the scathing blog post. Batali has another line too, which also involves the word "dude" and references Marlow and Sons, the real-life Brooklyn restaurant where his fictional sous-chef comes from.

20110111-mario-batali-bitter-feast-dvd.jpgFor the next hour and a half, the now enraged Grey seeks revenge upon Frankes. Note: none of this involves our buddy Batali.

"My site gets 40,000 hits a day. Don't you think somebody's gonna think I'm missing," Frankes cries as he's getting tortured. Grey chains him up, beats him with bats, and forces him to make eggs over-easy with his hands all tied up (typical foodie horror flick sequence). At some point someone with a bloody face is running through the woods.

Batali is not involved in any of this gruesome stuff. He doesn't grind anyone into liver pate. He doesn't get sliced with a grapefruit knife. So if you're looking for that, sorry, not here. If you're looking for Batali in a much cuddlier role, try Fantastic Mr. Fox. He's an animated white-haired bunny chef! With animated orange Crocs! A little more feel-good.

I'm not sure if Bitter Feast is so bad, that it's good? Maybe people like horror films because they're so bad? It's definitely the first horror flick I've seen where organic, prime grade beef burgers are involved. If "horror foodie film" is going to be a genre, we should probably tip our hats to Hannibal Lector eating liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

I've handed our copy off to SE intern Tom who admits he's seen the Saw movies, and likes them in that awful-guilty-pleasure kinda way.

Reminder: This went STRAIGHT to DVD.

Full disclosure: I stopped paying attention after about the first half hour.