Director – Holly Dale
Cast – Gordon Currie, Louis Ferreira, Helene Clarkson, Fiona Reid, Frank Moore, Hadley Kay, David Cronenberg
Release Year – 1995
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I had never before heard of this film before coming across it today, and after reading the plot I decided to give this one a go, and was pleasantly surprised with the end result of this obviously little-known film. While I am not the biggest fan of the vampire sub-genre, Blood & Donuts gave me a cool story that came with some fairly original vampire elements, and a few laughs as well.
After spending twenty-five years in a deep sleep, Boya is awakened when a golf ball strikes his grave in a basement. After retrieving his long-buried belongings from a local cemetery, he finds a low-budget motel to reside in until he figures what he wants to do with his new life. After frequenting a nearby donut shop he befriends Earl, an immigrant cab driver in trouble with some bad people, and quickly falls for Molly, the nice but tough-as-nails waitress at the donut shop. When Boya defends Earl from a group of mob thugs he not only endangers his life but Earl and Molly’s as well, forcing Boya to do what he wishes to never do again…kill humans.
Given I had never once heard of this film prior to hitting the “Play” button, I did not know what to expect going into this watch, so I went in with as open of a mind as possible and it surely paid off. From the get-go director Holly Dale’s execution lets you know that this will not be a film to take too seriously, especially when you consider that it is a golf ball hitting a basement that awakens our protagonist.
The storyline was a unique one in that it really focused on the internal conflict that vampires feel, and not the usual antics of biting peoples necks or being attacked with wooden stakes or other stupid devices. Instead we follow Boya as he struggles to live the life of a human and experience human emotions. He is adamant about not feasting on humans, and is therefore forced to feed on whatever he can find, mainly consisting of rats and pigeons. His efforts to acquire friendship backfires when he defends Earl, as he not only makes a friend but in the process makes even more enemies. This then brings us to Molly, the lovable waitress that seems to be the only person who truly tries to understand Boya, but things turn awry when Boya’s former love, also a vampire, learns that he has returned and is not happy that he is enjoying another woman’s presence. Most of the story follows these general themes, resulting in a simple writing effort but one that gives us positive characters and an interesting take on the vampire sub-genre.
Direction-wise Dale did a fine job bringing the story to screen, with unique visuals, awesome atmosphere, and good performances from all involved. Gordon Currie(The Dark Hours, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, No Woods) was fantastic as Boya, and the costume design for him was great as well. I really enjoyed Louis Ferreira(Dawn of the Dead remake, Saw IV)’s performance as Earl, and he did great in providing positive comic relief that had me chuckling numerous times. Speaking of actors, we get veteran horror director David Cronenberg(The Fly, Videodrome) in a supporting role as the mob boss who’s lackeys are assigned to harass and then kill Boya and Earl. We do not get much in regards to gore and awesome kills, but in all honesty this is not the usual vampire film, but more a character study that gives us great usage of its characters.
Overall, Blood & Donuts is a fun vampire flick that gives us a unique take on the sub-genre by focusing more on its characters than anything. Good laughs prevail and a fun yet dark atmosphere lingers throughout the film, making for a simple yet memorable watch.