By Kate Boyle
There are many sub-genres in horror; one of my favourites being horror-comedies or campy horror. There’s something great about watching a movie you know is going to be cheesy and ridiculous- you don’t expect anything spectacular and are usually pleasantly surprised. Holly Dale‘s first feature film “Blood & Donuts” (1995) is a hidden gem from the ’90s that fits that description.
“Blood & Donuts” is about a vampire name Boya (played by Gordon Currie) who awakens from a 25-year nap after a golf ball hits him in the head. Disoriented, he takes a cab to a graveyard to dig up his well-hidden belongings. He finds a place to stay at a run-down hotel and then makes his way to the all-night donut shop next door. Boya befriends cabbie and donut addict Earl (Louis Ferreira) and falls for waitress Molly (Helene Clarkson). Earl is having some trouble with two mobster types, so Boya steps up to protect him. Boya’s scorned ex-girlfriend Rita (Fiona Reid) is also out looking for revenge because Boya would not turn her into a vampire.
One thing I really liked about this film is it’s a different take than your standard vampire film. Most movies about vampires are overly gory, sexual, and violent, “Blood & Donuts” focuses more on the people and their friendships. Boya is a reluctant vampire who doesn’t like to hurt people. He’s shy and almost charming with brief moments of creepy awkwardness, especially when he is forced to use his powers.
“Blood & Donuts” is a quirky, fun, campy, horror-comedy. What it lacks in plot development, it makes up for in charm.”
The other characters are just as quirky and mostly likeable; my favourite being cabbie Earl who talks like he is always trying to perfect his Christopher Walken impression. Horror legend David Cronenberg even makes a cameo appearance as the mob boss.”Blood & Donuts” also has a fantastic, nostalgia-inducing soundtrack, featuring songs like “Mister Sandman” by The Chordettes, “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and “Twilight Time” by The Platters.
This film definitely falls into the “so bad it’s good” category. “Blood & Donuts” is a Canadian film that has a small cult following. Director Holly Dale is well known for her contributions to film, tv, and documentaries over the last 25 years, with over 90 credits to her name. She’s best known for contributing multiple episodes to tv series like “Mary Kills People” (2017-2018), “Reign” (2013-2017), “Castle” (2011-2014), and “Cold Case” (2007-2009). Dale’s work on this film proves that not only can women successfully contribute to the horror genre, they can also make campy horror flicks just as good as any male director.
Overall “Blood & Donuts” is a quirky, fun, campy, horror-comedy. What it lacks in plot development, it makes up for in charm. It’s currently available on Amazon Prime, so if you have the chance and are a fan of campy horror or vampire movies, I recommend checking it out.