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Blood and Donuts

Canadian horror horror movie

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One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER!

  • Feb 27, 2009
Rating:
+5
They say that there is nothing new under the sun, that everything is simply a retread of ideas that have gone before, just the same old thing merely dressed up in different clothes and coiffed appropriately to meet a younger generation's standards. Well I'm here to tell you that just ain't true because I am the proud owner of a 13 year old vampire film from Canada that even if these post Lestat, post Buffy days still brings to the table an impressive amount of intelligence, wit, style, humor, and grace. It bears the unlikely title BLOOD AND DONUTS, and it has made of me a true believer in the existence of creative filmmakers. Yes, Virginia, they still exist! Even today this film still feels fresh..

The film begins with footage of the lunar landing in 1969--that's when Boya decided to crawl into a burlap bag and go to sleep for what turned out to be 25 years. He is only awakened by chance when a freak accident involving an errant golf ball during the film's opening credits sets off a chain of events in his lair that would have made Rube Goldberg proud. His awakening is immediately sensed by a beautician named Rita who bears the slight marks of his fangs on her neck. After Boya gets the considerable kinks out of his assorted body parts that 25 years in a burlap sack tend to leave one with, he sets off carrying a shovel--looking for food perhaps? He catches a ride to the Westview Cemetery with a cabbie named Earl, a garrulous but likable fellow who can't help but notice his passenger's tears and, wanting to make him feel better, says he could never trust a man who couldn't cry and then launches into a long sad story about his dearly departed dog. But Boya's already left the cab and has sought out a particular grave to excavate. What, or perhaps who, is buried there? A long lost lover to re-animate possibly? Nope, just his personal belongings which include the prerequisite sharp leather coat and an album full of old photographs to which he tenderly adds another, a picture of a pretty blond, using his own blood as an adhesive.

You're probably wondering how the donuts enter into the film about now, right? Well after Boya finds himself a place to crash, a seedy hotel with an ample supply of rats in the walls, he ventures out again looking for an all-night market where he might buy some very fresh liver. But alas the neighborhood has really changed and he's hopelessly lost. He drops into the donut shop for directions and instantly becomes entranced by young Molly who works the counter. The donut shop is a haven of sorts in this very shabby neighborhood. Its owner believes that everyone deserves the right to be able to eat a donut and have a safe place in which to eat it. While he sits in the shop staring at her, Earl the cabbie comes in, he's desperately trying to avoid some thugs who have been after him but they just happen to catch up with him while Boya is there which is bad news for them. After the beat down, Boya offers his room as a sanctuary to Earl, and Earl gladly accepts, although after awhile he starts to regret that decision as he begins to notice some rather strange things about his host. His habit of sleeping in the closet during the day seemed odd in retrospect, but it was that big gaping wound in Boya's chest that didn't seem to faze him at all that really upset Earl.

I'm not going to do much more in the way of a plot synopsis here simply because I don't want to spoil a moment of this film for anyone who has the curiosity to go out and hunt it down. It's very special. You've already met all of the primary characters with the exception of the "Crime Boss" who is played by David Cronenberg in a thoroughly delightful cameo role. And doing a plot synopsis would never do this film justice anyhow. Oh, you'd know the story, but that's all. It's a fairly original story too. I could also spill my guts and tell you all the many reasons why this film is so special and give you examples, but again, then you wouldn't need to see the film would you? Let's see if I can talk about it and NOT give anything away.

There is very little violence in this film, which considering Cronenberg is rumored to have had a hand either in backing it or in otherwise supporting it, is interesting. What violence there is comes primarily at the film's end. The sex scene is conducted with the participants being in two different buildings and it's the guy who is naked in the bathtub and the chick who is fully clothed. The vampire transformation is extremely well done and perfects the technique and style used in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and does it even slicker--however, it is only used twice. There is only one death in the entire film. Having said all of this I just realized that I have turned off every single member of this film's potential audience. Oops.

But for those of us who know that there can be more to a genre film than sex and violence (if only for a change of pace every now and then) BLOOD AND DONUTS offers the perfect alternative. For starters it's an extremely well written film. Andrew Rai Berzins has given us fully realized, flesh and blood human beings (even the undead ones) that we can actually care about and empathize with and laugh WITH rather than AT. Released in 1995, BLOOD AND DONUTS went on to be nominated for Best Screenplay in the Genie Awards, Canada's equivalent of the Oscars, which is quite a testimonial for any low budget horror film. Director Holly Dale has also managed quite a feat, she's taken what in lesser hands might have been a genre film awkwardly attempting to be something else, and turned it into a film that managed to succeed on both levels completely. The talented cast helps out enormously with Gordon Currie as the enigmatic/romantic Boya doing most of the heavy lifting with a graceful, comedic ease. Everyone else is also worthy of mention; Justin Louis as the cabbie, Helene Clarkson as the less than glamorous Molly, and Fiona Reid as the wannabe vampire Rita. Photography and lighting are moody but not murky, and once again I must comment on the music, something I rarely do. In addition to the regular score which is effective, they've chosen old pop songs such as "Twilight Time" by the Platters, "I Put a Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, as well as versions of "Mr. Sandman" and "Blue Moon" all of which add wonderful texture to the film even though they all pre-date  the era when Boya crawled into his burlap sack.

Do yourself a favor. If you like something a bit off the beaten track, if you don't mind a virtually bloodless vampire film, if films like FIDO strike you as something the world really needs more of,  track down a copy of BLOOD AND DONUTS. And sit through the credits for one final scene.
One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER! One of the Best Things Out of Canada----EVER!

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July 15, 2010
Man that sounds like something I have to get right away, but it seems like I have heard of this before. EXCELLENT review.
July 15, 2010
Maybe you're just remembering my amazon review.
 
February 04, 2010
You rated this pretty high so that says a lot right there. I do hope to catch it.....as a matter of fact I have to see if they have in Netflix.
February 05, 2010
I don't think that they do. I'm not sure that it's even had a DVD rlease, but I keep reviewing it in the hopes that one day they will and people will see it and it will ring a bell because of my review.
 
February 01, 2010
Your closing statement on this makes it sound like a must-see. Comparing it to "Fido" seems a little bold though.
February 01, 2010
It's like FIDO in tone--although that film does unleash some zombie mayhem at the end of it's final act whereas this film manages to keep it's restraint in spite of the presence of David Cronenberg. As I pointed out, this one did get a nomination for best screenplay at the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars!
February 02, 2010
Eh, I'm more intrigued by Cronenberg's involvement than by some dumb awards show. I wonder if he'll ever do an all-out comedy...
February 03, 2010
Who knows. Maybe we've already seen his version of a comedy. But you can't tell me you aren't impressed by the fact that DISTRIC 9 is up for an Oscar this year?
February 03, 2010
Actually, I'm not impressed. Personally, I haven't been able to take the Oscars seriously since... well, ever. The entire idea of naming one film as being the best representation of the medium or of a genre is just absurd. Besides, I loathe competition. The only good thing about award shows is that every now and then some obscure or unknown film or filmmaker gets some much-deserved exposure. But usually it's just ego-inflation, self-promotion and hype. I do like watching them though, mainly in the hope that they'll get something right. But usually I end up just swearing at the TV. x-D
February 03, 2010
I think it's down right interesting that Clooney's film that's won some pretty big awards didn't even get a nomination and yet this independent horror flick from South Africa did. Are they pissed at Clooney, or are they that in love the social/political message of DISTRICT 9? I don't suppose it matters much since AVATAR will win anyhow. (These compettions are good for betting on with people who don't know how the system works. However if they're going to start changing the rules on me I've got to take notice or I'll be losing what little money i HAVE.)
February 03, 2010
I wouldn't place any money on "Avatar" quite yet.
February 03, 2010
Traditionally it goes to the most hyped and most expensive and most popular flick, unless there is a film of great social and/or political import. Plus you've got the fact that Cameron has this nifty new technology. If he's never won before that's another plus for him.
February 03, 2010
You forgot the wild card... that's the film that pretends to be independent despite having a top director and a big cast. I think "Nine" might take the cake. It's been a while since the top honor went to a musical. What is it 7 years?
February 03, 2010
I also forgot that they nominated 10 filmes this year, so I didn't scroll all the way down the list. I was surprised to see that PRECIOUS hadn't been nominated. We ll it has, as has Clooney's film. I just didn't go down far enough. Is NINE on the list? I didn't notice it although I did see a couple films there I didn't recognize.
February 03, 2010
No, actually "Nine" didn't get a best pic nomination. That actually surprises me. Usually any film with Daniel Day-Lewis in it is a shoe-in for best picture.
February 03, 2010
Good. I mean good because I didn't think I remembered seeing anything with that sort of a title on the list, and I had just checked it only a minute or two before. You know, I made a joke here earlier and you didn't even notice. I said maybe we had already seen Cronenberg's idea of comedy and we just didn't recognize it. I thought that was pretty funny.
February 03, 2010
Not so much, because that's probably the truth. I think that "The Fly" might have been it. After all, it was produced by Mel Brooks.
February 03, 2010
It did have some funny moments in it, but not exactly Mel Brooks funny. I guess they balanced each other out. And I still think it was a funny thing to say when you think about Cronenberg, whether it's true or not.
 
October 08, 2009
What ever happened to coffee and donuts?  I guess coffee doesn't do as well as blood in a horror movie :P
October 08, 2009
Well maybe you can have coffe with the cream filled donuts and blood with the jelly ones.
 
March 02, 2009
It sure is Woop! And to think that I only spent the $1.99 to buy it because I was collecting box art at the time. I sure hope they get around to a dvd release on this one. My vcrs won't last forever...or do you mean the tasty combo of blood and donuts?
 
March 02, 2009
I see what you mean Trashie. I wonder how that happened?
 
March 02, 2009
Blood and Donuts is just ssooo freakin' good!
 
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karen ()
Ranked #22
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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This completely original vampire comedy was directed by Holly Dale and written by Andrew Rai Berzins.  Berzins received one of the film's 3 Genie Award nominations for his work on it. (The Genies are the Canadian equivalent of our Academy Awards.) The other two nominations the film received were for costume design and Best Actress which went to Helene Clarkson.  The cast included: Gordon Currie,  Justin Louis, Helene Clarkson, Fiona Reid, Frank Moore, Hadley Kay, and  director David Cronenberg in a small part as a gang boss.
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Genre: Horror

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