Vampire movies have always
walked that fine line that Spinal Tap mentioned. You know, that fine line
between clever and stupid. Stupid usually translates
into big box office, ala Bram Stoker's Dracula or Interview with
Clever translates into obscurity, ala Near Dark or Fright Night. No vampire
film has ever so delicately balanced between the two as Blood & Donuts does. It's cleverly stupid. Unfortunately, in the success department, it was
apparently much too clever.
& Donuts (1995)
Starring: Gordon Currie, Justin Louis, and
The film opens with a the line, "In 1969, man walked on the moon...and
Boya crawled into a bag." Boya (Gordon Currie) is awakened from his nearly
30 year slumber by an errant golf ball, hit through a window of the building
he's sleeping in. A beautician named Rita (Fiona Reed) suddenly gets a shiver
down her spine. Boya travels to a local cemetery, where he's buried his personal
things, such as an accordion and some money. He takes a cab to the cemetery
and, in doing so, meets Earl (Justin Louis), a cabbie with an accent I can't
Rita, the beautician, was Boya's girlfriend in 1969. He apparently got carried
away and bit her, almost transforming her into a vampire. Boya's one of those
rare vampires with a conscience and stopped before he could actually finish
the job. He didn't want to curse her with immortality. Now, nearly 30 years
later, Boya still looks young and Rita has reached middle age and she wants
him to finish the job before she ages any further.
Boya, however, is also contending
with the problems that apparently arise when one sleeps for nearly 30 years.
His body is stiff and he's constantly
popping things back into place and trying to loosen up. He's also, of course,
thirsty. He holes up in a local run-down hotel, feasts on a rat, and then ventures
to the donut shop across the street. There, he meets up with Molly (Helene
Clarkson), a lovely and smart waitress, who is taken by his odd behavior. Earl,
the cabbie, also hangs out at the donut shop. He's being pursued by two thugs
who are after him for something not quite explained. Boya intervenes in Earl's
situation and so begins a series of events that make up the bulk of Blood & Donuts'
89 minute running time.
This is definitely not your typical vampire movie. It is not even a typical
independent movie. It was made in Canada and, typically, it has a slightly
odd -- but wholly agreeable -- demeanor. It's quirky, fun, slightly amateurish,
but thoroughly enjoyable.
Gordon Currie's Boya is sexy, clumsy, and haunting. Justin Louis brings a
perfect blend of humor and pathos to Earl's character. Helene Clarkson's Molly
is beautiful, witty and deserving of the attention she receives from Earl and
Boya. David Cronenberg, the director and producer of films like eXistenZ and
Videodrome, even drops in for a cameo as a slimy crime boss. His performance
is the icing on the cake.
If Blood & Donuts was an American film, it probably would have concentrated
on Rita's pursuit of Boya and been turned into a bad "lost love" movie.
As it is, it's unique and stylish (in a low-rent sort of way) and definitely
worth hunting for if you're into vampire films.
Clarkson received a Genie Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress
in a Leading Role in 1996 for her work in Blood & Donuts. The Genie
Award is the main national film award in Canada. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)