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Blood & Donuts (1995)
Rated R

Starring: Gordon Currie, Justin Louis, and Helene Clarkson

Rating:
****
out of
*****

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 a Vampire. 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.

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 place.

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.

Trivia: Helene 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)

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