Blood and Donuts is a vampire film from the 90’s. It was an independent film that has a bit of a cult following; well at least in Canada. The film is somewhat dated with the special effects but it has a fairly simple story and clever camera effects.
A vampire, Boya, accidentally wakes up from a 26-year slumber in an abandoned stockyard in the Toronto West End. The vampire with his long grown-out hair and nails picks up a taxi to go to the closest hotel around. Boya hunts for rats instead of people. He tries adjusting to modern life by going to the only thing open at night, a donut shop. He develops a friendship with an odd night owl taxi driver, Earl, entangled with the mafia and a young donut shop worker, Molly, whom he develops romantic feelings for. Boya meets up with his ex-girlfriend, Rita, from the 1960s who holds a grudge and a connection. Boya saves Earl from mafia thugs while contemplating life has a vampire.
The film stars Gordon Currie whose known in many horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and frequently guest stars on many television shows. The actor is handsome when he is not covered in raggedy clothes and messed up ratty curly with a windblown toupee stapled on it. The film has a memorable scene with vampire Boya giving his telepathic influence on Molly at night while he is in the bathtub that is seen on a lot of advertising on the box cover of the DVD. It’s not explained why he doesn’t drink human blood but he had an ex-girlfriend who shows him a scar on her neck when he once did drink human blood. He states would rather die than drink human blood again. Blood to him is an addiction. He tries to adjust to life but his vampiric urges overpower him. He seems gloomy and remorseful all the time for all of his actions but a nice guy whose a jerk.
Louis Ferreira plays Earl the taxi driver who visits 24-hour donut shops only at night. In this film, he was billed as Justin Louis. I frequently see him in some movies and on a mid 90s television show similar to Early Edition called Daily Edition. The actor has a weird accent for the character Earl which sounds like a combination of the Italian and Transylvanian accents. It’s interesting and not distracting. It’s interesting to watch Earl contemplate his thoughts out loud like he’s usually alone. He hangs out at his ex-girlfriend Molly’s donut shop trying to woo her back in his life. He makes a terrible deal with the mafia owing them a lot of money which is why they are after him and in need of saving.
The donut shop girl is a bit of a minor character with all the things that are happening in the film but she still has a notable role. Helene Clarkson is Molly who is a mousy, bookaholic shop girl that reads a lot of medical, philosophy and psychology books on the job. The medical book knowledge comes to practice when she has to jump-start a heart with jumper cables which is still to this today and to me wonky science fluff just for the movie. She is a character that uses a lot of her care and intellect without being portrayed as a sex object like how most young women in vampire films were portrayed.
Notably the mafia boss was played by David Cronenberg. The character is only known as the Crime Boss or Boss in the film. He has no name, for some reason. He has an odd calm whispering style of being intimidating. He intimidates his small crew with words and threats than brut force.
The camera tricks they use to give Boya vampire powers were some clever angles, for instance, having the camera to do the actions in the view of the vampire like jumping or flying instead of the actor seen on camera flying with harnesses. Some of the best scenes are of Boya crawling on the ground hunting for rats with the camera tracking him an inch close to his face to the pray on the large rat like Boya was a weird oversized cat.
The special effects are dated. The electrical lights are just thick blue squiggly lines glowing all over the subject’s body. Not really state of the art back then but really distracting nowadays to view now.
This film has a lot of good practical effects. The makeup they use on Boya when he uses his vampire face with the grey skin and bulging red eyes is exactly the kind of vampire that you want to see in a vampire movie even if he’s sensitive and introspective. He had greyish-blue skinned with big red bulging eyes with plausibility big sharp vampire teeth. When Boya is out in the sun, the actor has some sort of smoke machine on his back but it works has a good practical effect.
The backdrop of the story is in the Toronto West End in the old stockyard possibly in the Liberty Village area before it went through gentrification with coffee shops, condos and hotels being built and developed. The whole area at the time was covered in old buildings from the early 1900s filled with industrial warehousing. *Perfect place to find an old vampire (*sarcasm.) The donut shop is this draby take on a Tim Horton’s coffee and donut shop just without the commercialized clean look. The pastries are hanging on a wire tray on the wall always looking like it’s going to fall off the wall and take some of the wall, too.
Oddly the movie trailer and movie stating the length of time is wrong with the movie trailer stating 27 years and the movie stating 25 years. But that could be about Rita searching for him for 25 years. Even though the film clips at the beginning of the film state it was since 1969 with clips of the moon landing and the film taking place in 1995.
The overall look of the film was quirky. The story is just a different take in the sexy lonely vampire tale that was popular at the time. Movies like Near Dark, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Innocent Blood have a person out of time who is also a vampire readjusting to modern life. The humour is more in the situation and setup to the joke with the characters and not really in any slapstick.
The film was directed by Holly Dale has her first feature film before directing television shows like Dexter, Cold Case, Flashpoint and Mary Kills People later on in her career.
The film is a twenty-seven years old Canadian produced independent film. The film looks like it had a grant from the Canadian Film Centre therefore it may be searchable for purchase online on their website or in stores depending on your area. The film doesn’t have a real distinctive Canadian story but a short simple vampiric one. The film is streamable through Amazon Prime. The francophone title to this movie is Cœur de Vampire (Vampire Heart).
The horror and gore in the movie are very little shown on-screen. Especially compared to other counterparts of horror like Ginger Snaps, Black Christmas and My Bloody Valentine. This could be because of budget or Boya becoming more introspective throughout the film. As a vampire film, it’s not disappointing in showing the amount of gore and blood when the scene needs it. The film has some violent scenes without being a violent film. The scares are very so-so while the lore of the vampire is respected.
Duration: 90 minutes
Three and a half out of five stars