by Samantha Reeve, from the Great White North
Think of vampires portrayed in films, and you’ll likely picture the suave, sexy kind that seduce their victims. It’s hard not to – Hollywood has been churning out these handsome bloodsuckers since Bela Lugosi‘s charming Dracula hit the screens in 1931. Though less common, the reluctant vampire is one we’ve even seen before. But one who’s also shy and socially awkward? This is what makes Boya’s character in the 1995 Canadian horror-comedy Blood & Donuts the rarest breed of all.
Having crawled into a bag for hibernation back in ’69, Boya is awakened when a golfer’s stray ball knocks down the shack it was stored in. He jumps into a nearby taxi and asks to be taken to a local cemetery, where he digs up his belongings, and then wanders off the find a room to rent. Meanwhile the taxi driver, Earl, is back at his favourite donut shop, but has been getting harassed by some local thugs. Boya ends up at the donut shop by chance and is able to intervene, saving Earl from a beating with his vampiric strength and agility. He quickly befriends and falls for Molly, the beautiful waitress, and thus begins his involvement in both humans’ troubles.
Devoid of the major laughs or scares you’d find in most horror-comedies, Blood and Donuts is a subtler (but still an enjoyable and unique) take on the genre. It’s lighthearted and filled with characters you can root for – one’s you love even though most of the actors gave pretty poor performances. The few scenes where Boya gets mad and transforms into a terrifying vampire are great, and the campy quality of the rest of the film keeps the ball rolling. Horror fans will also enjoy the cameo appearance of the legendary David Cronenberg, who plays the crime boss.
Though frequently forgotten on many “best Canadian horror” lists, in my books Blood and Donuts is a must-see for those with a penchant for either Canadian horror or 90’s cult comedies.