Horror Becomes Her - Blood & Donuts (1995)
Horror and films directed by women are both big blind spots for me, so I am taking this deep dive into some of the more outre films I have come across in my movie watching.
I didn’t quite know what to expect with Blood & Donuts, but what I got was a strong Jim Jarmusch sensibility. When I think of Jarmusch, I tend to think of filming largely at night (check), working-class characters (check), anachronistic songs like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell On You” (huge check). The similarities were almost distracting enough that I wanted to dismiss this movie, but Blood & Donuts has other merits. Probably its most unique aspect is its main character, a gentle vampire named Boya (Gordon Currie) who doesn’t want to hurt people. He subsists on rats and other small animals rather than kill people. Just taking out this expected constant threat of violence casts a whole different pall on this movie, and it becomes much more of a slice of life movie where you see Boya shyly court the sarcastic waitress Molly (Helene Clarkson) while befriending Earl (Justin Louis), the cabbie, who has the thickest Brooklyn accent I have ever heard.
I liked the movie best when it was mostly just Boya trying to adjust to life after being awakened by a golf ball crashing into where he was sleeping. It didn’t really need action, and the plot with Earl and the criminals that are after him (overseen by a crime boss played by David Cronenberg) isn’t ultimately necessary to have made this an interesting movie. Holly Dale doesn’t seem to have made too many narrative features that made much of an impact, but she clearly was onto something with this movie, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing her career develop, perhaps parallel to Jim Jarmusch, perhaps not.