Blood & Donuts (1995)

(On DVD, June 2009): The most frustrating thing about this low-budget Canadian horror film shot and set in Toronto is how uneven it is: Too often settling for a muddy drama somehow featuring a vampire protagonist, it occasionally flickers brightly with a moment of interest, only to fade again. It’s self-consciously ridiculous (David Cronenberg plays a local mob boss with boot-scratching gusto), and yet it also tries to have it both ways as a character study, especially near the unsatisfying ending. (Here’s a hint: Don’t try make us go “Oooh nooo he’s dead” over the film’s most annoying character.) But what do I know? The film was nominated for a bunch of Genies, including for the Best Screenplay award. It’s a bit of a shame to see that lead Helene Clarkson’s IMDB filmography tapered off shortly after this film, because her charm is one of the things holding the rest of the film together. Otherwise, well, fans of Canadian horror will fill a big hole in their cinematography by watching this, and fans of unusual vampire films may as well give it a look.

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