Attack of the Killer Donuts
A chemical accident turns ordinary donuts into blood thirsty killers. Now it's up to Johnny, Michelle and Howard to save their sleepy town from...Killer Donuts.
Chris De Christopher
Rafael Diaz Wagner
C. Thomas Howell
It delivers what it promises.
Attack of the Killer Donuts is a new horror/comedy now available on select VOD outlets.
There’s definitely some inspiration pulled from Joe Dante’s Gremlins, an ‘80s goofy sensibility straight out of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and even a sequence seemingly inspired by Savage Steve Holland’s Better Off Dead.
The film is a good time, but after initial introductions, it begins to weigh heavily on one’s patience. This is a fun and ridiculous idea, but definitely feels as though a feature length adventure is just too much. A short film format would have been right on the money.
Too much of a “so good it’s bad” thing? Perhaps.
Hunky but nerdy high school student Johnny (Justin Ray) is obsessed with his skanky and money-grubbing girlfriend Veronica (Lauren Compton). His job is at a sad, rundown donut shop, where he works with one of his childhood friends, the ever-pining for his attentions Michelle (Kayla Compton). Johnny’s mad-scientist uncle Luther (Michael Swan), who lives in the family basement – apparently has “perfected” his formula for a re-animating agent intended for the dead. And following some mishaps over a computer – the green ooze ends up in the deep fryer at the donut shop. Several miscellaneous customers – including Johnny’s best friend Howard (Ben Heyman – who looks like he could be Seth Rogen’s younger brother) become involved in what will become a fight to the death, when the ooze turns the donuts into man-eating, flesh-hungry sugar snacks.
I give ultimate kudos to the actors in the film. They all perfectly understood what kind of film they were in, and thus suited their performances to just the right amount of broad kookiness. No one took things too seriously, and clearly they were directed that way.
Nothing is more irksome than to see a film like this, and find that one lone actor who doesn’t quite understand what the project is all about (Tara Reid in Sharknado is the perfect example).
Prolific character actor Michael Swan pretty much steals the show as Uncle Luther. Again, he’s doing some serious Re-Animator-type experiments, and that is what creates these blood-thirsty mutant donuts. Like everyone else, he gets what is expected of him as an actor in a role like this, and it makes for a fun supporting turn.
Initially, I couldn’t figure out why I knew him, but when I checked his IMDb, I realized he’s one of the police officers helping out at Camp Crystal Lake (excuse me, Camp Forest Green) in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part 6. You can thank me now for saving you the time to look up that tidbit.
C. Thomas Howell appears as one of two bumbling police officers involved in the wackiness (it’s a movie about donuts, so there had to be some cops somewhere in the mix). It’s nice to see him still working, but with some impressive past credits, I can’t help but feel a bit down that he’s been reduced to this tacky (but sometimes fun) pastry nonsense. But it seems as though he’s having a good time, so what do I know?
The hordes of killer donuts and their squeaking and giggly jibberish will no doubt remind you of our beloved Gremlins. The comparisons don’t end there, however. With some of the donuts being “birthed” out of a deep fryer, you’ll remember the swimming pool sequence in the original Gremlins. And there’s even a call-out to the memorable microwave sequence of that 1984 film as a donut is dispatched with this convenient “must-have” in anyone’s kitchen.
The cheesy (cheese danish?) visual effects of the violent donuts is just what you’d expect. You won’t buy it for a moment, but in the world this film has created – it’s all good.
As is the case in films of this ilk, there’s a wrap-up with the two love interests – showing that after all of the chaos and blood-letting, that things are gonna be okay, certainly in their newly-discovered love. And then there’s the open-ended promise of a sequel. They couldn’t have gotten all of the donuts, right?
But even in a cheese-ball fest like this, I was taken aback by how long this little wrap-up was. Normally something like this is an honest-to-goodness epilogue to tie up any loose ends – lasting a matter of moments. But this scene went on for a good 10 minutes, with at least a dozen spots worthy of calling it quits, before panning over to see the squishy gremlin (excuse me, donut) waiting to cause more craziness. The ongoing scene felt awkward and was possibly an attempt to extend the film’s run-time. Filler — of the jelly variety? Maybe.
While watching the film, you’ll probably have the exact same thought as I did… this must have been a total blast to shoot.
With any of the practical effects donut attacks, you can tell that donuts (probably foam stand-ins) were being hurled at the actors from every angle. At one point, they are rolling down an open road, apparently after a speeding car. And the absurdity of this must have been a great deal of fun to actually be a part of.
Of course, many of the marauding donuts were clearly added in post-production. I guess the flailing of arms and legs while nothing was actually there, might have turned out to be just as entertainingly absurd on set.
The problem is that what was seemingly a hoot of a good time for the filmmakers and actors, doesn’t necessarily translate to the best of times for an audience.
While it’s a fun idea, carried out with just the right amount of goofiness and an understanding of exactly what their film is all about, the minds behind Attack of the Killer Donuts almost made it work. But there’s too much frosting-filled chaos – and frankly, empty calories – to fill out an entire feature length movie.
The film is now available on select VOD outlets.