The VHS days: devouring Blood & Donuts in a Paperhouse

Here are two rather obscure films—one from 88, one from 95—that don’t quite hit the mark as horror movies for me, but both probably have a sort of cult following at this point.

PAPERHOUSE (1988)

Before Candyman, director Bernard Rose brought us this film that is essentially a fantasy movie with one good horror sequence. We carried it in the video store I worked at in those days, but despite it having a creepy cover (the eyes remind me of Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist), all I remembered about watching it back then is, well, that I watched it back then.

Revisiting it now, I can see why I didn’t retain it; all but one darkly frightening part is a sort of child’s fantasy movie. A young schoolgirl—and major brat—falls ill and begins drawing images of a house.

She starts visiting that house in her dreams and discovers that whatever she draws into her picture becomes a reality in the house, most notably a young boy she draws in the window.

They strike up a friendship, which is all pretty boring for me as it leads to the film’s major point. The young girl’s father is MIA, she wants him back in her life, and she wants him to rescue the little boy from the house. So she draws him into the photo.

Unfortunately, her drawing sucks, because she unleashes the best part of the film—a ghoulish version of her father, who chases her and the little boy around with a hammer.

This predominantly plodding film gets this one injection of intensity, and it’s a goody. The father is shockingly brutal on his daughter in this scene, considering the rest of the film is like a family fairy tale. It’s really not my kind of movie at all, but now that I’ve blogged about it, at least I’ll be able to remember it a little more if I ever need a refresher.

BLOOD & DONUTS (1995)

Having never carried this one at the video store I worked at back then, I had never even heard of it until I found it on Prime. After watching it I can say not even 90s nostalgia is strong enough to make me want it in my collection.

What I like about it:

The soundtrack includes a mix of (from a GenXer perspective) oldies like “Blue Moon”, “Mr. Sandman”, “Twilight Time”, and “I put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, as well as songs from 1990s alternative bands like Concrete Blonde and Nash the Slash.

Also, the cast includes Gordon Currie (Terror Within II, Jason Takes Manhattan, Puppet Master 4&5, The Fear: Halloween Night, The Woods) as the vampire, Louis Ferreira (Prom Night II, Naked Lunch, Dawn of the Dead remake, Saw IV) as his roommate, and David Cronenberg as a crime boss.

That’s where the fun ends for me.

This mid-90s horror (supposedly dark comedy as well…) is a drab, dreary, boring mess (aka: mid-90s horror) about a dormant vampire that is awakened from a basement by a golf ball, falls for the local doughnut store clerk, is tracked down by a jealous woman from the last time he was awake, befriends a taxi driver he has to protect from mobsters, and…I don’t know what. This agonizing film goes nowhere slow.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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