If you’re a fan of B-movie schlock, the recently released Attack of the Killer Donuts is keeping up the spirit of it’s direct inspiration, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and the Troma canon.
Directed by Scott Wheeler, a visual effects producer and director for movies like Sharknado 5, Transmorphers: Fall of Man, Avalanche Sharks and more, Attack of the Killer Donuts finds a small town in California under siege when a reanimation serum ends up in the fryer of Dandy Donuts and unleashes vicious donuts with teeth on the unsuspecting customers. Dandy employees John (Justin Ray) and Michelle (Kayla Compton) eventually become the only ones who can save the town along with John’s Uncle Luther (Michael Swan), a literal mad scientist who created the serum, and Howard (Ben Heyman), John’s best friend who is also secretly dating John’s mom. There’s a whole crazy cast of side characters who slide in and out of the movie as well, including a pair of cops, Rogers and Hammerstein, played by C. Thomas Howell and Frederick Burns respectively. It actually feels like for at least half of the movie that it’s not some wacky, disgusting Troma homage but more like Clerks, where John and Michelle deal with their terrible job at the donut shop and the weird regulars who come in and it’s a bit strange that it’s almost 45 minutes before they even realize there are killer donuts running around but it does click into some fun craziness once they figure out what is going on and start fighting donuts flying at them with tennis rackets, hockey sticks, pots and pans and whatever else they can find.
One of the most surprising things about Killer Donuts is that the cast is actually likeable and seem to be in on the joke, which makes the movie as a whole more fun than the typical B-movie homage where you don’t care about anything besides the few moments of hilarious terrible insanity. John and Michelle are both great protagonists despite having a somewhat cliche plot of John being oblivious that his gorgeous, awesome friend is into him as he pines for gold digging blonde bimbo Veronica (Lauren Elise). On top of adding some name recognition, C. Thomas Howell is a ton of fun as well as the aggressively stupid Officer Rogers, who keeps getting his partner into worse and worse situations. Most of the rest of the cast are basically cartoon characters but it fits the tone and delivers some fun deaths as they get eaten by donuts. There’s lots of bodily fluids on display, especially if someone actually eats one of the tainted donuts as they suffer some brutal and disgusting digestion problems as a result. It’s actually not as hilariously disgusting as you might expect however and there wasn’t one particularly crazy or memorable death that stood out. I did appreciate that there were some practical Killer Donuts in the mix and they have a fun, simple design of just lining the donut hole with fangs but most of the donut action, when they aren’t being flung from off camera, is CG.
If you’re a fan of Troma and the schlock they’ve inspired, definitely check out Attack of the Killer Donuts. The premise is ridiculous and there’s some fun, gooey deaths but it also has a surprisingly good cast and a level of care and thought that is missing from a lot of movies trying to ape that 80’s schlocky feel. It’s out in limited theaters and On Demand right now.
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