The term “creature feature” used label almost all horror movies. The term began to describe television show formats geared towards horror from the ’30s to the ’50s. At the time, the horror genre was mostly made up of fantastic monsters brought to life by folklore, space, or nuclear weapons. Think Dracula, The Mummy, King Kong, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. As horror evolved, “creature feature” became its own sub-genre in horror, still focused on big, ridiculous monsters. That sub-genre could then be split into two sub-genres of its own: the horrifying creature feature like the Alien series and John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the ridiculous creature feature that generates more laughs than scares like Ghoulies, Gremlins, Critters, and Munchies.
I think it’s safe to say that Attack of the Killer Donuts falls into the ridiculous sub-genre.
The plot to Attack of the Killer Donuts is as predictable as you would expect. Johnny Wentworth (played by Justin Ray) is a small town loser who lives with his mom (played by Kassandra Voyagis), works at a donut shop, and gives all his money to his hot, not-girlfriend, Veronica (played by Lauren Compton). When his mad scientist uncle Luther (played by Michael Swan) develops a serum to reanimate the dead, it accidentally goes flying into the donut fryer, causing donuts to come to life and kill anyone they come in contact with. It will take Johnny, his uncle, his co-worker Michelle (played by Kayla Compton), and his best friend Howard (played by Ben Heyman) to fight off the killer donuts and bring peace back to their town.
At best, Attack of the Killer Donuts knows what it is: a campy, B-movie. The effects are almost all CGI, with the exception of a few close-ups of the donuts. As ugly and hilariously bad-looking the donuts are, they are the highlight of the film whether they are killing someone in a shower after a bite has been taken after them, driving a police car, and flying around in a CGI tornado. It’s not scary, but it’s not meant to be. It reminds me most of Gremlins and Munchies: it has heart in its horror comedy. It just so happens that the effects of those two films, hailing from the ’80s, are better than a film made almost 30 years later.
While Attack of the Killer Donuts is usually hilariously bad, it suffers from “too much.” Farts and an extreme bowel movement are funny, but a CGI toxic cloud can be a little too much only because it’s really bad CGI. Fighting flying donuts off with pots and butcher knives can be funny, but only for the first 15 seconds, not for over 2 minutes using the same take on a loop. Could it have been better with decent acting? Maybe, but the over the top, campy acting is part of the charm of B-movies.
Is Attack of the Killer Donuts worth watching? Sure, but it isn’t a rewatchable horror comedy that makes films like it cult classics.