The '80s brought us a horde of gruesome and over the top B-movies that eventually became cult classics: Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Re-Animator, and perhaps the greatest of them all, Evil Dead.
Three decades later, that gleeful spirit of crafting outlandish, low-budget horror-comedy movies full of dumb fun is alive and well — at Florida Supercon, at least.
Attack of the Killer Donuts, premiering at Supercon tonight, is a movie about, well, killer donuts. They come to life after being changed by a chemical accident, turning the tables on humanity by chomping away at their flesh the way a fat kid tears through
It’s the brainchild of a couple of Miami natives, producing partners Nicole Saad and Rafael Diaz-Wagner, friends since their days at FIU. Both have worked in the business before, but this is the first film that is completely theirs.
Shot in Los Angeles, AOTKD was directed by Scott Wheeler, who also served as the special effects supervisor and is currently working on a film called Planet Shark. (That film covers familiar territory for Wheeler, who did all the B-roll for the Sharknado film series.)
Although AOTKD was made for under a half-million dollars, it still promises plenty of laughs and even a few big-budget moments; one of the final explosive scenes was created by the same man who blew up the White House in the original Independence Day film.
The film’s co-producer and co-writer, Diaz-Wagner, is the Cuban-American filmmaker behind this weird and potentially wonderful take on bloodthirsty pastries. He's fully aware that Attack of the Killer Donuts is a silly-ass title for a movie, and his attitude indicates audiences shouldn’t take it too seriously.
“It’s like Gandhi, but with donuts,” he jokes.
The script for the film was written before Diaz-Wagner and his associates joined the project. When he read it, the filmmaker says, he envisioned it being precisely the sort of film he’d always wanted to make. He took inspiration from the 1984 classic Gremlins and its sequel, Gremlins 2, the latter of which expanded the chaos caused by the carnivorous green puppets.
“Just like Gremlins,” he explains, “if we can get a chance to do a [sequel], that’s where the shit’s really gonna hit the fan. If we have more budget, that’s where we’re really gonna go bonkers with this thing.”
Although Diaz-Wagner doesn’t consider himself “a horror movie guy,” he says there's a special place in his heart for comedy — especially comedy that’s not funny to people getting attacked by killer donuts. “I like that in the world of Donuts, this is serious for them, but everybody outside is in on the joke.”
The film, set to debut at tonight's Supercon opening night, is campy, but on purpose; it winks at the audience and that’s part of the charm. “There are a lot of inside jokes and quotes,” he says.
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Despite the obvious influence of the 1978 musical horror-comedy Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, there’s another franchise with a cult status that Diaz-Wagner envisions his movie might emulate.
“It’s a totally different movie, but [I imagine it becoming like] Rocky Horror Picture Show." The filmmaker says he envisions college kids dressing up for screenings and throwing donuts at the screen. "Like the review in the Hollywood Reporter says, it’s bound to be a drinking game.”
Attack of the Killer Donuts makes its debut at Florida Supercon Friday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m. Encore screenings will be on Saturday, July 2, at 8:45 p.m.; and Monday, July 4, at 5:15 p.m.