Now Streaming: Winnipeg Obscurity SMOKED LIZARD LIPS (1991)

Canxuploitation contributor Patrick Lowe dropped us a line to advise us that you can now screen the once-lost Winnipeg political satire SMOKED LIZARD LIPS (1991):

Heads up! Finally being released after 30 years, SMOKED LIZARD LIPS is Canada’s answer to ISHTAR! Yes, quirky, colourful, but bizarre political comedy from the wild and wacky Winnipeg Film Group, who gave the world John Paizs’s CRIME WAVE and Guy Maddin’s many cult favourites. Written, directed and produced by the infamous “Boke” poet/auteur M.B Duggan, this zany feature follows the madcap exploits of an insane Central American dictator, Sauria, who seeks asylum and relocates to the northern hamlet of Nuscht, Manitoba. Once there, the good citizens bend over backwards to accommodate their newly arrived despot, only to fall prey to his evil schemes to turn the small town into an independent nation. Needless to say, the comic shenanigans take on a dark turn, as the film takes satirical aim at Third World Tyranny and the death of small town Canadiana. Even weirder is Duggan’s own mis-en-scene as he frames and edits even the lightest comic material in an unsettling, avant-garde style, at times suggesting Michael Snow directing an episode of Petticoat Junction. Yet despite this, the film boasts an excellent cast, including Simon Magana as the mad Sauria, and Andree Pelletier (Les Males) as Carmen, the leader’s winsome wife. So while the feature was a flop upon release, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Zellco Entertainment, there may be a new audience eager to exhume this once-buried, Faustian comedy, which still packs a lot of relevant wallop in today’s current age of Uber-corruption. Check it out!

Screen the film here, and check out Patrick’s video introduction, in which he explains more about this no-longer-lost classic.


Motion Picture Purgatory: POSSESSION (1987)

Żuławski who? The Canadian-lensed Oedipal slasher POSSESSION: UNTIL DEATH DO YOU PART (1987) was part of the tax shelter’s last gasp, a sleazy concoction from frequent collaborators Michael Mazo and Lloyd Simandl. Perhaps better known for their post-apocalyptic EMPIRE OF ASH films, this earlier entry by the duo features an impressive number of shower scenes and an even bigger body count. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick Trembles takes a look at this forgotten slasher that’s sure to please fans of (male) strip bars and remote backwoods cabin settings. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: THE INTRUDER (1981)

Let’s kick off the new year with 1981’s THE INTRUDER, a confusing allegorical regional horror(?) film about magicians and people who glow blue for some reason. In his first Motion Picture Purgatory of 2021, Rick Trembles dives into this uncategorizable Brantford, Ontario-shot tax shelter oddity that is perhaps more interesting for its detailed depiction of Canadian small town life than anything it is struggling to say about humanity. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: DEATH WISH V (1994)

Toronto’s streets were buzzing with the news in 1994– Paul Kersey was back! The violent vigilante character first portrayed in 1972’s revenge classic DEATH WISH had already been resurrected by Cannon Films in the 1980s for a trio of sequels, and was now set for a second, briefer resurgence north of the border. DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH had Canadian genre veteran Damien Lee taking the reigns of the franchise and putting Charles Bronson–then 72(!)–through his final appearance as the iconic character. While many critics noted the increasingly cartoonish direction of the series, the fifth instalment was perhaps the most ridiculous, as Rick Trembles discovered in his latest Motion Picture Purgatory. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: GRAVEYARD SHIFT II (1988)

At the tail-end of the tax shelter era, star Michael A. Miranda reteamed with director Jerry Ciccoritti for a follow-up to their earlier direct-to-video hit GRAVEYARD SHIFT (1987). Despite this, THE UNDERSTUDY: GRAVEYARD SHIFT II shares little with its predecessor, ditching the vampire cab driver story for a self-referential tale about making a low budget horror movie. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick Trembles chalks up his cue and sinks this strange sequel. Rick sez:

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