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Motion Picture Purgatory: CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (1970)

Before he became Canada’s undisputed king of body horror, David Cronenberg kickstarted his career with a series of short films shot around his hometown of Toronto. Perhaps his best of these earlier shorts, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is a 63-minute dystopian, antiseptic effort that anticipates many of the themes that crop up in his later work, including bizarre institutions, sexual fetishes, and icky science fiction ideas focused on fantastic iterations of the human body. An early landmark in Canadian genre cinema, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE gets the Rick Trembles Motion Picture Purgatory treatment this month. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: SINS OF THE FATHERS (1948)

Thought lost for three decades, the pioneering 1948 “clap opera” SINS OF THE FATHERS is a Montreal-lensed sensation that reportedly caused long lines and fainting on release, as documented by Rick Trembles for his latest Motion Picture Purgatory. Though many of the U.S. exploitation films on the topic focused on the plight of the VD-stricken saps whose lives appear ruined in an instant of passion, this one spends more time with a crusading Canadian doc who fights the corrupt politicians standing in the way of thorough and frank sexual education for the local population. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: SCANNER COP (1994)

If we were to ask you to identify Canada’s longest-running genre franchise, answers would likely touch on the surprising longevity of series like PROM NIGHT, TIGER CLAWS or even MEATBALLS, but the crown actually belongs to SCANNERS, the horror/sci-fi hybrid helmed by favourite son David Cronenberg. Since the rights stayed with producer Pierre David, Cronenberg wasn’t involved in the sequels to his memorable original work, which allowed the franchise to spin off into all kinds of strange directions, as noted in this month’s column by Rick Trembles‘ latest Motion Picture Purgatory. After SCANNERS II and SCANNERS III hit video store shelves, the idea was spun off into 1994’s SCANNER COP, which also spawned a sequel (that’s four in total, if you’re counting). Perhaps the best of these sequels, SCANNER COP has more splattery FX than previous entries as it lurches towards the inevitable psychic showdown. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: THE WOMAN INSIDE (1981)

Exploitation movies have had an interest in transgender individuals and gender reassignment surgery dates back at least to Ed Wood and his groundbreaking docudrama GLEN OR GLENDA?, based, at least in part, on the Christine Jorgensen case. As uncovered by Rick Trembles‘ latest Motion Picture Purgatory, the subject was still being mined in the 1980s when this rarely seen, U.S./Canada co-production hit theatres. Starring aging Hollywood talent including Joan Blondell, Dane Clark, Joe E. Ross and Jackie Vernon, it’s a low budget, melodramatic effort that at least tries to sensitively handle pertinent issues for its era. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1979)

A film milestone created by a cinematic visionary, THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1935) is a brilliant British-produced work about futurism and revolutionary politics. Forty years later, Canada started work on a loose remake with Jack Palance and dumb robots. Guess which is the subject of Rick Trembles’ Motion Picture Purgatory this month? Rick sez:

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