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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:

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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:

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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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Motion Picture Purgatory: MAHONEY’S LAST STAND (1972)

Probably best known for its soundtrack and lurid poster, MAHONEY’S LAST STAND is a bizarre and rarely seen Canadian cult drama from the dawn of the tax shelter era. Alexis Kanner’s eccentric back-to-nature feature is a vanity project of sorts that doesn’t drift too far from the Canadian “loser” narratives of the 1970s, as it tells the darkly comic story of a big city drop-out who decides to focus on planting peas and raising chickens, much to the surprise and scorn of his friends and family. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick uncovers this almost-forgotten slice of Canadiana that was only barely released back in the ’70s and remains largely MIA today. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: PROJECT: SHADOWCHASER (1992)

In the 1990s, Canadian genre directors got good at making action films and sci-fi films, but they rarely combined them in a particularly satisfying way. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick looks at one of the few successes–okay, relative successes–1992’s direct-to-video classic PROJECT: SHADOWCHASER. Aping the big blockbuster conventions of the day, this Vancouver-shot effort from Lloyd A. Simandl associate John Eyres features machine guns, terrorists, and unstoppable robots in a story that wields genre cliches like twin Uzis ready to mow down interchangeable henchmen. As Romulus, the carefully coiffed villain of the piece, star Frank Zagarino somehow returned for three (count ’em) SHADOWCHASER sequels, making it a signature role. Rick sez:

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