Motion Picture Purgatory: HOSTILE TAKEOVER (1988)

Another perk of working at home during the pandemic? No opportunity to be held hostage by your co-workers! That’s the situation in George Mihalka’s HOSTILE TAKEOVER (aka OFFICE PARTY), a minimalist thriller in which a disgruntled accountant takes three fellow white-collar workers hostage for vague reasons. Largely taking place on one boring office set over the course of one evening, the film is a sleazy character piece of sorts in which relationships are formed and destroyed–just like in a real office! Rick Trembles takes a look at this forgotten Canadian entry as part of his ongoing Motion Picture Purgatory series. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: FUN (1994)

Though best known for his Canadian sex comedies like SCREWBALLS, RECRUITS and STATE PARK, director Rafal Zielinski started to move on from raunchier fare as the 1990s dawned. One of the most interesting Canuck films he made from this period is the rarely screened FUN, a teen lesbian killer thriller that oozes with 1990s excess. Rick Trembles takes a look as part of his ongoing Motion Picture Purgatory series:


Motion Picture Purgatory: JULIE DARLING (1982)

If ongoing lockdowns aren’t enough to keep you bummed out, here’s something that’s bound to take any lingering spring optimism down a few levels. One of the gnarliest late tax shelter outings, 1982’s JULIE DARLING is an uncomfortably nihilistic co-production starring exploitation queen Sybil Danning in a tale of forbidden lust and murder. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick Trembles takes a look at this debased gem. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: TICKET TO HEAVEN (1981)

There’s cult movies, and then there’s CULT movies, if you know what I mean. Ralph L. Thomas’ fascinating and often intense peek inside the indoctrination rituals of religious cults was based on the non-fiction book exposé Moonwebs, which was about the San Francisco-based Moonies. Nick Mancuo leads a cast of young Canadians at the very end of the tax shelter era, and puts in perhaps a career-high performance as the susceptible David, a good ol’ Toronto boy who seems unable to escape the cult’s clutches. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick Trembles takes a look at this wild “cult” curio. Rick sez:


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.

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