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Canuxploitation on DVD: Fall 2011 Preview

With the bottom of the Hollywood barrell well-scraped, 2011 has again been a stellar year for DVD re-releases of classic Canadian B-films–ALIEN THUNDER, DOGPOUND SHUFFLETHINGS and, finally, the long awaited RITUALS. But there’s still a handful of great releases planned this year, mostly from Code Red and Scorpion Releasing, who have dug deep to come up with some nice Canadian B-film gems. Here’s the first in a new regular series of columns highlighting upcoming DVD releases that you might want to add to your canuxploitation collection. Note that list of upcoming and recent DVDs on the sidebar is always maintained and updated with the latest announcements throughout the year. 

Coming Fall 2011

VISITING HOURS / BAD DREAMS (Shout! Factory)
Release Date: September 13
Read Our Review

Jean-Claude Lord’s hospital-set video nasty VISITING HOURS was originally released by Anchor Bay in 2006. This new version, which pairs the title with the American horror film BAD DREAMS (which I have not seen but is by all accounts not very good) is most likely a straight rerelease–there are still no bonus features included. If you haven’t seen this, you might want to check it out–especially if you like to see Michael Ironside go batshit insane. But Lord is a pretty underrated Canadian genre director who successfully worked himself into kind of a populist Cronenberg mold with a string of smart sci-fi films. This one–his only straight-up horror film–has its detractors but I’ve always enjoyed it.

HUMONGOUS (Scorpion Releasing)
Release Date: October 18
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I know people have been waiting for this one—Paul Lynch followed up his slasher classic PROM NIGHT with this 1982 creature feature about a hairy humanoid scaring teens on a deserted island in Northern Ontario. It’s never been on DVD before and–like RITUALS–the VHS tape releases were so dark during the film’s night scenes that it was often difficult to make out the action. As a result, HUMOUNGOUS is certainly the most anticipated Canadian title being released to DVD this fall. I actually think it’s better than PROM NIGHT and I know I’m not alone on that.

THE PYX (Scorpion Releasing)
Release Date: October 18
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Never really thought I’d see this one come out either–THE PYX has been on several grey market DVD releases as a (presumably) public domain film, but this marks its first respectable release. It’s a rather turgid film at times but I always enjoyed the bilingual approach it takes and fans of Karen Black will definitely want to give this one a look. 

VOODOO DOLLS / MADONNA: CASE OF BLOOD AMBITION (Code Red) 
Release Date: October 25

I haven’t seen (or reviewed) either of these films–both Montreal-shot thrillers originally released in 1990 that were both slated to be released as part of a cancelled Rareflix boxset from Media Blasters in 2009. VOODOO DOLLS is the main attraction here, a black magic/ghost story with lesbian elements directed by PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION writer and EAST END HUSTLE star Andrée Pelletier.  MADONNA: CASE OF BLONDE AMBITION, which I’d not even heard of before this release was announced, seems to be a misleading title for a revenge tale of a woman who kills jurors that convicted her father (Madonna’s “Blonde Ambition” tour happened the same year the film was released). Love the fact that the DVD cover has a brunette on it, too. Can’t say that either looks very good but it’s nice to see them come out finally.

THE CARPENTER (Scorpion Releasing)
Release Date: November 8
Read Our Review

Alright, now we’re talking! THE CARPENTER is a decent slasher horror effort with a good performance by good ol’ Wings Hauser as a ghostly handyman obsessed with completing work on his dream home, even if it means doing away with the clumsy contractors who are trying to renovate for the new owners.  THE CARPENTER is making its DVD debut but used to be a usesd VHS bin staple in Canada for many years. Though it came at the end of the 1980s slasher boom and largely escaped notice at the time of its release, I’m guessing many people are going to be pleasently surprised by the film’s playful tone and notable splatter.

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  1. Robert says:

    At a certain point you almost give up hope of seeing some of these films on DVD (or in any format, for that matter) so this past year has been more than just a pleasant surprise that so many nuggets from the 1970s and 1980s are pushing their way back into the light of the day in the 21st Century. Code Red and Scorpion Releasing both seem to at least be fans of Canuxploitation cinema. Now if we can just get the likes of SUDDEN FURY, THE SUPREME KID, SIEGE, SKIP TRACER, RIP-OFF, BETWEEN FRIENDS, THE ROWDYMAN, PAPERBACK HERO, PARTNERS and so many more of their cinematic kin out….