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CanFilm Five: Cult Film Comix Artist Rick Trembles

“CanFilm Five” is the Canuxploitation blog’s ongoing guest column, which brings together prominent filmmakers, bloggers, critics and programmers to discuss their most loved offbeat Canadian films.

Rick Trembles’ critically acclaimed and always awesome hybrid comic strip/ movie criticism column Motion Picture Purgatory has been appearing every week in the Montreal Mirror since 1998 (after originating in the same pages with the paper’s inception in the ’80s). His unique work has been compiled and published as books by Fab Press (volume 1 & volume 2 are currently available).

Trembles also continues to make animated short films that occasionally tour the globe and to play in his 32-year-old post-punk band The American Devices. His more experimental comix work has been featured in numerous galleries and published internationally. The L.A. Times called him “a famous free thinker,” and Concordia University English Professor Marcie Frank featured Trembles in her chapter about comix for the book QUEER DIASPORAS (Duke University Press).

For this CanFilm Five, Rick offers his five favourite Canadian films that he has  featured in Motion Picture Purgatory. Click the thumbnail to see the full, comprehensive reviews on Rick’s site!

Rick sez: 

Not only does SWEET MOVIE (1975) have nostalgia-inducing footage of Montreal’s landmark Guaranteed Pure Milk tower that I used to frequently walk past, but full-frontal chocolate-covered split beaver from ’70s Quebec sex icon Carole Laure (at her confused counter-culture best), & Otto Muhl’s scatological “Cult of Infantilism” flailing about; who can resist such a banned oddity?

STRANGE SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM (1976) includes Carole Laure again at her peak in a demented show-stopping sex-and-violence climax, & one of the most riveting, gritty car chase sequences ever, shot through the same grimy streets of 70’s Montreal (sans permit) I remember growing up around, so this one particularly hits a nerve with me.

(THE BIG) CRIME WAVE (1985) has to be one of the most underrated dark comedies made anywhere let alone Canada, a disturbing contemplation on the creative process boasting a camp retro-look that would’ve made the Kuchar Brothers envious with its explosions of archaic color & quirky archetypal characters; makes my jaw drop with every viewing.

VIDEODROME (1983) was life-changing for me in that the film so incorporated all my obsessions at the time into one neat little package I actually identified with the protagonist despite how unappealingly portrayed he was; whenever people ask me what my favourite horror movie is I always confuse them by saying it’s a tie between this & the original King Kong.

THE NORMALS (1978) is a sentimental fave since it documents the rock show that led me to form my own first punk band (I was in the audience during filming but never made it in front of the camera), plus it’s rare proof of Montreal’s little-known burgeoning scene from so early on, which I’ve always had trouble convincing people actually existed.

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