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Cathode Ray Mission: OVIDE AND THE GANG (1987-88)

While we here at Canuxploitation have always been firmly focused on theatrical tax shelter oddities and straight-to-video schlock, we’ve always had a soft spot for our film industry’s small screen cousin, the often inhospitable landscape of Canadian television.  That’s why we’re introducing CATHODE RAY MISSION, a new column by CanTV expert Cameron Archer, whose boob tube scribblings have appeared on sites including TV, eh? , Canadian Animation Resources and other assorted publications (including his own blog). Each entry of CATHODE RAY MISSION will highlight some of Canadian television’s more offbeat offerings, featuring video, commentary and lots of bad memories dredged up from the bottom of your consciousness.

OVIDE AND THE GANG (1987-88), like many Canadian animated television cartoons of its era, was shuttered to weekend television’s non-peak hours during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unlike Cookie Jar and Nelvana, who can easily fling C.L.Y.D.E., MY PET MONSTER, and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN on This TV, qubo and/or Teletoon Retro, CinéGroupe’s productions are harder to come by in reruns.

Maybe that’s just as well. OVIDE AND THE GANG (LA BANDE À OVIDE in French-speaking areas, like Quebec) — was an odd platypus. The Canada/Belgium co-production was created by Belgian cartoonist Bernard Godisiabois, better known by his pseudonym Godi, and fellow Belgian Nicolas Broca. Nic Broca, a cartoonist and animator, helped develop 1980s Hanna-Barbera/SEPP cartoon property, THE SNORKS.

The Basic Formula
A typical OVIDE AND THE GANG episode features Ovide, a blue platypus in a green hat. Ovide and his friends – Saffron the fatter yellow platypus/cook, Groaner the white toucan/pun-lover, and Polo the red lizard/janitor–live in Paradise, an ersatz Australia. Ovide’s main enemy is Cy Sly, the purple python who wants to take over Paradise for…greed’s sake, I suppose. Cy’s motives are never quite clear.

Addle-brained henchman Bobo hangs around with Cy, calling Cy “boss.” Wikipedia identifies Bobo as a Keel-billed toucan, though I have my doubts. Koala versions of the three wise monkeys, named Doe, Rae, and Mi in the English dub (Ko, A and La in the French dub), appear on the show sometimes. Literal woodworm Woody pisses Polo enough for Polo to futilely chase after it. Later episodes establish Matilda, a boomerang-wielding kangaroo.

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ABCs of Canadian Horror

Ever since the Canuxploitation blog kicked off last July, we’ve always wanted to put together one of those fun alphabetical lists that occasionally make the rounds–in fact, seeing everyone have fun with that meme last year was part of the reason this blog was born.

Well, kudos to the NFB’s crackerjack Community Manager Kate Ruscito, who first came up with the idea for an alphabetical listing of Canadian horror and then assembled this incredible little tribute to Canadian horror film for us. Not only has she put our Photoshop skills to shame, she’s selected some suitably NSFW stills that really give a flavour for the diversity and transgressive quality of much of our horror cinema. Enjoy!

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Canuxploitation on DVD: Spring 2012 Preview

Delays, delays and more delays! What was shaping up to be a great year for Canadian cult DVDs has turned into a mere trickle of new releases. Though several releases are still planned, it appears that most companies have pushed their Canadian titles to the Fall, where we expect a good half dozen or so new discs to gorge on. Note that list of upcoming and recent DVDs on the sidebar is always maintained and updated with the latest announcements throughout the year.

GHOSTKEEPER (Code Red)
Release Date: Late April 2012
Read Our Review

Nice to see Jim Makichuk’s spooky 1986 film get a release, even if the film is a good four years off of it’s actual 30th anniversary(!). A wendigo’s on the loose here taking out snowmobilers, but the movie works better in building an isolated, snowy creepiness. Definitely worth a look and has a good shot at being the best Canadian B-film release of the season. But at this point, copies are only available directly from Code Red. If you want one, Paypal $21 (for US residents), $24 (for Canadian residents) or $25 (for overseas residents) to codereddvd@yahoo.com.

MEATBALLS (Lionsgate)
Release Date: June 12
Repeat after me: “It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter.” Reitman’s classic comedy finally debuts on Blu for a nice price.

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Upcoming Screenings: April 2012

While many of us discovered Canuxploitation films through late night TV screenings and VHS rentals, there’s still something special about catching a locally produced B-movie classic in the theatre alongside other Canadian film fans. Here’s our monthly update featuring upcoming classic Canadian cinema screenings.

WINTER KEPT US WARM — 16mm
April 28, 8pm
Blue Sunshine, Montreal
The first English-language Canadian film ever to be invited to Cannes, David Secter’s rarely seen 1965 debut is an early gay cinema love story that will be presented here by Concordia film professors Matthew Hays and Thomas Waugh. More info here.

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The Power of Sperm Part II — THE UNDRAWN Superteaser

We recently intervewed Brett Butler, one half of Toronto’s prolific Butler Brothers who are in pre-production on superhero satire THE UNDRAWN. As their funding drive kicks into high gear for the final week they’ve released their final teaser trailer:

The Butlers have a history of smart and funny indie films, so I urge you to throw a couple bucks their way.

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