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CanFilm Five: MONSTER BRAWL Director Jesse Thomas Cook

“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.

Jesse Thomas Cook is a Collingwood, Ontario-based writer, director and producer of independent horror films, including SCARCE, MONSTER BRAWL and EXIT HUMANITY. For this instalment of CanFilm Five, Jesse offers up his top five Canuxploitation films shot in the Georgian Bay region:

I live in Collingwood, Ontario – formerly a sleepy manufacturing hamlet that has now transformed into a bustling sea and ski resort town of 20,000 people. It is a Great Lakes community situated on the shores of Georgian Bay and shadowed by Blue Mountain and the Niagara Escarpment. And ever since Renny Harlin and Geena Davis stormed into town in 1996 to shoot scenes from their follow-up to CUTTHROAT ISLAND, a deplorable Hollywood action film called A LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (that would even make Canadian trash cinema blush), I was hooked on making movies in the local area. Nearly half the town was cast as extras in a Santa Claus parade scene, in what amounted to millions senselessly spent for just under 30 seconds of footage that made the final cut. Needless to say Mr. Harlin showed us firsthand the virtues of going ultra-low budget for genre filmmaking.

Our history of shooting in the area began with a slasher short called FORLORN (2005) and has since spanned three features with three more on the way. A little research into local film lore and we find that Georgian Bay and the towns and wilderness that dot its coastline have been used as locations for several piles of Canadiana film trash, including our very own 2007 abominable cannibal-torture porn effort SCARCE (shameless plug).

From Hollywood genre tripe like SKINWALKERS, which turned the nearby brew-town of Creemore, Ontario into the site of a werewolf turf-war, to Disney holiday dud ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS, which showcased Meaford, Ontario as the stomping ground for the creepiest angel ever (Harry Dean Stanton, who haunts kids in their bedrooms wearing a cowboy hat and a big ’80s duster), to more epic regional portrayals like the use of the Bruce Peninsula for scenes from the Oscar-winning film QUEST FOR FIRE, Georgian Bay and its surrounding terrain have been featured in a variety of films, but mostly Canadian schlock.

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