Motion Picture Purgatory: EMPIRE OF ASH (1988)

Mad Max eh? Lloyd Simand’s Empire of Ash, perhaps the only movie misleadingly re-released as a sequel to itself, goes under the microscope for
Rick Trembles‘ latest Motion Picture Purgatory. A jumbled mess of bloodsucking, explosions, hair metal and sweet post-apocalyptic rides, it’s one of the few post-apocalyptic Canadian films to ever see a video store shelf (plus I’d still take it over Last Night any day of the week). Rick sez:


Our New Christmas Horror Book Covers Canadian Classics

Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television is the latest book from Canadian micro-publisher Spectacular Optical, a publishing company I’m involved with along with House of Psychotic Women author Kier-La Janisse. We’re currently accepting pre-orders for this unique and comprehensive anthology which covers the fascinating history of the darkside of holiday entertainment from Scrooge to killer Santas to Krampus. These are published only in limited quantities, and are available at Indiegogo.

Canada has always had their hand in bleak Christmas movies, and our forthcoming book prominently features several titles that Canadian film fans will appreciate. With approximately 20 chapters by established and upcoming writers as well as more than 200 capsule reviews, the book including pieces on Black Christmas (by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower–you can read an excerpt here), as well as featured writing on The Brain, Silent Night, Petit Pow! Pow! Noël, The Silent Partner, and A Christmas Horror Story.

Along with familiar contributing authors like Thrower, Kim Newman and Michael Gingold, the book also includes other writers who have helped with Canuxploitation over the years, including Motion Picture Purgatory reviewer Rick Trembles, Ralph Elawani and Caelum Vatnsdal (also of They Came From Within: A History Of Canadian Horror Cinema fame).

We’ve got lots of pre-order perks available, including copies of our previous books Kid Power! and Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema Of Jean Rollin, plus Blu-rays from Vinegar Syndrome, stuff from Mondo and Death Waltz, Xmas cards designed by Gary Pullin and Rick Trembles among others and also this unique item perfect for the Canuxploitation buff:

There’s only a week or so left to get a copy, so reserve yours to ensure a very unhappy holiday!


Motion Picture Purgatory: LITTLE DEVILS: THE BIRTH (1993)

Move over Munchies, take a hike Critters, and get lost Ghoulies! Canada entered the mini-monster sweepstakes with its own late addition to the 1980s mini-fad with LITTLE DEVILS: THE BIRTH, a UK co-production about gooey gargoyles on a killing spree in Toronto. Rick Trembles‘ latest Motion Picture Purgatory delves into the sordid, low budget story that was shot by visiting Rawhead Rex auteur George Pavlou. (Psst! You can grab your own copy of the mostly forgotten film from Shivers Entertainment). Also, don’t forget to check out Rick’s latest animated project, Building 108! Rick sez:



Motion Picture Purgatory: BEING DIFFERENT (1981)

Surely the closest thing to a “mondo” movie that Canada ever produced, the exploitive human oddities documentary BEING DIFFERENT, (also just released on Blu-ray!), purports to capture the “soaring human spirit,” but is more convincing as a portrait of the twilight era of sideshow attractions, as the culture moved away from disabled performers to focus on “self-made” freaks and performers, such as sword swallowers, fire eaters and extreme body modification enthusiasts. That doesn’t make the film any less fascinating though, as Rick Trembles uncovers in his latest Motion Picture Purgatory. Rick sez:



Motion Picture Purgatory: HIGHPOINT (1982)

RITUALS director Peter Carter and screenwriter Ian Sutherland re-teamed a few years after their classic Canuck backwoods horror entry to give everyone the sluggish Hitchcockian comedy thriller they didn’t know they wanted. The wildly convoluted HIGHPOINT (1982), based almost entirely around a last-minute eye-popping stunt, was temporarily shelved and subject to reshoots. Still, as Rick Trembles covers in his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, it’s probably the only place you can see Christopher Plummer and Richard Harris face off on top of one of Canada’s biggest tourist attractions. Rick sez:


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