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Motion Picture Purgatory: SCANNER COP (1994)

If we were to ask you to identify Canada’s longest-running genre franchise, answers would likely touch on the surprising longevity of series like PROM NIGHT, TIGER CLAWS or even MEATBALLS, but the crown actually belongs to SCANNERS, the horror/sci-fi hybrid helmed by favourite son David Cronenberg. Since the rights stayed with producer Pierre David, Cronenberg wasn’t involved in the sequels to his memorable original work, which allowed the franchise to spin off into all kinds of strange directions, as noted in this month’s column by Rick Trembles‘ latest Motion Picture Purgatory. After SCANNERS II and SCANNERS III hit video store shelves, the idea was spun off into 1994’s SCANNER COP, which also spawned a sequel (that’s four in total, if you’re counting). Perhaps the best of these sequels, SCANNER COP has more splattery FX than previous entries as it lurches towards the inevitable psychic showdown. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: THE WOMAN INSIDE (1981)

Exploitation movies have had an interest in transgender individuals and gender reassignment surgery dates back at least to Ed Wood and his groundbreaking docudrama GLEN OR GLENDA?, based, at least in part, on the Christine Jorgensen case. As uncovered by Rick Trembles‘ latest Motion Picture Purgatory, the subject was still being mined in the 1980s when this rarely seen, U.S./Canada co-production hit theatres. Starring aging Hollywood talent including Joan Blondell, Dane Clark, Joe E. Ross and Jackie Vernon, it’s a low budget, melodramatic effort that at least tries to sensitively handle pertinent issues for its era. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1979)

A film milestone created by a cinematic visionary, THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1935) is a brilliant British-produced work about futurism and revolutionary politics. Forty years later, Canada started work on a loose remake with Jack Palance and dumb robots. Guess which is the subject of Rick Trembles’ Motion Picture Purgatory this month? Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: UPS & DOWNS (1981)

After the success of Bob Clark’s PORKY’s, Canadian-born director Paul Almond tried his own more CanCon-approved spin on teen hijinks movies with his 1981 prep school effort UPS & DOWNS. But whereas Clark used social issue to spice up the sex comedy, Almond’s effort generally comes off like a particularly limp episode of DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH with an annoying New Wave ’80s soundtrack. Rick sez:

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Motion Picture Purgatory: ETERNAL EVIL (1985)

After creating the quintessential Canadian slasher My Bloody Valentine, director George Mihalka turned his attention from the depths of the mine to the depths of the mind. His 1985 horror follow-up Eternal Evil, also released on VHS as The Blue Man, is Mihalka’s strange tale of astral projection with a bigger-than-life performance from genre mainstay Karen Black and a light sprinkling of Cronenberg-isms tossed in for good measure. Rick sez:

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