We’re pleased to present another look back at Canadian movies on TV by our friends at Retrontario.
Canada’s canary into the Pay TV coal mine was a riveting pop culture jolt when it arrived in early 1983. Competing services FIRST CHOICE and SUPERCHANNEL were forced to combine resources just over one year later as FIRST CHOICE*SUPERCHANNEL , now fondly remembered as the era’s primary delivery system for big ticket Hollywood titles, rare-as-hen’s teeth Can-con, and boobies. Here’s a taste of some of the more exciting moments this $15 per month service offered to content starved ‘80s eyeballs.
Not that you can tell from the above Hollywood-heavy monthly preview, but in November of 1986, FIRST CHOICE*SUPERCHANNEL offered up a bumper crop of cool Canadian movies like LISTEN TO THE CITY, LATITUDE 55, SIEGE (aka SELF-DEFENCE), MONKEYS IN THE ATTIC, SKIP TRACER, ZEN BUSINESS (aka HOT MONEY), HEAVENLY BODIES, MARK OF CAIN and the Nelvana-produced kid’s classic THE CARE BEARS MOVIE.
“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.
Ottawa director Brett Kelly has directed over 20 features, an almost unprecedented output for a Canadian filmmaker. Compared to none other than Roger Corman, he has also been called “Canada’s Duke of Doom” (Penny Blood Magazine) and “Canada’s Baron of Blood” (CBC Radio) for his horror films, but Brett has touched on almost all genres, from science fiction/fantasy and westerns and, most notably, comedies. His films including MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND, PREY FOR THE BEAST, SHE-REX, often display a wicked sense of humour, and his latest horror-comedy crossbreed MY FAIR ZOMBIE just might be his funniest work yet.
In advance of the Toronto premiere of MY FAIR ZOMBIE on December 4, 2013 at the Revue Cinema we asked Brett to run down his five funniest hosers in Canadian comedy films.
The husband in THE BIG SNIT
A NFB animated short that always makes me laugh. A precursor to shows like THE SIMPSONS, this Canadian short film has the strangest married couple ever depicted in Northern cinema (in my opinion). The husband is a clueless weirdo who is addicted to sawing furniture and inadvertently torturing the cat. Every time you watch it, you will notice new gags courtesy of a detail heavy background. Priceless!
Pee Wee in PORKY’S
Pee Wee was a dude that I’m sure many guys like me sympathized with as we watched the movie on First Choice/Superchannel. He just couldn’t seem to catch a break with the ladies. Of course, being an impressionable young lad and seeing naked boobies on screen for the first time must have left some mark on my brain matter. I didn’t even realize this film was Canadian for years. I’m not a fan of the sequels though–some things are better left alone.
Bob and Doug McKenzie in STRANGE BREW
These guys clearly count for two of the top five. When SCTV made these characters to fulfill Cancon, they couldn’t have known what pandemonium was to follow; The record (remember records?) that my friends and I knew and possibly still know off by heart, the sketches on TV and of course the movie! Who could forget the STAR WARS-style hockey, Hosehead the dog and Mel Blanc as the voice of the McKenzie’s father. Canuck gold!
Jack in BREAKING ALL THE RULES
Another flick from the First Choice/Superchanel days! This one might be a little obscure, but I remember wishing I was Carl Marotte’s character, Jack, because he got to smooch with the cute girl with the punk hair style while hanging around an amusement park! Ahh the ’80s–the innocence will never return, what a shame!
We’re pleased to introduce a brand new column by our friends at one of our favourite sites, Retrontario. This new column will look back at Canadian pay TV movie lineups of days long past featuring extensive images and video from Retrontario’s vast archive. The film programming on these stations exposed many viewers to Canadian genre films for the first time, making them important supporting characters in the history of Canuxploitation.
Canada’s canary into the Pay TV coal mine was a riveting pop culture jolt when it arrived in early 1983:
Competing services FIRST CHOICE and SUPERCHANNEL were forced to combine resources just over one year later as FIRST CHOICE*SUPERCHANNEL, now fondly remembered as the era’s primary delivery system for big ticket Hollywood titles, rare as hen’s teeth Can-con, and boobies. Here’s a taste of some of the more exciting moments this $15 per month service offered to content starved ‘80s eyeballs…
Barely one month after the financially motivated forced marriage of FIRST CHOICE and SUPERCHANNEL, things were looking up. As was the case every October, attention was squarely focused on FCSC’s Halloween night schedule, a fairly decent line-up:
The DRACULA documentary hosted by Vincent Price at 6PM remains an ultra-obscurity, while DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORROR has at least bagged a Region 2 DVD release. Jess Franco’s COUNT DRACULA getting a primetime airing on a national service seems like a fever dream, but FIRST CHOICE*SUPERCHANNEL was often the stuff that dreams were made of.
De Palma’s umpteenth Hitchcock remix DRESSED TO KILL and the Universal Studios anthology NIGHTMARES (best remembered for its Bishop of Battle sequence with baby faced Emilio Estivez) followed in short order, while the evening was rounded off with some creepy Canadiana: David Cronenberg’s icy studio picture DEAD ZONE and the Harvey Hart directed Karen Black/Christopher Plummer devil cult flick THE PYX.
The October 1984 issue of FC/SC’s PRIMETIME magazine spotlights some of that month’s other choice horror material which didn’t make it to air on Halloween night, including VIDEODROME and AMERICAN NIGHTMARE.
Halloween 1984 was a fantastic time to be young, and even better if your parents subscribed to FIRST CHOICE*SUPERCHANNEL.