“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.
Debuting last year at Fantasia, the speculative Canadian poster exhibit If They Came From Within is set to hit Toronto on August 7, 2013 from 7-11pm at Steam Whistle Brewing (255 Bremner Blvd) where it will remain on display for all of August. This unique show, sponsored by Canuxploitation.com, brings together some of Canada’s best known filmmakers and movie art designers to imagine an alternative history where horror, sci-fi and exploitation dominated the Great White North’s film industry, as imagined by Jason Eisener, Vincenzo Natali, Astron-6, George Mihalka, and Jen and Sylvia Soska, among many others. These not-quite-real movies have been brought to some semblance of reality via more that 20 movie posters, associated synopses, imaginary soundtracks and even supposed props (we talked to one of the poster artists last year).
The show was arranged and curator by none other than Rue Morgue magazine Editor-in-Chief Dave Alexander. In addition to being an occasional contributor to this site (and–full disclosure–a personal friend for many years), Dave has been on the forefront of helping the recent boom in Canadian genre films reach an audience, and this latest project is an extension of that. Originally hailing from Edmonton, Dave has written freelance for various newspapers and magazines across North America, made award-winning short films programs, and currently programs Rue Morgue’s CineMacabre movie nights at TIFF Bell Lightbox, among other creepy and cool accomplishments.
In anticipation of the show’s opening night party, for which some artists and filmmakers will be in attendance, we asked Dave to offer up his top five posters for Canadian genre films that actually do exist. In the meantime, RSVP to the event and check out their Facebook page for the latest updates.
1. BLACK CHRISTMAS, A.K.A. Silent Night, Evil Night (insert)
This rare insert for Black Christmas not only boasts incredibly striking artwork — I just love the bizarre conceptual image of a naked woman trapped inside a Christmas ornament — it sports the now-lesser-known American title that was used at the time: Silent Night, Evil Night. (I also have a full-size 27″ x 41″ poster for the film that had the “Black Christmas” title glued over top of “Silent Night, Evil Night.”) Here, if you look closely, you can see that the victim is bleeding from the mouth! Sex, death and Christmas brought together with a wonderfully lurid red. Just look at that dripping font – it’s like candy to a genre poster collector. The bonus is that this one carries over the black and white cartoon image of the police running into the house with the Christmas tree out front. It looks like it should be on the ad for a kid’s film and just makes the whole thing that much weirder and more wonderful. Black Christmas, along with My Bloody Valentine inspired the faux film for the show called Stubbies, about a killer in a duct-taped balaclava hacking off the limbs of a bunch of partying kids who foolishly break into a abandoned brewery to party. I did the synopsis and Gary Pullin designed a poster for it which will premiere in the Toronto version of If They Came From Within: An Alternative History of Canadian Horror.
2. CURTAINS (one-sheet)
This one was a gift from none other than Canuxploitation editor Paul Corupe, and I included it, not only because I love the film, but because it’s creepy as hell. One guesses that the artist was given a pic of the creepy doll, which is barely in the film (though in one of the most unnerving scenes) and the old hag mask, and was told that the title is Curtains and a bunch of women are murdered. The result is a literal curtains formed from the mouth of the hag, that frame a doll in the most vaginal way possible. And don’t forget that the colour purple is often said to represent sexual frustration! With the line (under that wonderful title font) that reads “…the ultimate nightmare,” this is one of the most Freudian movie posters ever made. You could write a Film Studies paper about it. I just like that it kinda freaks people out.
French-Canadians weren’t the only ones exploring depraved carnality on celluloid in the early 1970s. This time, Rick Trembles pulls back the covers on DIARY OF A SINNER (1974) for his latest exclusive MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY. Before falling into his UFO conspiracy nut phase, director Ed Hunt put together this sleaze-soaked tribute to perversion, nihilism and drug abuse, all set to a weird guitar funk score by Bo Diddley. Rick sez:
Michael Ironside in full drag? It happened in the Montreal psycho-thriller VISITING HOURS (1982), the subject of our latest exclusive MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY by Rick Trembles. Bill Shatner is on hand to eat some delicious pudding while defending a feminist TV host from a brutal attacker who stalks her while she’s laid up in that most vulnerable of places, the hospital. Rick sez:
Another Canuxploitation-exclusive edition of Motion Picture Purgatory has come a-calling. This time Rick Trembles dials into the sleazy tax shelter classic BELLS (1982), aka MURDER BY PHONE. Is Canada’s biggest phone company deep into a sinister plan that involve electrocuting customers via killer calls? Only Richard Chamberlain’s beard knows for sure. Here’s Rick’s take:
He’s big, he’s hairy, and he’s remarkably Canadian. Rue Morgue magazine presents a 16mm screening of YETI: GIANT OF THE 20th CENTURY as part of their monthly Cinemacabre series on June 27 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. This bizarre Italian/Canadian co-production about an unfrozen cryptid rampaging through downtown Toronto shouldn’t be missed by any fans of homegrown horrors or ’70s Bigfoot films.