By now, anyone keeping up with us on social media probably has heard of The Black Museum, a new Toronto-based lecture series that we launched this fall with Andrea Subissati at the Projection Booth – East. For our final lecture on November 22, I’m going to be delivering a modified version of a course I taught last year at the Miskatonic Institute in Montreal on how real-life medical atrocities in Canada have had a profound effect on the themes of Canadian horror films. November 22 will be the first time I will be presenting the course in Toronto.
Here’s a still-relevant trailer for last year’s event, created by Blue Sunshine:
Tickets will be available at the door for $15, but you can also grab them online now for $12.
While many of us discovered Canuxploitation films through late night TV screenings and VHS rentals, there’s still something special about catching a locally produced B-movie classic in the theatre alongside other Canadian film fans. Here’s our monthly update featuring upcoming classic Canadian cinema screenings. Want your screening listed? Contact us.
All month long
Steve Kostanski’s throwback sci-fi actioner MANBORG goes across the country this month and will hit the following theatres:
- Nov. 2-8 Royal Theatre, Toronto
- Nov. 3 Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa
- Nov. 4 Rio Grand, Vancouver
- Nov. 10 Carbon Arc, Halifax
- Nov. 16 The Staircase Theatre, Hamilton
- Nov. 23 The Metro, Edmonton
See more on the MANBORG site.
THE BROOD 35mm
November 3, 2012, 7pm
Kier-La Janisse returns to Winnipeg to launch her new book House of Psychotic Women, an autobiographical exploration of female neurosis in horror and exploitation film, including a screening of THE BROOD. More info here.
CRISIS (1997) and RYAN’S BABE (200) Shot-in-Saskatchewan double feature 35mm/digital
November 23, 2012, 10pm
Broadway Theatre, Saskatoon
A unique look at Saskatoon’s homegrown genre scene pairs up action-fest CRISIS, the FIRST 35mm feature film shot in Saskatoon, and the bizarrely campy road trip odyssey RYAN’S BABE. More info here.
“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.
Alexandra West is a freelance horror journalist who lives, works and survives in Toronto. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, Rue Morgue and Post City Magazine among others. She is a regular contributor at Famous Monsters of Filmland and you can find more of her horror ramblings and reviews at her blog, Scare Tactic. Aside from her work in horror criticism, Alexandra’s play, FINAL GIRL, is running in Montreal from October 26 to 28th at 11pm.
Taking place at Freestanding Room (3rd floor at 4324 Boulevard Saint-Laurent), FINAL GIRL stems from West’ theatre background and her love of horror. The play uses a slasher film structure to explore the nature of the killers and victims within your typical slice-and-dice film. Using Carol Clover’s writing in Men, Women and Chainsaws as framework and with a childhood spent watching the best horror films Rogers Video would rent to a minor, FINAL GIRL is an intimate look at a beloved genre that’s fun for the whole family, if the family is all over 18 and doesn’t mind some graphic language.
For this seasonally appropriate edition of CanFilm Five, Alexandra takes a look at the five awesomest women in Canadian horror.
Sarah, MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)
From one of the best slashers ever made, Sarah is one cool cucumber. When she and her friends get trapped in a mine during the Valentine’s Day dance with a killer on the loose she is the only one to keep it together and think logically about getting out of there with losing her head, unlike some other people. When you watch more than your fair share of slasher movies involving teenagers doing silly things, it’s so refreshing to see an adult woman, in peril, but keeping it together that it’s hard to go back to over-the-top silliness. She is my slasher role model.
Nola, THE BROOD (1979)
Nola may be a contentious choice, as critic Robin Wood called THE BROOD a reactionary film that shone a negative light on the womens’ liberation movement, but for me it draws attention to furious nature that repression breeds. Nola is both a mother trying to save herself and a dangerous force of nature that attacks all those that would stand in her way. She is the lady version of the Queen Alien and just as bad ass.
Ginny, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (1981)
Being popular is hard. It’s even harder when there’s a killer on the loose. Melissa Sue Anderson (yup, the daughter from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE) is fantastic as Ginny, our Final Girl in this ’80s-tastic slasher, but she’s all the more impressive against the winding plot that would give John Grisham a headache. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME plays out like the best surprise party ever because the ending is such a kicker, and Ginny and is the perfect vessel to discover this horror gem.
Barb, BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
Canadians make the best slashers, if evidenced only by this list. Forget affecting, subdued, Egoyan-esque dramas– Canadians defined, broke and remade the slasher genre starting with this classic. BLACK CHRISTMAS is my favourite slasher. It’s creepy, funny and unforgettable. Seriously, I haven’t been able to look at a dry cleaning bag without seeing an instrument for my imminent destruction since I fist saw this movie. For all of the wonder that this film gives me, Barb may be my favourite part. While she’s no Final Girl, she’s one of the most entertaining characters in horror and every time I watch BLACK CHRISTMAS I’ll root for her ’til the end.
Brigitte, GINGER SNAPS (2000)
I love an awesome good girl. And Brigitte is not only an awesome good girl, but an awesome sister. While she fights to save her sister Ginger from turning into a werewolf, she also has to define herself against Ginger’s evolution. Brigitte is an excellent rendering of a young woman trying to find herself and break away from a toxic relationship. It’s a remarkably identifiable movie for any young woman, not just the hairy ones.
Although we don’t usually cover short films here at Canuxploitation, our curiousity was piqued last month when we heard Josh MacDonald, writer of one of our favourite Canadian horror films from last year, THE CORRIDOR, had taken a seat in the directors chair for a brand new horror short. GAME debuted at this year’s Fantastic Fest, and not only does the East coast-shot film deliver the gruesome goods, it also features a piece of winking Canadiana–the immediately recognizable theme song from the Hinterland Who’s Who films.
Torontonians will have a chance to see GAME playing before Toronto After Dark’s Closing Night Film on October 26. In fact, in the week before Halloween, GAME will play genre festivals on four different continents. See the film’s website and Facebook page for more news and screening info. (Also keep an eye out for GAME producer Angus Swantee’s own short film TORTUROUS at many of the same fests!)
We talked to Josh about the stupidest lines he ever wrote, why Nova Scotia is still a hotbed of film talent and generally messing with audiences’ heads.
How did the short come about?
Even the title of GAME is meant to be something of a declaration of purpose — it definitely has meaning within the story (as in the hunter-hunted relationship between the characters)—but in a wider view it’s meant to imply I’m just “playing in a sandbox” here, goofing around with a new set of tools. After writing a couple of features, I was encouraged by my collaborators to try directing something for the first time.
I always try to write my screenplays in a really visual manner anyway, hoping readers will be able to conjure a “mind movie” for themselves while flipping those pages. My friends suggested I try, at least once, to realize that “mind movie” for myself in full, without passing over the baton (to totally mix my metaphors).
It was around this time that I was approached by local producer Angus Swantee, who wanted to apply for CBC-TV / Film Nova Scotia’s Bridge Award. The award gives an emerging team an opportunity to make a short film, and we eventually got selected to make GAME. In the history of the award this piece is something of a risk, I figure, because it’s genre filmmaking (and a piece particularly front-loaded with “Woman In Peril” imagery), so I’d totally like to thank the Bridge for their belief in us, and for the opportunity. To a degree, I think our local timing was right, applying on the heels of THE CORRIDOR and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.