Motion Picture Purgatory: PROJECT: SHADOWCHASER (1992)

In the 1990s, Canadian genre directors got good at making action films and sci-fi films, but they rarely combined them in a particularly satisfying way. In his latest Motion Picture Purgatory, Rick looks at one of the few successes–okay, relative successes–1992’s direct-to-video classic PROJECT: SHADOWCHASER. Aping the big blockbuster conventions of the day, this Vancouver-shot effort from Lloyd A. Simandl associate John Eyres features machine guns, terrorists, and unstoppable robots in a story that wields genre cliches like twin Uzis ready to mow down interchangeable henchmen. As Romulus, the carefully coiffed villain of the piece, star Frank Zagarino somehow returned for three (count ’em) SHADOWCHASER sequels, making it a signature role. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: WATCHERS (1988)

Of all the 1980s thrillers made in Canada, few are as quintessentially ’80s as WATCHERS (1988), a totally tubular Dean Koontz adaptation that teams up Corey Haim and a genius dog to battle Michael Ironside and the pooch’s evil twin. Pitched slightly differently this one could have been a Tales For All kiddie matinee, but instead its a monster movie–of some sort, anyways. Rick Trembles provides his views on this forgotten flea-bitten effort in his latest Motion Picture Purgatory. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: BREAKING ALL THE RULES (1985)

Diamond thievery spices up the 1980s teen sex comedy formula in BREAKING ALL THE RULES, a breezy romp based on a story co-authored by SCREWBALLS director Rafal Zielinski. Unlike Zielinski’s other efforts, this somewhat milder tale is a favourite 1980s time capsule thanks to fine use of its Montreal amusement park setting, and repeated showings on USA Up All Night. Rick Trembles takes a trip back to his childhood in his latest Motion Picture Purgatory on the film. Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: XTRO II (1990)

Back in the 1990s, once the last of the tax shelter money dried up, Canadian genre film went through a lean period largely focused on straight-to-video shlock and sequels to American straight-to-video shlock. One of the more interesting efforts was XTRO II: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER, a followup to the bizarre 1982 sci-fi effort that tries to do what ALIENS did for the previous entry in the franchise–namely, reimagine it as a tough guy action romp. This entry spearheaded by Canuck producers Lloyd A. Simandl and Michael Mazo (of EMPIRE OF ASH fame) saw UK director Harry Bromley Davenport revisiting the property he created, which he did again five years later for 1995’s American conclusion XTRO 3: WATCH THE SKIES. Rick Trembles abducted a copy of this sleazier Canadian second entry for his latest Motion Picture Purgatory Rick sez:


Motion Picture Purgatory: THUNDERGROUND (1989)

Sleaze-action specialists Shapiro-Glickenhaus┬áEntertainment briefly dipped their toes in the frozen north during the late 1980s, and one of the films they ended up distributing was THUNDERGROUND, an underground fighting period piece from veteran Canuxploitation purveyors Damian Lee and David Mitchell. Following in the footsteps of Hollywood efforts like HARD TIMES (1975) and THE HITTER (1979), only with feisty hobos, this effort sets up a last reel bareknuckle brawl between star Paul Coufos and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who re-teamed with Lee and Mitchell soon after for the cult hit ABRAXAS, GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE. Rick Trembles delves into this curious road movie/romance/boxing flick in his latest Motion Picture Purgatory Rick sez:

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