Today is National Canadian Film Day, where we celebrate Canadian film and the talented people who create them. Known for our legendary politeness, the letter “u” in some of our words, and hockey (not true for me, although I’d rather go to a hockey game than a basketball game any day-gasp!!), we are also pretty handy with a moving picture camera.
Some of those moving pictures involve gallons of blood and gore. Canadian horror has a strong foothold in Movieland, with a lot of them becoming classics, and I am proud to say that there are way too many to include here, so I will focus on a few of my favourites (see, there’s that pesky “u”).
One of my favourite directors is David Cronenberg. He has the best recipe for weirdness and mood, and coupled with his talent and incredible style, creates horror that will make you cringe and marvel at the grotesque beauty he shows you. It’s hard to choose, but the film that creeps me out every time is Dead Ringers. This twisted story of twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle and their deception of a troubled woman makes me shiver. The bizarre instruments twin Beverly creates are a nightmare for any woman that’s been laid out and vulnerable in a doctor’s stirrups.
Plain and simple, Martyrs will scar you forever. This revenge film with a twist leaves you reeling as you watch Lucie and Anna struggle for the truth, and when they do, it leads to gruesome and deadly results.
Silent Retreat has been on the Canadian horror radar since it’s premiere at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2013. One of the more unique films out there, it follows Janey as she is forced to stay at a retreat for wayward girls that becomes truly sinister.
Director Tricia Lee is hard at work on her next feature, One Drop, expected to be released in late 2016. It is another female driven horror, where a single mother wakes up to find herself pregnant, surrounded by dead bodies and “something not-quite-human” in the basement of a medical facility. Check out the indigogo campaign to contribute to what sounds like another unique and thrilling Canadian horror story.
Of Unknown Origin is straight up cheesy horror, but Peter Weller does a great job trying to kick a giant rat’s ass. Definitely a late night treasure.
Of course, I have to mention the Soska Twins. Jen and Sylvia have become horror darlings because they create gory films like Dead Hooker in a Trunk that become fan favourites, and mine is probably American Mary. Stylish and dark, this revenge flick follows a medical student who provides back room body modification for extra money. After a horrible violation, she creates her own unique way of punishing those that cross her.
For pure weirdness and the special effects, check out Thanatomorphose. It is body horror at its best (or worst, you’ll have to decide), and it is truly a must see, but don’t eat dinner while watching.
Check out Ejecta for a cool alien/conspiracy/found footage movie. Written by Canadian author Tony Burgess, who also wrote and (acted in) Hellmouth, Septic Man, and Pontypool, it is dark, jarring and has some really mean aliens.
Just recently I went to a screening of Late Night Double Feature. For a low-budget film, it is full of fun and schlock and most importantly, homegrown!
Lastly, a new film in production called The Void looks pretty amazing. The creators Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie are striving for great practical effects, and the trailer is really eerie with all kinds of gory goodness! Check out their indiegogo campaign for more info and a chance to contribute.
Let me know what some of your favourite Canadian horror films are!