Oh Canada, what a great ol’ place you are…not only the second largest country in the world, but the majestic home of the industrious beaver, the beloved purveyor of sweet, maple syrupy goodness and of course, land of some truly great horror films…and some really fucking bad ones too…but let’s not go there right now.
July 1st is Canada Day, a day when we Canucks celebrate all things red and maple flavoured…oh and the birth of the nation too. And what better way to celebrate Canada than watching some pure, undiluted Canadian horror movies. For your viewing pleasure I’ve compiled a list (in no order whatsoever) of a few freaky flicks from the Great White North that are definitely worth a viewing.
Some great, some good, some not quite either one of those, but all so very Canadian they’ll have you saying “aboot” in no time…fyi no one says aboot here…unless we’re talking about, you know, boots.
Cannibal Girls (1973)
One of my personal faves is this kooky horror comedy directed by Ivan Reitman (before he started making movies with pregnant Terminators) and starring Andrea Martin and Eugene Levy whene they were so very young, you’ll barely believe it’s them.
Once you do get over your disbelief (and shock at Levy’s giant ‘fro), you’ll find lots to love in this tale of a young couple who inexplicably take a romantic weekend trip to a small town called Farnhamville and end up tangling with a tuxedoed Reverend (Ronald Ulrich) and his harem of man eating beauties.
Cheesy, bloody and often just plain hilarious, Cannibal Girls is a perfect little low budget horror classic which is kind of impossible not to love.
Fuck this fucking anatomically correct medical dummy and the mustache it rode in on!
Ahem…Pin is a film about a young man named Leon (David Hewlett) who becomes obsessed with his doctor father’s anatomically correct (and creepy as fuck) medical dummy. Leon even goes so far as to bring Pin to life, at least vocally, through ventriloquism, and carry on whole conversations with it.
And if that weren’t horrific enough fo you, he puts the fucking thing in a suit and wig and brings it to the dinner table and parks it square in my nightmares. Eventually people start dying aroung Pin and we are left to wonder if the obviously evil dummy is more than just a doll.
Like I said, fuck that fucking dummy…but watch the movie first.
Visionary demi god David Cronenberg’s Shivers, a movie about a huge apartment complex overrun by parasite infected, sex crazed loonies (one of whom looks like a 1970’s David Schwimmer) looking to bang each other into next week, is one hell of a weird viewing…and I mean that in the best way possible.
Although dated (hilariously dated), Shivers is still an effective and claustrophobic 70’s nightmare (complete with shag carpeting), with an awesome cast that includes screen legend Barbara Steele and scream queen Lynn Lowry.
Cronenberg is the king of gross out horror for a reason and Shivers is no exception, although I do wish he’d kept the original title Orgy of the Blood Parasites, cause seriously, how awesome is that.
Now this one is a little different…
Karmina is a French Canadian horror comedy, about a young female vampire (Isabelle Cyr) who escapes Transylvania and runs off to Montreal to avoid an arranged marriage. Once in Canada, Karmina’s aunt gives her a special potion which transforms her into a human for a short while, which allows her to live peacefully among the residents of the big city. Of course hilarity ensues when Karmina’s parents and future husband Vlad arrive in town to retrieve her.
Karmina isn’t for all audiences, French Canadian films are an acquired taste and the comedies tend to be funny only to natives of Quebec, but this one is pretty accessible and fun to watch…even if the funniest joke is about Vlad constantly being mistaken for Brad Pitt.
The Shrine (2010)
Atmospheric, creepy and all around not bad at all, The Shrine is a Canadian horror with some real scares lurking in it.
The movie starts off with robed men tying another man to an altar of sorts before sledgehammering a mask on to his face…I gotta admit, that got my attention.
The rest of the movie is about a team of journalists who travel to the Polish village of Alvania to investigate the case of some missing persons (who we already know got a sledgehammer to the face). While there, they notice that a small area of forest seems to be covered in a dense, white fog that does not move from that one spot.
Of course the plucky journalists decide to investigate, cause thick, concetrated fog is not sinister in the least. Two of them venture in and inside the mist find a huge statue of a demon…again, totally normal.
From here on they’re pretty much fucked as the hooded figures of the local men now begin to come after them, seemingly intent on putting their big ass sledgehammer to use again. The why of all of this is the interesting part, which sets The Shrine apart from the more run of the mill horror fare, but you’ll have to watch the movie to find that out for yourselves.
I hope you enjoy these Canada Day horrors my lovelies, and just for fun here are some more canuck fright flick titles in case you find yourselves addicted to the unique and awesomely scary side of Canada.
One of my favorite Cronenberg movies, starring one of my favorite actors, the always underrated Michael Ironside.
Vincent D’Onofrio is a killer cabbie who kidnaps a young boy and keeps him as a chained slave, slowly nurturing him into a killer.
A sexy, Quebec filmed horror about a modern day Countess Elizabeth Bathory (gorgeous singer/actress Caroline Neron) inexplicably living in Montreal, who ends up being investigated by a surly local cop for the disappearance of his own wife.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
A Canadian Classic about a pick ax wielding maniac in small Nova Scotia mining town.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Is Ginger becoming a werewolf or is it just puberty hormones? The differences are harder to spot than you think in this fantastic coming of age horror starring Katherine Isabelle and Emily Perkins.
Another Cronenberg starring former adult actress Marilyn Chambers as the recipient of a skin graft which causes her to develop a bloodthirsty, protruding armpit ball (no seriously, that’s what it is) which turns whomever she feeds off of into rabid zombies. Pure awesomeness!
The Changeling (1980)
A genuinely scary and engrossing haunted house classic starring George C. Scott, about a composer who moves into a house inhabited by the ghost of a murdered young boy.
Black Christmas (1974)
Best. Canadian. Horror. Movie…EVER!
The Fly (1986)
Yet another Cronenberg starring Jeff Goldblum being gross…and also he transforms into a fly.
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