Meanwhile in Canada is an ongoing series of articles that feature Canadian fandom that is otherwise unknown to people in general.
We interrupt my previously announced Meanwhile in Canada article for this special Halloween edition. Happy Halloween everybody!
Canada is home to some iconic horror movies that defined the genre. When you live in depressingly cold winters for five months of the year your mind will go to some terrifying places. So needless to say, we know horror. Here are some of our favorite Canadian horror movies you must see:
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
My Bloody Valentine is the story of a small mining town where the annual Valentines Day dance has been canceled for some 20 years. This all happened when some supervisors left their miners trapped to attend the annual brew-ha-ha resulting in only one guy making it out alive: Harry Warden. Harry had to resort to cannibalism to survive and once he was out he killed the men who left him to die. As he was being locked up in a sanitarium he vowed that he would kill again if they ever did the dance ever again.
Naturally, 20 years later, someone decides to Footloose the ban on the Valentines Day dance and, wouldn’t you know it, people start getting murdered. The local sheriff spends most of the film trying to track down the killer as the body count goes up and up.
The movie really outdoes itself by presenting us with an iconic slasher that goes a step above the requirements in the slasher handbook I made up just now: Complete with a miners gas mask and helmet this guy usually dispatches his victims with a pickaxe. Shot in the Sydney Mines of Nova Scotia, it adds a level of spooky by taking place in a remote location complete with a coal mine.
The Brood (1979)
Before he started directing snorefest films like Maps of the Stars, and Cosmopolis, filmmaker David Cronenberg was best known for his downright creepy horror movies. When you think “body horror”, Cronenberg is the name that immediately comes to mind. This was no more true than with his 1979 offering The Brood.
David made this film when he was going through a messy divorce and custody battle for his daughter, and damn, does it show. The movie is about a custody battle between Frank Carveth and his mentally disturbed wife Nola. Nola begins seeing a psychotherapist who is a pioneer in “psychoplastmics” which is a field where a patient lets go of their suppressed emotions through psychical changes.
For Nola, this manifests in large pods growing out of her body that contain creepy blond haired children. These children stalk and murder everyone who stands in the way between Nola and gaining custody of her child.
This movie is just downright eerie and disturbing and you’ll never look at licking something the same way again.
Coming out in an era when zombie and plague movies were all the rage, Pontypool takes a completely different approach to the whole notion of viral infection. In this film, a shock-jock from Pontypool, Ontario and his co-workers discover that there is a virus spreading among people through the English language. The use of certain words can spread the infection which starts off as confused language and ends with you turning into a violent lunatic.
Taking place at an isolated radio station in the middle of a blizzard, our characters have to deal with the spread of this virus. What makes this movie so intriguing is that the one thing everyone takes for granted, language.
Either way, this movie reminds me that I need to brush up on my French.
Prom Night (1980)
This classic slasher film and you probably know all about it. Great performances by both Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielson. Why does such a classic film that most people have seen ends up on this list? Well, that’s because the majority of releases of this film are muddy and dark and it is impossible to see. In fact, that’s what put me off of this movie for years. Even when the film was released on DVD it was still an ugly muddy movie where you could hardly see anything during night shots. Every copy of this movie looked like a bad VHS bootleg.
This movie always looked like crap. That is until 2014 when Prom Night got a Blu-Ray release. Synapse Films picked up the right to the film and digitally remastered and restored the movie using original film negative. Let me tell you it makes all the difference. This movie has never looked this good. It’s crisp and beautiful and you can actually see what’s going on.
The people at Synapse deserve a standing ovation for their top notch restoration of this film. Do yourself a favor: Shell out the money for the Blu-Ray of Prom Night and watch it again for the first time. It’s totally worth it.
Here are some movies that I’d file in the “good not great” category that are worth watching as well:
Cube (1997): Was doing torture movies before movies like Saw and Hostile. Kind of bad acting, though.
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007): A guy with anger management takes it out on some monsters. Also, stars Robert Englund as a wacky professor and the monster.
Monster Brawl (2011): Do you like wrestling? Do you like monsters? Do you want to see them suplexing each other? Ever wonder what it would be like to have Dave Foley color commentating? Then watch this!
Check out more articles from this series here.