Tag Archives: Canada

Shivers (1975)

AKA The Parasite Murders, They Came from Within and Frissons,Orgy of the Blood Parasites
Director: David Cronenberg.
Starring. Paul Hampton, Lynn Lowry, Barbara Steele, Alan Migicovsky . Canada. 1h 27m.

I wasn’t prepared for this movie when I first saw it, as a youngster, despite this I adored Cronenberg movies as there was a huge fantasy element of what the fuck about them, but re watching as an adult there are things we still really fully comprehend with his stories but it doesn’t make them less enjoyable. For a while I used to get Shivers and Squirm mixed up, but I really dug into the concept of viral orgies so if your up for some of that hit me up.

Opening with a commercial about the most perfect living area known to man, The Starliner Towers is a modern high rise in Montreal, the site manager named Merrick invites affluent people into their new faultless homes, in one of these units the first gruesome scene unravels, in a silent and violent clip, Dr. Emil Hobbes attacks, Annabelle, a young girl in a school uniform, strangles her, cuts open her stomach and pours acid into the wound, finishing himself off the scene ends, meanwhile Nick (Migicovsky) has stomach convulsions in his bathroom. Continue reading Shivers (1975)

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The Thing (2011)

Director:Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Starring:Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Eric Christian Olsen. USA/Canada. 1h 43m

From the first viewing of the thing I had a love and hate relationship with it, I was about 6 or 7 and it scared the crap outta me but I had to watch it, and i dealt with the sleepless nights and nightmares, but what always inreguided me was the events that happened prior to this cult classic in the Norwegian camp. But after all this hard work I think maybe it should have been left alone or given to someone with more dedication to the horror genre.

It could have gone either way there could have been an equally creepy body horror, on par with what changed the game in the early 80’s or someone could play by the rules and make a move fall into line with all the typical cliches that the Thing tried to break away from. but while the movie didn’t live up to my expectations it was made with all the best intentions.

Continue reading The Thing (2011)

The Nun (2018)

Director: Corin Hardy.
Starring. Taissa Farmigna, Demian Bichir, Bonnie Aarons, Jonas Bloquet. USA. 1h 36m.

Supposedly the most terrifying chapter of the Conjuring Universe!! *queue the dramatic music* We have the NUN!!! *queue lightning and scary sound effects* But they say that about every new Conjuring related movie.

The Conjuring turned out to be a pretty decent horror movie a touch of class and a dash of “run of the mill” but overall it had a mix of scares and thrills which really enthralled it’s audience, detailing a real life couple who get their pleasures from investigating hauntings and other paranormal events. In their debut they mentioned Annabelle, a haunted doll unlike any other, and her short creepy clip gave way to a full length movie, which did ok, my only gripe is that it really should have featured a doll which resembled the original. But after the abysmal rendition of the Enfield haunting which was subject of the Conjuring 2, a new unrelated character got shoehorned into the mix, a rather scary Nun, and now she has her centre stage, but sadly she doesn’t get to play much in her own film. Continue reading The Nun (2018)

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988)

Director: Guy Maddin
Starring: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gotti, Angela Heck . Canada . 1h 12m

With a lot of surreal movies, I don’t assume to fully understand them, but I do find their unpredictability evocative. While this film is visually different there’s a lot to puzzle over with the linear but a bashitcrazy story.

Seemly inspired by the Directors childhood memories heightened by a DMT trip, there’s a lose connection. Madden does have Icelandic heritage and a lot of vocal history does get tainted over the years but for part it’s a realistic situation at first..

While their mother lays dying in a hospital bed, a pair of siblings are being confronted in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital by their grandmother. She tells the children a long and convoluted story about the Gimli of old, a tale about Einar the Lonely and his best friend Gunnar and the angelic Jofridur.

Einar (McCulloch) has contracted smallpox and is resting in the old Gimli Hospital when he makes friends with Gunnar (Gotti), the pair really appreciate the company in their time of sickness and the bond grows between them, but only for  a short time.

While divulging personal information with each other their tales start to get weirder and the men’s testosterone really gets them going once a sexy nurse catches their eye and they really start to outdo each other to gain her adoration.

Independent movies with a surreal flaire are fairly popular but none of them quite have the same creepy and yet riveting atmosphere as the Gimli Hospital. It’s dark and at times intensely creepy but at times it has a bit of razzmatazz slapstick.

Some scenes are filled with characters babaliese with a gentle overture and smooth poetic voice overs. Juxtaposed with the harsh black and white shadowy photography that flickers as if lit by candle, the film “feels” scary but nothing will jump out at you.. Apart from some of the most bizarre but engaging cinema you’ve ever seen.

It’s impossible to guess what’s coming next and there’s no sense in trying to look for themes, it’s erratic but yet at the same time you begin to expect the unexpected. The imagery is pretty powerful, from buttock bloody manly wrestling (not like that you fiend) and milk dripping from the ceiling of the hospital, there’s a deep motherly aspect that runs throughout the film but if you didn’t guess it’s in the strangest way.

Guy Maddin seems like a pretty laid back normal guy, and has a very fine tuned appreciation of film and the arts.It really shows in his works, the detailed attention and courageous scenes are out of bounds with what it usually attempted to be shown on film. Definitely not something easily forgotten and certainly something new, no matter what you’ve seen in the past.

Rating: 7/10

R: Eraserhead (1977), Archangel (1990), the Heart of the World (2000)

A: Where’s the fish a short and incomplete guide to surrealist cinema Vol. 1

 

Naked Lunch (1991)

Director: David Cronenberg
Based on – Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
Starring: Peter Welller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider. Canada, Japan, UK. 1h 55m

This bold, Kafkaesque putrid remake of the legendary novel by William S Burroughs, is possibly as vivid and imaginative as the original book, but if you’ve read the book you’ll realise that no film could ever really be a true adaptation, so the screenplay is a metatextual adaption. Detailing characters and scenes from a complex novel and other works from Burroughs, both fictional and from his journal and the events which lead to the 1951 death of Joan Vollmer, Burroughs’s common law wife.  So while it’s not entirely Naked Lunch, it should at least FEEL like Naked lunch and at times it feels a lot like Burroughs but slightly more coherent.

As a surreal autobiographic piece the film follows the life of William Lee, who is basically Burroughs, a bug exterminator who discovers his wife is stealing his insecticide and using it to get high. Lee is arrested and starts hallucinating because of his exposure to the powder. Believing that he’s a secret agent  he beings a strange relationship with two handlers, one is a insect typewriter and an alien “Mugwump“. The typewriter assigns him a mission of killing Joan, she’s allegedly an agent of an organization called “Interzone”, Lee dismisses this notion but on returning home he finds Joan having sex with a friend and kills her, inadvertently carrying out the mission, he flees to interzone, a city in North Africa where he spends his time writing reports to his handlers, this slowly becomes the Naked Lunch book and after taking more mind altering drugs and getting a new typewriter, a Clark Nova, this insect  stresses that he needs to find Dr Benway by seducing Joan Frost who’s a doppelganger of his dead wife and then things get really weird, and with the addition of a drug that is made from a centipede. Continue reading Naked Lunch (1991)

Howls (2011)

Director: Jamie Tracey.
Starring. J.J Gallo, Nick Smyth, Jamie  Traey. Canada. 1h 15m.

A muted drama with a dark undercurrent.  A group of guys are spending time together chilling in a cabin located in the Canadian wilderness, when the dog gets lose, all three guys head out to track her down but while the roam around the the forest they soon realise that they are being stalked.

For the most part of the film Paul (Gallo) and George (Smyth) search for the dog, there is a third friend who’s with them for a short while but he returns to the cabin early on and from what I understand this character is the Director Jamie Tracey?  The two guys have many a heart to heart while getting lost in the woods. With their friendship in question they pull apart and soon club together for safety, finally realising how much they mean to each other, but this bromance is in question when they notice something is tracking them, a dark figure looming vaguely in the background, “was that a bear?”. With limited ammunition and only the one rifle between them they do their best to make it back to the cabin alive. Continue reading Howls (2011)

Conspiracy (2012)

Director: Christopher MacBride.

Starring. Aaron Poole, James Gilbert  Canada. 1h 24m.

Usually found footage movies are cheap and easy to make, often addressing unusual subjects and laced with fears and shocks. Conspiracy has all of these elements along with a convincing storyline with an unusual compelling ending

The film starts with Aaron and James mocking a guy on YouTube who spends his days trapsing around  with a box, a loud speaker and a board of information, and spends his days proclaiming various conspiracy theories, while James is happily laughing at him, Aaron is intrigued by the amount of people in the comments agreeing with him (along with the usual YouTube troll patrols). It’s clear that Aaron and James are both playing “themselves” and that Aaron is the (Mulder) believer while James (Skully) is totally sceptical about all of this but he tags along for this documentary. Continue reading Conspiracy (2012)

Black Mountainside (2014)

Director: Nick Szostakiwkyj
Starring: Shane Twerdun, Michael Dickson, Carl Toftfelt, Marc Anthony Williams, Andrew Moxham, Timothy Lyle, Steve Bradley. Canada. 1h  39m

Like a creepy love letter to John Carpenter’s; The Thing (1982) from a methed out HP Lovecraft, Black Mountain assembles a dark story the slowly gets more sinister until a bleak but strong ending.

Much like the thing, there are a small crew working in harsh icy conditions of Northern Canada, but this team are a group of archaeologists who uncover an ancient structure and some artifacts which date around the last ice age, perplexed by the date of the objects and in wonderment of the people who crafted them, the men continue to investigate and study the pieces but their presence spook the native members of the crew who quickly abandon them then their communications fail and their supplies are cut off, but this is the least of their problems. Continue reading Black Mountainside (2014)

XX (2017)

Director: Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, Karyn Kusama
Starring: A bunch of people.. Canada/USA. 1h 20m

Horror anthologies can be a lot of fun, what could be wrong with a collection of thrilling stories that aim to excite, shock and thrill? Usually there is little to connect the stories apart from a wrap around. But the delight in XX is that it’s a female themed horror anthology, made by women possibly for women..it’s aim is to show that girls can make horror that is just as good if not better than the boys, but instead we have a few short films which seem to revolve around some incredibly boring women and inconsistently moan about motherhood.

Horror is generally seen as a male orientated genre and this hit back was disappointedly weak. Each segment has its moments and there’s absolutely no problem with the direction and production, but if XX is trying to make some kind of statement then it failed to make it clear.

Beginning with some artistic flare from the work of Mexican stop-motion animation artist Sofia Carrillo, who makes the wrap around that consists of a small critter that travels around a run down house slowly putting pieces together to make a child, tits just another peg in the films woman role board, all the characters are mother, caretakers etc. Continue reading XX (2017)

Braven (2018)

Director: Lin Oeding
Starring: Jason Momoa,Stephen Lang, Zahn McClarnon,Jill Wagner, Brendan Fletcher, Sasha Rossof, Garret Dillahunt. USA/Canada. 1h 39m

After the massive successes of his many roles as a  hero, marvel super or otherwise, it’s not strange to see Jason Momoa being brave in a range of other roles, his name will attract an audience no matter what he does now and despite being typecast this movie had the right name but it’s a bit of a dumb flop of a film but we get to see Momoa running around in the snow chucking axe’s at people, so it’s not a total loss. Continue reading Braven (2018)