“O Canada! Our home and native land! Tax breaks and incentives that all thy US producers command” and so on..,
Canada. The true north, strong and free and home to more horror movies than you would ever realise. I know this as I live in the glorious city of Vancouver BC. “But I’ve never seen a horror movie set in Vancouver Mr Deadly Movies“. No you haven’t my good lad. But you’d be amazed at the times you’ve watched San Francisco, Seattle, LA, New York, and my personal favourite, unnamed American City on the big screen and the whole thing was shot right here in Hollywood North (that’s Canada in case you drifted). Here’s Deadly Movies’ Top 5 Canadian Horror movies:
My Bloody Valentine (1981): You could easily put Terror Train, Prom Night, or Happy Birthday to Me in here. All four are of similar tone, quality, and success, and oddly enough all made between 1980-81, a real purple patch for Canadian slasher cinema. I’ll go with My Bloody Valentine (uncut) simply for some great kills and a decent boogeyman in The Miner. A very solid 80’s slasher.
4. Deranged (1974): One of the closest cinematic adaptations of the infamous Ed Gein at a time when his crimes were the inspiration for a glut of horror producers. Remarkably made for $200,000 (Canadian!) the film has that dirty, low-brow feel shared by same-year The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact it’s not far-fetched at all to label Deranged Canada’s (little known) answer to TCM. Recognise Ezra Cobb (aka Gein) above? It’s none other than Roberts Blossom, Home Alone‘s Old Man Marley The South Bend Shovel Slayer!
3. The Changeling (1980): The winner of the first ever Genie Award for best feature film. What’s a Genie Award? It’s basically Canada’s Oscar awarded by The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Not bad for a horror movie as the genre is hardly renowned for winning shit from any national academy. Starring George C scott (who also won one of the movie’s seven other Genie’s) this is a seriously spooky haunted house film that’s taught and tense.
2. David Cronenberg’s Shivers (1975), Rabid (1977), The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), and Videodrome (1983): Yeah, yeah It’s a copout, but I found it too hard to make a Canadian Top 5 which wasn’t a Cronenberg Top 5, so I’ll group them all together for the sake of variety (“why didn’t you write a Top 10 instead?” Because that’s why you asshole). This quintuplet of surreal horror delights are, as far as I’m aware, 100% Canadian bacon to boot (unlike say The Fly, a US co-production).
1. Black Christmas (1974): A personal favourite and the standard for holiday horror. Director Bob Clark pulled off a number of casting coups by landing Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, and Margot Kidder. While praise is rightly lavished on Halloween for birthing the modern stalker/slasher, Black Christmas (which predates JC’s classic by four years) certainly laid sturdy foundations. Eerie, unsettling, and engaging.
Admirable mention to The Pit (1981). A totally fucking wacky film that needs to be seen to be believed.