Toronto, ON – Canadian horror movies rarely make it onto the curriculum for Canadian cinema studies, but nevertheless they occupy an important place in the canon. From The Mask, released in 1961, to the Resident Evil franchise, Canadian horror movies have broken new ground and box office records. The Mask was the first Canadian feature to be successfully released in the U.S.; Resident Evil: Afterlife became the highest-grossing Canadian movie worldwide. And while Canadian horror might be the orphan child of academia, it lives and thrives online and elsewhere. There are film festivals like Toronto After Dark and Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival and others that include the latest Canadian films from the dark side, as well as multiple websites dedicated to the genre and its fan base appears alive and well, at least in cyberspace.
I have chosen a sampling of 13 vintage and recent Canadian films for your Halloween viewing pleasure, from Bob Clark’s perennial favourite, Black Christmas, which some consider the first “slasher” film, to David Cronenberg’s early works, which earned him the reputation as the “Baron of Blood,” to the offbeat zombie films Fido and Pontypool, to werewolves (Ginger Snaps), ghouls (Silent Hill) and demons from Hell (The Gate) — a veritable smorgasbord of fright, blood and gore. So warm up the DVD player or order from your favourite VOD supplier and enjoy.
(My own personal favourite, David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, is the director’s masterful re-imaging of the 1958 original. Although it was shot in Toronto with Cronenberg’s regular creative team, it was financed by American producer/comedian Mel Brooks and does not qualify as a Canadian film.)