Canada Day may be over, but the current heat wave gives you a great excuse to huddle indoors and keep the celebration going with some quality Canuck cinema. Cure your Canada Day hangover with five Northern delights, as chosen by Valeska and Joe.
American Mary (2012)
A cutting feminist masterpiece by the Soska sisters, American Mary features Ginger Snaps star Katherine Isabelle as an accomplished young surgeon with a prodigious talent for revenge. A dark and demented journey into the body modification underworld, this underrated and understated classic deserves repeat viewings. Come for the odd surgical procedures, stay for the hardcore feminist message.
The Brood (1979)
Made in the wake of David Cronenberg’s divorce, this meditation on motherhood and marriage is achingly personal. Frank Carveth (Canadian cinema staple Art Hindle) is in the midst of a messy divorce and custody battle with Nola (Samantha Eggar), who has fallen under the spell of Dr Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) and his radical new form of psychiatry. The process enables Nola to physically manifest her anger in the form of deformed children who kill the subjects of her ire, but the true horror is the dissolution of the nuclear family in all of its nightmare body-horror spectacle.
Fido is a Canadian horror-comedy-drama with a retro 50s post-apocalyptic flavour, a candy-pop palette, and a lot of heart. In a world where the walking undead have been domesticated and commodified, a suburban family’s seemingly idyllic existence is belied and challenged when two of its members form meaningful attachments to their household zombie. Perfect for the gore-averse.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
This 80s slasher makes up for its low budget with an abundance of hometown charm. Set in the fictitious town of Valentine’s Bluff, a group of young miners discover that the urban legend about a murderous miner abandoned during a Valentine’s Day party are true when he wreaks vengeance on them. Shot on location in a real-life Newfoundland mine, this iconic Tax Shelter Era slasher has memorable characters and plenty of atmosphere.
Bruce McDonald’s engrossing pseudo-zombie chamber drama invites multiple interpretations and is sure to inspire some great conversations after the credits roll. As a linguistic plague hit the small Ontario town of Pontypool, radio host Grant Mazzy (a wonderfully grizzled Stephen McHattie), his producer Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle), and technical assistant Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly) struggle to make sense of the strange reports coming from outside the studio. The film’s less-is-more approach rewards imagination, while still providing ample nightmare fuel. Semiotics has never been SO scary!
What’s your favourite Canadian horror film? Let us know on Twitter @aoas_xx or leave us a comment!