Ten Great And Nerdy Canadian Films

By Kyle LeClair in Daily Lists, Movies
Monday, July 1, 2013 at 6:00 am

5. Black Christmas

It kind of goes without saying that it'd be a pretty boneheaded move to leave one of the the true pioneers of slasher flicks off of this list. Some of you young 'uns may just see a simple tale about a bunch of sorority girls and the old tale about a killer in the attic, but oh, did director Bob Clark make it into something so much more. Simple, dark, and tense with a completely insane, merciless and never-seen killer, and filled with a talented cast of characters with a lot of personality (including a scene-stealing, foul-mouthed Margot Kidder), Black Christmas has straight up earned its rank as a horror classic over the years.

There's even a nice dose of black humor in it all (pun not intended), which helps provide a contrast to the utter creepiness expertly created by the mysterious killer with no identity, background or motive other than "murder and mental torture for fun", dark atmosphere, killer POV, and the fact that the film was based off of real-life Quebec murders, giving you the feeling that this type of horror could actually happen to you. Meaning you could one day find yourself being asphyxiated by a plastic bag mere minutes after getting a phone call consisting of nothing but violent pig noises. Merry Christmas!

4. Fido

So remember the epilogue to Shaun of the Dead? Where after a zombie uprising, humanity just decides to try re-integrating zombies back into humanity my keeping them around for manual labor? Well, swap "modern-day Britain" with "semi-dystopian alternate universe 1950s suburbia" and you basically have the world of Fido. Simple as that. When young Timmy Robinson (oh, of course his name is Timmy), finds himself actually befriending the new zombie his mom brings home as their new help, a special bond is formed that will last a lifetime...or until Fido's safety collar malfunctions and he devours an old lady, leading to a potential zombie outbreak.

And thus begins Fido and Timmy's adventure to save their friendship, which thankfully involves one of the most creative and clever zombie and sci-fi flicks in recent memory, with a ton of great humor, wit, terrific performances a little bit of heartwarming moments, great use of the '50s backdrop, and an all-around damn terrific adventure. Oh, and Carrie-Anne Moss as one of the hottest '50s housewives imaginable. You're welcome, guys.

3. Strange Brew

When iconic Canadian hosers Bob and Doug McKenzie graced the silver screen in 1983 with what would be their magnum opus, truly it was our Shakespeare...I mean that literally, because as discussed earlier, Strange Brew is largely an adaptation of Hamlet in several areas. Yes, a version of Hamlet...that just happens to involve Max von Sydow developing mind-controlling beer by testing it on violent hockey games starring mental patients while being haunted by cyber-ghosts and having to deal with two new employees at the brewery who found a mouse in their beer. You know, like the Bard always wanted to do all along.

So yeah, this is definitely a film that goes completely off the wall, and in all of the best ways possible. Jam-packed with several clever and hilarious moments and a pair of unsurprising and killer performances by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, Strange Brew is a quirky cult delight guaranteed to get a smile out of even the most cold-hearted bastard...oh, and it has super-powered beer-drinking dogs in it. Can't forget about that, ya know.

2. Cube

Way before an insane cancer patient and his puppet started to force people to hack their limbs off in order to save their lives, we had seven strangers mysteriously locked in an entire maze of giant, identical, booby-trapped cubes. They don't know a damn thing about each other; all they know is that they need to seek a way out before they all starve to death. One of the most simplistic sci-fi and horror films ever dreamed up, consisting of only seven actors, one cube (used over and over), and a handful of free special effects, it's also one of the most creative and enjoyable ones as well, backed up by a talented cast and a creepy, mysterious setting that helps create the feelings of paranoia doused throughout every single six-sided speck.

What aids even more is how little we know about the cube, adding to the mystery and eerieness of it all. We don't fully know what the cube is, why it was made, who was behind it all, what the point of the whole experiment is, and we certainly don't know of any inferior sequels that try to explain everything and spoil the mystery. Nope. Nosiree.

1. Videodrome

Okay, let's not kid ourselves: This list could've easily been filled out by ten David Cronenberg films alone (well, save for the purely American ones like The Fly), so in the interest of fairness, I decided to limit the amount of Cronenberg on this list down to one film. And while some of you are no doubt whipping out the ol' pitchforks & torches for not picking your favorite (besides, its not like there were any other Cronenberg films with scenes constantly used around TR), in the end I found myself gravitating towards Videodrome. Possibly one of the most surreal and insane sci-fi films ever created, what begins as James Woods' television station CEO discovering a new TV show devoted to nothing but ultraviolence quickly leads to a journey straight into madness, as Woods gets obsessed with Videodrome to the point where it starts making him hallucinate scenes of weird erotica and body horror, all before leading to the insane truth.

A trippy and twisted look at the then-growing world of cable TV and a bizarre time capsule of the '80s in general, extremely creative, unique, and backed by terrific performances, especially from James Woods...you know what? It just dawned on me that no matter how much crap I type on my keyboard that tries to convince you how awesome Videodrome is, it will never be the same as actually experiencing it in all of its deliriously superb glory. So I'm just gonna end things here, you're gonna track down this film, and you're gonna have a damn good (albeit possibly confusing) time. So happy Canada Day, hail Cronenberg, and LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH.


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