Top Ten Canadian Horror Films

Happy Canada 150, my fellow proud Canadians and adoring non-Canadians! Here are my favorite scary Canuck movies to watch after the fireworks, or hungover the next morning, accompanied by Canada’s top snacks.

BROOD, THE

10. The Brood  (1979)

930975_orig930975_orig

One of four Cronenburg and sons films on the list, it’s about a woman driven by her psychologist to do some pretty strange things, among them, lead a brood of lumpy lawn gnome look-alikes. The skin sack is a hard image to forget, so you may want to have a couple 2-4s and mickeys on hand.

Canadian Snack: Watch a woman lick her bloody baby while you nosh on some flavour-packed Lays ketchup chips and guzzle down a spicy Caesar with a green bean.

Review here

Trailer here

 

 

terror-train

9. Terror Train (1980)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

A satisfying New Year’s Eve slasher movie about med students at a costume party held on a train who are killed off by a masked murderer. What a kerfuffle with everyone stuck on that train. Better grab your toques and runners and get a move on.

Canadian Snack: In order to stay up past midnight you’re going to need some caffeine. But since we’re on a moving train, better reach for a Coffee Crisp instead.

Review here

Trailer here

8510477_f520

8. The Fly (1986)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis are surrounded by a hefty helping of that goopy, slimy, eighties blood and gore. It’s pretty much every superhero story, without the superhero part, leaving just- man turns into fly, and it doesn’t go too well.

Canadian Snack: If there’s one thing that flies like, it’s sugar. So give them what they want in a sweet, buttery treat: the butter tart.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

blackxmas12

7. Black Christmas (1974)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

This is a film about a woman calling for her cat, Claude… I mean… it’s about sorority girls trapped in a house with a mystery killer. And also Christmas! So it’s snowing and no one is really around to help. Better than the 2006 version by a million kilometres, but not necessarily thrilling.

Canadian Snack: Our country doesn’t really have much to do with Christmas dinner, so instead, grab a Tims double double with a maple-glazed donut for breakfast.

Review here

Trailer here

 

 

deadringers_1988_davidcronenberg

6. Dead Ringers (1988)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie about twin gynecologists addicted to drugs, both played by Jeremy Irons? I generally dislike it when a movie is two or more hours long, but I didn’t mind it in this case. Felt like I was just watching a few episodes in a row of Twin Peaks. It’s labeled as a drama / horror / thriller, but it doesn’t have the typical tension of a horror or thriller; I found it heavy on the drama end.

Canadian Snack: Nothing goes better together than a Montreal-style bagel and Montreal smoked meat.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

file_566144_antiviral-movie-review_05192012_171124

5. Antiviral (2012)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

A film about a business that offers diseases (carried by celebrities) to the public, in order to allow the fans to feel closer to the famous person they’re obsessed with. So strange, and so creative with such a fantastically interesting lead character played by Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out). Lots of drug hazes, needles galore, and so many blood-soaked white things that even Tide couldn’t clean.

Canadian Snack: Some good ole fashioned brand-name KD with a dollop of ketchup. The Canadian way.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

cube2

4. Cube (1997)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

Out of the three Cube movies, the first has the best ending- with a twist. A group of people are trapped in a room-filled structure, where each room has a different violent booby-trap waiting for them.

Canadian Snack: We’re too hip to be square, but a homemade nanaimo bar is to die for, and angular enough to accompany this franchise.

Review here

Trailer here

3. American Mary (2012)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

A revenge flick about a med student turned underground body modifier is American only by title.

Canadian Snack: To go with the American theme, believe it or not, the popular sushi order, California roll, was invented by a Japanese sushi chef who moved to Vancouver in the seventies.

Review here

Trailer here

2. Ginger Snaps (2000) 

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

Good things come in threes, but the original of the well-known Canadian trilogy is the best. Nothing beats some simplistic teen werewolf angst, eh?

Canadian Snack: Unfortunately, ginger snaps aren’t really Canadian, so instead how bout some Chinese food? Surprisingly, ginger beef was invented right here in Calgary, AB. I think a werewolf would prefer meat over cookies anyway.

Review here

Trailer here

silenthill_film

1. Silent Hill (2006)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

This dreamlike fantasy horror about a mother searching for her daughter in an eerie, ash-covered town gets the top spot. This fantastic goth film is an adaptation of a survival video game and couldn’t have been done better. Around every turn is a mysterious creature, its details creatively imagined. I’d pay a lot of loonies and twoonies to see this at the theatre in 3D.

Canadian Snack: The number one spot deserves nothing but the number one Canadian food. So versatile and comforting, you can’t do better than a proper poutine.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

 

BONUS! The legendary tv show, Are You Afraid of the Dark, is of course, also Canadian.

Looking for more? Try Pontypool, Hobo With a Shotgun, Pin, The Changeling, Videodrome, The Shrine, Prom Night. 

Film Face Off: Fright Night

Tonight, two films of the same name are up against each other. The classic eighties version, and the more recent, 2011 remake. Vampire entertainment at its best!

fright-night-3

Fright Night (1985)

Score: 4/10

This teen thriller starts off with some inspiring and suspicious 80s tunes, and then all of a sudden, thirty minutes through… BAM! the vampire changes and confrontations are already happening. It’s the classic premise for any Goosebumps or Bailey School Kids book- a vampire is living next door! This film also includes the longest ever vampire sex dance, followed by a lengthy retro love bite scene. Unfortunately, Dude just doesn’t do it for me- as a regular guy or an idiotic looking vampire. Each vampire’s teeth look more dumb than the last, and I’m not a fan of any horror movies over an hour and a half (I’ll only let Stephen King get away with it), but it’s all worth it, because the end is full of over-the-top amazingly bad CGI, and a fantastic green slimy goop vampire melting scene.

 

vampire-jerry-big

Fright Night (2011)

Score:4/10

The second does good as a remake, using lots of the same bits from the original, including the many pointed and jagged little vampire-monster teeth. Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette are fun and relatable characters, and really aid douchey Colin Farrell as the vampire who enjoys face-posing after sucking blood. I didn’t love macburger as the turned-friend. He just wasn’t the right balance of likeable and killable. The CGI used was silly and almost 90’s-style, but I didn’t hate it. I’m not sure what other options there were for this type of movie, really. It’s great around Halloween when you want a light movie to watch with your teenage sister.

In conclusion…

In a rare twist, I gave these two movies released almost thirty years apart the same score. Both cheesy and fun, both barely watchable, with the exception of Halloween night. The remake is just that- a remake, but I liked that about it, as I doubt many of the kids watching it today have ever even seen the original, and for the rest of us, it’s the nostalgia we wanted.

Aside

I am avoiding (for now) all the films in between and choosing the winner of the unlucky slasher flicks! The one that started it all versus a recent remake.

9915509d8f43633020bf947cd949233f

Friday the 13th (1980), The Original

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham (producer of House, Last House on the Left, and several of the Jason films)

Length: 95

Rated: X

This is the film that spawned 11 other Jason-filled slasher flicks, which is pretty impressive in itself. Maybe they’re going for 13 in the franchise, but it’s hard to believe this classic horror will not be remade again and again for all eternity. Not surprisingly, the original has the highest rating of the series, but Part VI: Jason Lives is not far behind. I believe this may also be where one of the first chh-chh-chh hahh-hahh-hahh’s was heard. It has your classic violin symphony death-scenes, your freeze-frames, and Kevin Bacon in a Speedo. The deaths are quick like a band-aid being ripped off, and the story is really as simple as: a psychotic murderer attacks camp counsellors, seeking revenge for an accident that happens years ago. And the movie industry was changed forever. If you haven’t seen this yet, be warned: Jason, the killer, doesn’t really appear until the second movie. Jason’s appearance in this film is short-lived and pretty cheesy.

Score: 5.5/10 (minus 1/2 point due to the chalkboard-clawing music and sound effects)

 

 

friday_the13th01

Friday the 13th (2009), The Modern Remake 30 Years Later

Directed by: Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2003)

Length: 97

Rated: R

This more recent Jason film is produced by the original’s director, and is made to continue from his story. In this version, a bunch of idiot young adults are looking for a marijuana growth in the forest and stumble across the old, closed-down cabins of Crystal Lake. Jason, the disfigured child, is all grown up now, and apparently still lives amongst the cabins, and now has an opportunity to kill again. He kills the visitors, and then a few years later a new group arrives to search for the old missing group. At this point I’m beginning to wonder who the actual camp counsellors were that let Jason “die” and why I’ve never really seen that play out. And good ole Jason has clearly visited Canada somewhere in between as he goes from wearing a burlap mask to the famous hockey mask you are used to. This film features teen characters that die that I don’t care about, upon teen characters that die that I don’t care about. I’m not really sure why the movie was done the way it was. It really should have been kept simple without all the layers. I can only take so many disposable characters dying in totally random ways.

Score: 3.5/10

 

Verdict: Surprise surprise, the original wins. Mostly because it stuck with the same group of people and I slightly cared about them. The story and background could have been more developed, but I enjoyed the psycho-mom more than the generic Jason, though I was glad to see him. Especially in the remake’s last scare scene.

Love Jason and the Friday the 13th films? There’s a TV series announced for 2017. More info here.

Film Face-off: Friday the 13th, Old vs New

The Uninvited (2009)

Score: 5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, psychological, murderer, ghost, cabin, almost-horror

I didn’t realize until almost the very end of this movie, that it was an American remake of A Tale of Two Sisters, a film I watched less than two weeks ago. I picked up on the sister twist early on, but these two movies felt so different, perhaps because this one was so easy to follow. This version feels like it’s more of a thriller-drama, and I really missed the closeness between the sisters that was in the original Korean film. This one gets a lower score because of both the lack intimacy and lack of horror. Funny enough, I’ve even actually seen this movie before. I knew I had, but I couldn’t remember it, and movies such as this one is the whole reason I started writing this blog- so I wouldn’t accidentally watch the same movie twice. The title really has nothing to do with anything at all, it seems a better fit for a vampire movie. These films of different names both focus around psychology and ghosts, which you’d assume is a good combination, but the all the scary parts of psychology are somehow numbed by the supernatural plot line. I mean, I believe in ghosts, but there’s something different about diseases of the mind, it’s a different type of scary. This film is about a girl who returns from an institution to live with her dad and his girlfriend who she blames for the fire that killed her mother. Along with her sister, she fights to prove an evil history of murder and adultery is to blame for her series of unfortunate events.

See the review for A Tale of Two Sisters here: https://earlymorninghorrorreviews.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/a-tale-of-two-sisters-2003/

 

photo credit: http://moviemansguide.com

Top Ten Movies Of 2015 I’m Still Looking Forward To Seeing

I’ve seen a lot of new movies this year, but in October I fell a little behind, and there are still a lot of great ones left that I’d like to conquer. In the time I took to get this list together, I could have probably watched all of these movies, but that’s how I roll. In no particular order, here’s a list of the films I’m still looking forward to from this year.

Anya-Taylor-Joy-in-The-Witch

The Witch

category: supernatural indie era 

level of excitement to see it: I’m a sucker for originality, and I feel like this one is going to deliver, so I’m very much looking forward to it

stars: new actors you haven’t heard of

A Sundance selection, this independent history-horror set in the 1600’s is about sorcery, family, and tension. The trailer doesn’t give away much, but it looks like it’s full of unease and uncertainty, and that’s attention-grabbing in itself. I’m interested in unlocking the mystery, but will surely have to be in a cold, grey mood before diving into this one.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQXmlf3Sefg

 

christmas-horror-story

Krampus or A Christmas Horror Story

category: holiday fun

level of excitement to see it: I wouldn’t want to watch either after Christmas so there’s limited time to see these ridiculous yuletide monsterpieces

stars: Adam Scott, Toni Collette / William Shatner

I’m cheating a little here, but there are two Krampus movies this year, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I’ll probably watch both and have a theme night of it. In case you didn’t know, Krampus is a goat-headed Christmas demon from folklore. This character has been hidden from the movie scene until recently, for unknown reasons. Neither of this movies look exceptional, but holiday horrors are rare, and this might make for a great face-off review.

trailer: Krampus  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6cVyoMH4QE

A Christmas Horror Story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSSSUbB-mYk

 

c31cf43fed4f468cf40842be4afba317baee2861.jpg__620x348_q85_crop_subject_location-816,213_upscale

Nina Forever 

category: it’s been done 

level of excitement to see it: it’s there if I need it

stars: new, Irish-named actors you haven’t heard of

This one doesn’t seem so original. In fact, it sounds a lot like Life After Beth. It looks a lot like a bunch of sex had in a bloody bed. No, no one is having their period, it’s just a dead ex-girlfriend who appears during deed-doing. I’m not dying to see this one, but it’s worth a glance.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IokJt_05co

 

the_final_girls_still

The Final Girls

category: horror comedy film within a film

level of excitement to see it: silly, girly, scary- I couldn’t ask for much more

stars: Taissa Farmiga from AHS,  Malin Akerman from mediocre comedies

Here’s our comedic relief of the year-end! It’s got a chunky story, but none of the parts are that original. It’s an Oh Henry! bar. A girl and her friends get trapped in a film from the eighties- and her mom is the star! The goal is to beat the machete maniac and be the final girls standing. Sounds like a fun movie to watch at a grown-up sleepover wearing onesies and drinking Winter Ale.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zreNh78kTjg

 

maxresdefault (1)

Cooties

category: zombies in school

level of excitement to see it: this better be good as I’m not thrilled to watch another film of the flesh-eating genre

stars: Elijah Wood!!! and Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill

This movie has been out for awhile, but I’ve already had my fall flu and I don’t want to jinx it. It’s the made-up virus from your childhood come to life, but it’s from the perspective of the teachers. The staff try desperately to fight off children-zombies, and it seems super fun and hilarious, but I am reeeeallly over the zombie thing. This movie will put me at my limit, so hopefully it’s worth it. Let me work it.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzJVA0KWljk

 

15459-2-1100

The Hallows

category: a bed time story to give you nightmares

level of excitement to see it: I can’t miss a rare opportunity like this, and it’s a great film to watch before bed

stars: Bojana Novakovic from Devil, Joseph Mawle (you’d recognize his face)

The Hallows, also known by its other boring title, The Woods, is a film about Irish folklore- fairies, banshees, and the like. I can’t imagine this being too good, but it’s not often that we get any horror fairy tales, so I’m going to watch it anyway and like it more than 100% of the shaky-cam movies that I refuse to watch. I can only hope and pray that there’s little to no CGI and the plot isn’t full of holes. Here’s to the fae!

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH3NCjfr7n4

 

HiveFeat

The Hive

category: memories and bad blood

level of excitement to see it: I could skip it, but I’ll give it a shot

stars: up and coming kids you’ve never heard of

You’d think this movie would be about bees, but it’s actually a psychological infected-by-a-virus thriller. (If you want bees, try Stung, which I’ll also watch eventually.) The trailer isn’t very revealing, but there seems to be a lot of choking on black blood and it’s reminiscent of the latest Evil Dead. The film is also from the producers of Saw so it can’t be that bad, but I have a feeling the romance side of things is going to get a little too mushy (not in a smashed brains way) for my liking.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdd4UaiJJg

 

tale of tales_edit-xlarge

A Tale of Tales

category: fantasy fantastic 

level of excitement to see it: I don’t have high hopes but I’m very excited to see how it compares to Crimson Peak

stars: Salma Hyek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Reily

This one is all imagination breathed through fashion and set design, and I’m actually quite surprised it’s labelled as a horror. Makes me think- is Game of Thrones a horror? This is film of three stories (as made pretty obvious by the title) that tell of the kingdom staples: intricate and colourful costumes, grotesque fable beasts, and of course, pale, young, naked girls. I doubt it’s going to bring any scares, but I wouldn’t mind adding another dreamlike storybook fiction movie to the list. Salma also goes hard on a really big bloody heart.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3hVmpGzl7A

 

circle-the-machine-setting

Circle

category: sci fi game

level of excitement to see it: I’m thrilled to be thrilled

stars: Julie Benz (from Dexter and Saw V)

This looks like a contender for my Top Ten Strangers in a Small Room list. I am so pleased that there’s another game show horror flick coming out. Fifty people are trapped in a room unable to move from the circle. Each person dies until one is left. This one looks different from the rest as there are way more people and surprisingly, children are involved.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAlpm2oRzy8

 

Maya-Pakistani-Horror-Movie-Official-Theatrical-Trailer-2015

Maya

category: fear-free ghosts with subtitles 

level of excitement to see it: it’s been awhile since I’ve seen an Indian film, so I’m looking forward to it

stars: two actors that each only go by one name so they must be special- Nayantara,  Aari

I’m sure there’s a bunch of really great Korean or Japanese or French horror films from 2015 out there that I could be picking (suggest them to me!), but I’ve decided to go with one of the (probably) five Indian horror attempts this year. This movie seems quite Westernized, so some of the magical cheese I love is missing, but it still looks like a true-to-heart Bollywood ghost story. It’s also got great spooky settings- a dark forest, an asylum, and lots of shadowy rooms and buildings. One thing I’ve never missed from an Indian movie is a fantastic story, but I’m not expecting to be scared.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x43dvfqYSE

 

photo credits: sundance.org, youtube.com, fatmovieguy.com, ew.com, clickmaza.com, filmfad.com,

telegraph.co.uk, nerdist.com, cdn4.thr.com, gamesradar.com,slashfilm.com

 

Sorority Row (2009)

Score: 4/10

Length: 101

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, remake, girly

Seen Jawbreaker? This is a less awesome, but more horror-packed version. One of those slasher movies that relies heavily on how stupid the killer story is. I didn’t guess who it was, but the killer and their story were in fact, stupid. The girls did a decent acting job for a bunch of sorority girls and the film featured all the things you’d expect from the title- beer bongs, boobs, and douchey asshole frat boys.There were maybe too many characters and it ran a little too long but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. Lots of kills and thrills, but still you’re everyday cliche slasher.

photo credit: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/it/archive/c/ca/20100227170633!Sorority_Row.jpg

Poltergeist (2015)

Score: 4.5/10* (+1 for being in 3D)

Length: 93

Language: English

Categories: recent. 2000s, remake, ghost, haunted house

This was the best Goosebumps episode I’ve ever seen! I mean… it was okay for a horror movie. It was super fun and entertaining to watch, but they missed a few of the best parts of the original and it all seemed to happen too quickly. It unfortunately had one of my most hated movie flaws- characters under-reacting to an insane situation. I also didn’t love how the very very end of the movie was put together- it was just lazy with excess film. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the effects and the imagination behind how the “otherworld closet”  was done. The acting wasn’t too painful, excusing the ho-hum reactions issue. You really have to go into this wanting to have a good time at the movies as opposed to wanting to be actually scared. The tension is short-lived, and this remake of a classic poltergeist story is just like the original in many ways- it’s cheesy, a great time, and when you watch it again years later, it won’t be as good as you remembered it.

* 10/10 if it was a Goosebumps episode

photo credit: http://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/2015/02/Poltergeist.jpg