Normally a polite and unassuming country, Canada has somehow managed to produce more than its fair share of cult films.
From the early works of David Cronenberg, through the tax-sheltered Canucksploitation of the 1970s and ‘80s, and on to the direct-to-DVD schlock of Uwe Boll, we've been a reliable haven of low-budget horror for forty years.
To celebrate the often-overlooked genre, the non-profit Shivers Film Society is organizing the CanadaDrome/Shivers Film Festival, a day-long extravaganza of modern Canadian cult films. In the first of many such planned events, the society will offer something for nearly every horror fan—from straight-up terror to black comedy, and from suspense to gore.
Not to mention a little patriotic pride. With the goal of exposing new audiences to the works and influence of Canadian filmmakers, the festival’s diverse program aims to prove that The Great White North can shock and scare with the best of them.
For full-length feature films, CanadaDrome offers up the 1997 fan favorite Cube, the debut film of Toronto director Vincenzo Natali (Splice). Part horror and part science fiction, the action follows a disparate group as they try to escape from a maze of cube-shaped rooms. A tense psychological experience, the world of Cube is filled with danger from without and within the group, as tempers—and personalities—flare.
There’s also Bong of the Dead, from local writer-director Thomas Newman. Dubbed “The Citizen Kane of stoner-buddy-zombie movies” by the Peace Arch News, the film documents the adventures of two potheads who discover that zombie brains make good fertilizer for their B.C. Bud. Plenty of gore—and weed jokes—follow.
CanadaDrome will also feature the Canadian theatrical premieres of two new locally-shot short films. The first is Hike, a gripping thriller from writer-director Jennifer Campbell that looks at what can go wrong when two people try to get back to nature. Not everything is as it seems, and, as we all know, a lot of bad things can happen when you’re alone in the woods.
There’s also Kody Zimmerman’s The Familiar, a dark comedy which explores just exactly what it means to be a vampire’s human assistant. While movies like Twilight make vampirism seem romantic and mysterious, the truth is that there’s actually a lot of drudgery—not to mention unpleasantness—involved.
CanadaDrome will take place Sunday (January 27) at the Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe Street). $12 gets you admission to all four movies and a Q&A with local filmmakers, plus a yearlong membership in the Shivers Film Society. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., and the action starts at 1 p.m.