Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Pure Canadian Horror" (aka "Extreme Canadian Horror") DVD

This 5-film set (on one disc, no less) has more to offer than expected, luckily, especially as it took 7+ hours to sift through it all!  In truth, there are some decent and imaginative indie flicks here.

"Abolition" (director: Mike Kiasson) begins the set, and holds up with some well-done cinematography. The story revolves around a troubled man named Joshua who, as it turns out, is both a prophet and a murderer. This one features a charismatic and memorable appearance by horror legend Reggie Bannister ("Phantasm"), which helps the cause, too. The movie seems to drag a bit, but I give it credit for having some subtlety and direction.

"Aegri Somnia" (director: James Rewucki) is a Lynch/Aranofsky-inspired art/horror film that follows a reclusive loner named Edgar whose social anxieties lead him into madness and ultimately to face his own personal "demons". It's another technically well-done film with some fine cinematography and a keen, artful visual sense.

"Long Pigs" (director: Chris Power) is a faux-documentary whereas a pair of young filmmakers are granted access to record the daily activities of a cannibalistic serial killer. There's plenty of grisly gore here, and some entertaining moments of black comedy.

"I Heart Doomsday" (director: Patrick Downing) comes close to suckness, but pulls through with an unusual charm. This is a weird little story of a nerdy, backward, and megalomaniacal "scientist" who invents of robotic version of himself to woo a beautiful woman (the stunning Christine Ghawi). The plan backfires as she falls for the robot. Sound silly? It is, as are the dirt-cheap effects and sets. But beyond the superficial aspects, this movie has heart, and with bigger production values, it could be a winner.

Finally, there's "Werewolf Fever" (director: Brian Singleton), which drops the bomb altogether. This tongue-in-cheek splatstick is set in a small-town Kingburger fast food restaurant, where a late-night delivery is interrupted by a bad case of lycanthropy. Trouble is, "Werewolf Fever" isn't amusing, only tedious. This is plainly a bad movie.

So, horror in Canada is pretty alive and kicking. There are some fun (albeit raw) moments here, so die-hard horror aficionados will surely find something of value. (R Squared Films)

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