4 Shots From 4 Canadian Horror Films: The Changeling, Prom Night, Videodrome, Cube

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!  Today’s edition for 4 Shots From 4 Films is dedicate to you!

4 Shots From 4 Canadian Horror Films

The Changeling (1980, dir by Peter Medak)

Prom Night (1980, dir by Paul Lynch)

Videodrome (1983, dir by David Cronenberg)

Cube (1997, dir by Vincenzo Natali)

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 1.23 “Shadow Play” (dir by Paul Lynch)

For tonight’s trip into the world of televised horror, we have an episode from a 1986 attempt to revive The Twilight Zone.

This episode is a remake of one of my favorite episodes of the original series, Shadow Play.  That’s the one where the guy is on death row but he says he’s not worried about being executed because he knows he’s just having a reoccuring nightmare.  Of course, this kind of freaks out some of the people around him because, if he’s just having a dream, what happens to them when the dream ends?

While the remake is nowhere near as good as the original, it’s still fairly well done.  Plus, it’s on YouTube and the original isn’t.

This episode was directed by Paul Lynch, the Canadian director who also directed the original Prom Night.


A Movie A Day #41: No Contest (1995, directed by Paul Lynch)

8348-no-contest-0-230-0-345-cropUnder the direction of their leaders, Oz (Andrew “Dice” Cay) and his second-in-command, Ice (Roddy Piper), a diverse group of terrorists have taken the Miss Galaxy contest hostage.  If they don’t receive a ransom of diamonds, they will kill the Miss Galaxy contestants, including the daughter of a powerful senator.  What the terrorists didn’t count on was that the show would be hosted by actress and kick boxer Sharon Bell (Shannon Tweed).  Now, it’s up to Sharon to sneak through a locked-down hotel, killing the terrorists one-by-one.  Her only help comes from a battle-scarred but supportive security officer (Robert Davi) locked outside of the hotel.

No Contest is so much of a rip-off of Die Hard that it almost qualifies as a remake.  (It is probably not a coincidence that Robert Davi appears in both movies.)  Despite being such a blatant rip-off, No Contest is redeemed by the combination of Andrew “Dice” Clay’s Broolyn-accented villainy and a surprisingly convincing performance from Shannon Tweed.  Toss in Roddy Piper and Robert Davi and the end result is one entertaining direct-to-video thriller.

Shannon Tweed’s best film?  No contest.  It’s No Contest.


Horror On TV: Darkroom Season 1 Episode 1&2 “Closed Circuit/Stay Tuned, We’ll Be Right Back” (dir by Rick Rosenthal and Paul Lynch)

While I was looking through YouTube for TV shows to use for this year’s horrorthon, I came across something called Darkroom.  Apparently, Darkroom was a horror anthology series that aired for a few months in 1981.

So, I figured, why not share!

(Apparently, each episode of Darkroom was made up of two thirty-minute stories.  For syndication purposes, it appears that the each 30 minute segment was considered to be a separate episode.)

Below is the first episode of Darkroom!  It originally aired on Nov. 27th, 1981.  In Closed Circuit, an aging anchorman discovers that he’s about to be replaced by a computer.  In Stay Turned, We’ll Be Right Back, a man discovers that his radio can be used to contact the past and must decide whether or not to change history.  The show is introduced and hosted by James Coburn.

Closed Circuit was directed by Rick Rosenthal, who directed Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween II.  Stay Tuned is directed by Paul Lynch, who directed Jamie Lee Curtis in Prom Night.



I Love You, Canada! And here’s six trailers to prove it…

 I think I’ve been a little bit too hard on Canada as of late.  I mean, sure — our northern neighbor did give us Paul Haggis and Vermont.  However, Canada also gave us Degrassi: The Next Generation, Jason Reitman, Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, and my friend Lindsay Dianne.  So, I’m here to say right now: I love Canada!  And in order to show that love, this week’s edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers is dedicated to films produced up in Canada.

1) Sudden  Fury (1975)

I’ve never seen this movie and I don’t know much about it beyond the fact that it was made in Canada.  Looking at the cast list at the end of the trailer, I don’t see any familiar names.  But the trailer fascinates me because it somehow manages to be intriguing and dull at the same time. 

2) Rats (1982)

I haven’t actually seen  this one either and I’m kind of glad for that because seriously, I am scared to death of rats.  I remember this one time when I was little, I was visiting my grandpa’s place in Arkansas and he lived in this big  three-story house out in the country.  And I was sitting out back in this swing when suddenly, this rat jumped out of  a  third story window and it landed right next to the swing and broke its neck and died with its tail twitching as I watched.  I still have nightmares about that.  Anyway, this film is apparently not to be confused with Bruno Mattei’s Rats: The Nights of Terror

3) Humongous (1983)

This is one of the several million slasher films that ended up being made in Canada by American film companies looking for a tax shelter.  Just imagine how much shorter the trailer would have been in the movie had simply been called Huge.  Incidentally, the film was directed by Paul Lynch, the same guy who did the original Prom Night.

4) Fast Company (1979)

Arleigh would never let me live it down if I did a post and didn’t include a trailer for a David Cronenberg film.  So, here you go.  Now, to be honest, this trailer is only interesting if you know that 1) it’s for a film directed by David Cronenberg and that 2) he made this in between making Rabid and The Brood.  Now I know that this trailer probably screams out, “David Cronenberg just needed the work,” but Cronenberg has actually spoken with a good deal of fondness about  this film.  I personally haven’t seen it but I guess if anyone could somehow make a movie about drag racing exciting, it would be David  Cronenberg.

5) Videodrome (1983)

Here’s a more representative example of what we think about when  we think about Cronenberg.

6) Out of the Blue (1980)

Originally, I was going to end this with the 2 Cronenberg films but then I remembered that Dennis Hopper’s Out Of The Blue was a Canadian production and there were simply no way I couldn’t end with that film.  Out of the Blue is, quite simply put, one of the greatest films ever made.  I’ve been meaning to write a review of it for a while now but it’s been difficult for me to know where to begin because, in many ways, viewing Out of the Blue was as much of a personal experience for me as watching Black Swan

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: Prom Night (Directed by Paul Lynch)

As I mentioned in another post, my sister Erin and I spent Tuesday night watching the Killer Party Marathon on Chiller.  One of the movies we saw was the original 1980 Prom Night, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and directed by Paul Lynch.  Prom Night, of course, was remade two years ago with cross-eyed dumbfug Brittany Snow as the star.  If, like me before Tuesday night, you’re only familiar with the tepid and bland remake than the original Prom Night is a surprise indeed.

The original Prom Night is an old school slasher film, one of the many that came out in the two years immediately after Halloween.  It even stars the star of Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis.  Prom Night also stars a lot of Canadians because it was one of the many low-budget B-movies that was made in Canada in the early 80s.  Apparently, Canada was offering tax breaks to film companies willing to shoot up north.  Several web sites have said that the setting is obviously Canadian but I couldn’t really tell.  Of course, I’m from Texas.  Anything above Arkansas looks like Canada to me.

Plotwise, the film is pretty much your traditional old school slasher film.  There’s a terrible tragedy in the past, an innocent man is blamed for it, and ten years later, teenagers end up getting killed at some communal event.  In this case, the tragedy is the death of a young girl who is killed during a truly demonic game of tag.  The children responsible for her death lie about what happened and a disfigured drifter is convicted and imprisoned for her murder.  As for the communal event, in this case, it’s prom night.  The killer stalks the prom, which is what I suggested my classmates call our prom way back when.  They disagreed and that’s their loss.  The Killer Stalks The Prom would have been a story to remember.

Anyway, here’s a few random thoughts about the original Prom:

1) As with all old school slasher films, it’s interesting to see just how much of the early products of this all-American genre borrowed from the Italian giallo genre.   Everything from the elaborate, past tragedy to the black gloves worn by the killer to the attempts to keep audiences guessing who the killer actually is to even the supporting character of the burned out cop simply screams giallo.  The main thing that the Americans brought to the giallo format was the idea of having the murders revolve around a previously innocent gathering or holiday.

2) Especially when compared to recent “slasher” films, Prom Night is a relentlessly grim film.  Prom Night’s killer doesn’t waste any time with comic relief or one-liners.  He’s too busy savagely killing people.  And our victims aren’t the usual collection of bimbos and soulless jocks.  No, this is the type of movie where even the token virgin ends up getting her throat ripped out with a gigantic shard of glass.  There’s not a lot of deaths in Prom Night, just six.  But they all hurt.

3) I usually just think of Jamie Lee Curtis as the crazy woman selling Activia on Lifetime but this movie shows that she’s actually a pretty good actress.  Even working with a script that isn’t exactly full of brilliant dialogue or multi-faceted characters, Curtis is a sympathetic, likable, and most of all, believable heroine (which is all the more remarkable when you consider that she, like everyone else in this film, appears to be far-too old to still be worrying about the prom).  She even manages to make the film’s ending rather touching and even poignant.  And how many slasher films can you say that about?

4) Prom Night is as much about tacky — yet insanely catchy — disco music as it is about spilling blood.  Seriously, if I owned the soundtrack to this film, I would listen to it 24/7 for two years straight.  I’d force all of my friends to listen to it too and eventually we’d all go insane and just spend the rest of our lives wandering around going, “Prom night!  Everything is alright!”

5) One last thing — Prom Night showcases what has to be the most believable, cheap, and tasteless prom ever put on film.  The theme is Disco Madness and the students are all very chic in that way that even they know will be painfully dated in another two years.  Indeed, this is one of the rare films that understands that the perfect prom is nothing less than an unintentional camp spectacular.  For someone like me who, as the result of seeing too many episodes of Saved By The Bell: The New Class, grew up with an unrealistic expectation of what the senior prom would be, the original Prom Night remains a refreshing breath of fresh air even 30 years after it was made.

And always remember: “Prom Night!  Everything is all right…”