It took Canada a long time to start trying to support a film industry but in the late 1960s the Canadian government started the Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC) which would later become Telefilm Canada. The vast majority of Canadian movies made since then have been with the help of Telefilm. Most of the films I have talked about so far have had some help from Telefilm.
In 1975 David Cronenberg finally got funding from CFDC aka Telefilm to finance his first feature film. Originally titled Orgy of the Blood Parasites, the title was soon changed to Shivers. In the U.S. it was changed to They Came from Within.
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Two teenage sisters have a huge fascination with death and have sworn an oath that they will die together. The community has been besieged with dog deaths lately, something has been stalking and feeding on them.
One night Ginger (Katharine Isabelle), the oldest of the sisters and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) go out to prank a girl who is bullying them at school. On their way Ginger gets her first period and the blood draws the creature that has stalking the neighbourhood to them and attacks Ginger.
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The story of Ed Gein, the notorious killer and body snatcher, has been the subject and inspiration of many horror movies. Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho was inspired by Ed Gein as was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and this 1974 Canadian horror film Deranged.
This movie tries to be a little more accurate to the tale of Ed Gein although the names have all been changed.
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Leon (David Hewlett) and Ursula Linden (Cynthia Preston) grow up in a cold household where their father Dr. Frank Linden (Terry O’Quinn) uses a life-size, anatomically correct medical dummy called Pin to teach the children about life and their bodies while using ventriloquism to give the doll a voice.
Their mother dislikes the children going outside and also discourages them from having friends. Leon ends up befriending Pin as a resulting, believing the dummy to be real.
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After the success of slasher movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th, the screens were filled with movies about mysterious killers stalking and brutally killing teenagers. And several Canadian movies followed suit. 1981’s Happy Birthday to Me is one of the more interesting ones.
Directed by British director J. Lee Thompson who made such films as the original Cape Fear, The Guns of Navarone, two Planet of the Apes sequels and a really bad Casablanca remake called Cabo Blanco the movie follows an elite group of teenagers as someone starts to kill them off one by one.
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“She was only a little girl. She lived in a great big house… all alone. Where is her mother? Where is her father? Where are all the people who went to visit her? What is her unspeakable secret? Everyone who knows is dead”.
It’s Halloween and Rynn Jacobs (Jodie Foster) is a 13-year-old that is seemingly living on her on in a big old house. People keep looking for her father but he always seems to be away. Naturally people are starting to become suspicious.
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It’s winter and the snow is falling. A blizzard is upon the town of Pontypool, Ontario and shock jock radio personality Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) is on his way to work. While stopped Mazzy has a woman smack against his car window repeating the word blood over and over.
Mazzy makes it into the radio station and gets to work. His co-workers technical assistant Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reilly) and station manager Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) are the only other people at the station. Things move along like normal until Grant contacts the station’s helicopter reporter Ken Loney (Rick Roberts) who reports a group of people attacking other people. He is cut off and Grant and the rest of the station are shocked.
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It’s New Year’s Eve at a frat house and the local medical students are playing a prank on freshman named Kenny Hampson (Derek MacKinnon). Alana Maxwell (Jamie Lee Curtis) lures poor Kenny into a room with the promise of sex and instead helps trick into almost making out with a corpse. The trauma from the incident sends Kenny to psychiatric hospital.
Three years later on New Year’s Eve, the students are having a party on a train. It’s a costume party but there is someone else on the train. Someone bent on killing the people responsible for the prank.
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Five people wake up in a room. There’s door/panels in the centre of each of four walls as well as the ceiling and the floor. Each hatch leads to another identical room. Sometimes the rooms are booby trapped. Sometimes there not.
Nobody knows each other or knows how they got into the room. The group slowly starts moving from room to room using a boot to test for traps. Which works for awhile.
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Andy Brooks (Richard Backus) is fighting in Vietnam when he’s shot by a sniper. As he falls, he hears his mother’s voice telling him to come home.
The Brooks family — father Charles (John Marley), mother Christine (Lynn Carlin) and daughter Cathy (Anya Ormsby) — receive a notice that Andy has died. Christine refuses to believe it.
Then Andy knocks on the door.
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