Archive for the Canada Category

Favourite Five Series: DAVID CRONENBERG

Posted in Canada, Favourite Five Series, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2014 by goregirl

David Cronenberg has forty director credits listed on IMDB; twenty-one of those credits are feature films. I have seen twenty of those feature films; Maps of the Stars has not yet been released. I think they outta start naming some Canadian monuments after David Cronenberg, or at very least a school or two. David Cronenberg Elementary; they can do a musical version of The Brood each year in his honor. Before compiling this list I went to the effort of seeing Cosmopolis, which I found Comme-ci, comme ça. It certainly wasn’t changing anything on this list. The only film I feel really strongly about from Cronenberg’s last decade of filmmaking is Eastern Promises. Don’t misunderstand, I have actually quite enjoyed Cronenberg’s entire body of work but it is his horror films that will always have a special place in my heart. Cronenberg’s early horror films are the perfect combination of the physical with the psychological. The term body horror or venereal horror has been used to describe his early genre films and an apt description it is. The term body horror basically represents a complete and graphic breakdown of the human body from any number of causes; disease, parasite, cerebral manifestation to note a few. Cronenberg’s films are complimented by strong stories, perfect casting, amazing performances and gag-worthy visuals. This was the easiest list I have ever put together; the only real struggle was leaving Dead Ringers off the list. As much as I love Dead Ringers and Jeremy Irons brilliant performance it is not a film that I revisit nearly as often as the five included below.



Videodrome is about a struggling cable television station run by Max Renn. Renn is always on the lookout for programming not offered by the competition and shows soft-core adult films late nights. Renn is looking to step up his game and one night his engineer stumbles upon a grainy barebones production called Videodrome. Videodrome appears to be simulated snuff but as Max soon discovers it is all very real. Videodrome is more than torture, it is an addictive mental mindfuck with the ability to transform the human body. Videodrome is both a warning about the dangers of technology taking over our lives and our desensitization to violence. It also has really bloody amazing effects by Rick Baker that hold up as well today as they did back in 1983. Really ghastly and original stuff. Despite a mainstream cast and major distribution Cronenberg holds back nothing and creates a gritty, disturbing and uncompromising film. James Woods is pitch-perfect as station owner Max Renn. Woods Renn character is cocky, tactless and intense; watching him lose his grip on reality is Shakespearian. Deborah Harry was an impeccable choice as Nicki Brand; she is sexy, kinky and completely believable in the role. Renn has a sexual relationship with Brand who becomes drawn into Videodrome and eventually becomes one of its victims. Videodrome is without a doubt my favourite David Croenberg film and one of my favorite horror films of all time. “Long live the new flesh!”



THE BROOD (1979)

The Brood is about Nola Carveth who is being treated by Psychotherapist Dr. Raglan. Dr. Raglan is using an unconventional treatment called Psychoplasmics. The method encourages the patient to work through their emotion until it physically manifests itself. Nola has become a primary focus of Dr. Raglan’s therapy due to her extraordinary adaptation. Nola receives weekend visits from her daughter Candy important to her therapy; but after her ex-husband Frank finds Candy bruised and scratched he puts an immediate end to the visitations. Shortly after, Nola’s abusive mother is found brutally murdered. Even more disconcerting they discover the dead body of a mutated child who appears to be the one responsible for the death. The ability to materialize your anxiety, fear or anger would be a pretty unsettling ability to have. I can’t imagine what mad nastiness my mind would concoct! The little mutant children featured in The Brood are creepy as hell. The effects are impressive and the makeup on the mutant kiddies is beautifully grotesque. Large groups of children in snowsuits scare me to this day. One of my favourite scenes in the film takes place in a kindergarten class with a bunch of child actors who probably grew up seriously traumatized thanks to Cronenberg. The best visual effects assault however is courtesy of Nola Carveth in the film’s finale. You can find pictures of it all over the place, but I am not going to be the one to spoil it for you. It really is freaking spectacular! Another top-notch cast that includes legend Oliver Reed who plays Dr. Raglan with charisma, strength and authority, the exquisite Samantha Eggar who plays Nola Carveth with disturbed psychosis, rage and a touch of empathy, Cindy Hinds who plays Candice Carveth a quiet, solemn little girl with an adult-like numbness that is chilling and Art Hindle who plays the voice of reason Frank Carveth. Mood and atmosphere, well paced, steadily building tension, amazing effects and stunning performances; The Brood is a suspenseful, intense and chilling experience.

The Brood



Naked Lunch is loosely based on William S. Burroughs’ novel of the same name. Cronenberg turns the story into a semi-autobiographical account of Burroughs life. Characters are based on Burroughs real life acquaintances Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Joan Vollmer and Paul and Jane Bowles. Bill Lee is an exterminator whose wife Joan is addicted to the insecticide he uses to kill bugs. Bill too is affected by the substance which causes him to have severe hallucinations. So severe are his hallucinations that Bill believes he is a secret agent for an organization called Interzone and is assigned tasks by a giant insect! Although I included Naked Lunch on my top ten horror film list for 1991 it really is not a horror film; although Cronenberg definitely includes horrifying images in the film. There are some downright gross visuals that are on par with any of the horror films on the list. As noted, Cronenberg never intended his film to be a straight up adaptation of Burroughs book but I think he does a superb job of capturing the general vibe while maintaining a distinct David Cronenberg flavor. I love Cronenberg’s approach with the inclusion of facts from Burroughs fascinating life. The shooting death of Burrough’s girlfriend Joan Vollmer is worked into the plot of Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch. Burroughs says of the incident “I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would have never become a writer but for Joan’s death”. Naked Lunch is a strange, hypnotic, and sublime trip into another world. The film is accented by some truly exceptional performances from Judy Davis, Roy Scheider, Ian Holm, Julian Sands and Nicholas Campbell and most notably Peter Weller who plays Bill Lee. When I think of the most iconic acting roles of the past few decades Weller’s Lee is one of the first that comes to mind. Naked Lunch has withstood countless viewings and always leaves me feeling a little disoriented but awestruck. It is truly a one of a kind experience that, like a lot of Cronenberg’s films, elicits strong opinions of love or hate; I happen to think it is a masterpiece. “Exterminate all rational thought. That is the conclusion I have come to.”

Naked Lunch


RABID (1977)

Rabid focuses on Rose, the victim of a serious motorcycle accident. Rose becomes the beneficiary of a radical surgery performed by Dr. Keloid involving tissue grafting. The surgery has an unexpected side effect in the form of a vagina-like orifice in her armpit that craves human blood. Rose runs amok in an effort to sate her cravings. Rose’s feedings not only cause bodily harm but they infect her victims causing them to go into a rabid state and attack and infect others. Doctors in horror movies have caused so much mayhem over the years haven’t they? If Rose had been taken to a regular hospital instead of a plastic surgery clinic none of this would have happened. Needless to say the infection spreads like wildfire and martial law is declared. The infected move quickly and attack viciously; fortunately they are easy to kill. The effects are solid although Rabid is not especially graphic. Rose’s armpit vagina is the film’s coolest effect and it is quite a unique one too! There are some particularly well-executed action sequences. My favourite is a scene that takes place in a mall during Christmas time and a security guy goes on a crazy shooting spree and kills Santa! Another scene that takes place on a subway is also delightfully chaotic. Marilyn Chambers does not speak much in her role as Rose but she is lovely and intense and a pleasure to behold. Chambers brings a good balance of strength and vulnerability to Rose. Frank Moore is natural and likable as her boyfriend Hart. Rabid is well-paced with evenly distributed violence throughout. Rabid is smart, well-written, intense and seriously entertaining.




They Came from Within aka Shivers is about an experiment conducted by Dr. Emil Hobbes using parasites. The parasites cause the patient to have an overwhelming sexual appetite. Hobbes implants his girlfriend Annabelle with the parasite who is living in The Starliner a self-contained, exclusive high-end condominium. Annabelle quickly spreads the parasite throughout the building. Hobbes then kills his Annabelle and himself and the case is closed. Meanwhile residents of the building are getting sick and parasites are running loose and attacking the residents. The condominiums on-site Doctor Dr. St. Luc uncovers information about Hobbes research and tries to contain the parasite in the Starliner condominium, but will it be too late? Shivers is an intense, intelligent, claustrophobic tale full of sexuality and violence. Shivers opens with the death of a very young woman by the hands of a middle-aged man who then cuts his own throat. The next bit of yuckiness comes from a resident named Nick who leaves work early feeling sick. He vomits out a parasite and it is not long before all hell breaks loose in the enclosed space of the condo. The violent and deviant scenes to follow are unique and effective in that very special Cronenberg sort of way. Shivers has sex, nudity, incest, violence and even cannibalism. There is a ton of crazy shit going on here! Repulsive, erotic, nasty, “even dying is an act of eroticism”. As is the case with all the films on this list there are great performances here from Paul Hampton as Dr. St. Luc, the feline-esque Lynn Lowry as Nurse Forsythe, Allan Kolman as Nicholas Tudor, Susan Petrie as Janine Tudor, Joe Silver as Rollo Linsky and Barbara Steele as Betts. Cronenberg creates an excellent mood of paranoia and includes plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle commentary on contemporary 70′s culture. Shivers was Cronenberg’s first horror film and is one of his best.



Weekend Update with Your Host Goregirl

Posted in Canada, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2013 by goregirl

“Jane you Ignorant slut”. It was an action-packed weekend folks. On Friday night I went to The Vancity Theatre to see A Special 40th Anniversary Presentation of Sexcula (1974); A Canadian-made tax-funded porn flick with a horror twist. A doctor creates the perfect man but he can not get a hard-on. The doctor calls on her cousin Sexcula to lend a hand. Sexcula started out fun and campy but the last 40 minutes are mostly just straight up porn. My exposure to XXX is pretty slim. Everything I have seen has been from the 70s or early 80s and there has only been a handful. Café Flesh spoiled me. If only every XXX feature could be as good as that thing. Amazing set pieces, fantastic costumes, sex scenes that are interesting and esthetically pleasing and a compelling apocalyptic premise. I suppose that those features are not why a goodly amount of the population watches adult films, but it is the reason I have endeavored into XXX territory. With the exception of John Alexander who plays Frank “Frankenstein’s Monster” the acting in Sexcula was really terrible. The sex scenes are long and not very appealing and it features the lamest lesbian scene I have ever seen. On the plus side Sexcula did have a guy in a monkey suit, a deformed Igor-esque character and Frank “Frankenstein’s Monster” was quite amusing. The actor who played Frank was on hand “incognito” for the showing. He stated quite pointedly that he was ashamed to have been in Sexcula which is why he was wearing a hat and sunglasses. He was also slurring and I think he might have been drunk. He was quite entertaining actually. Someone asked him a question about potential symbolism in Sexcula. This produced a guffaw from the man accompanied by a verbal lashing for taking the film WAY too seriously. The presentation was pretty neato. They showed all these really fantastic 70s-licious stills from Sexcula prior to the film which I thoroughly enjoyed. What I did not enjoy so much was the uncontrollable twitching of the gentleman beside me. I couldn’t sit back in my chair for the entire second half of the film because I thought I was going to vomit due to motion sickness. It could only happen to Goregirl. I think we as a society could use a little laxative when it comes to our uptight views on sex. I became aware of Sexcula thanks to the folks at Return to Porno Chic who I follow on Twitter @RTNtoPornoChic. In their own words “Celebrating the Golden Age of Adult Film and the era of theatrical presentation of adult entertainment. Bom chicka wah-wah.” I recommend keeping an eye peeled for their next presentation and follow them on Twitter @RTNtoPornoChic

They showed loads of behind the scenes stills which was a real 70s-licious treat.


John Alexander who plays central character Frank “Frankenstein’s Monster” was on hand in a hat and sunglasses.

On Saturday night we went to The Railway Club to celebrate an early Halloween. Performing were The Bone Daddies, Everybody Left, The Elixxxirs, & Whiskey Chief. The bands were all decent but the final act of the night Whiskey Chief were seriously bad-ass. This was a first time event going with a group costume. Our theme; Undead Alice in Wonderland. Yours truly was The Queen of Hearts. Don’t forget to click on the picture to make it bigger…

Undead Mad Hatter, Undead Queen of Hearts and Undead Alice.

Undead Mad Hatter and Undead Alice hamming it up.

Queen of Hearts5
Undead Queen of Hearts close-up.

Undead Mad Hatter close-up.

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Queen of Hearts costume full view.

My favourite costume of the evening Vampira.

The Elixxxirs at The Railway Club.

Whiskey Chief at The Railway Club.

It was a helluva weekend and I have one more Halloween event to attend; Haxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages. Not just any viewing of Haxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages but Haxan with a new, specially commissioned live score performed by Vancouver’s Funerary Call.

Blurb from Vancity Theatre Website:

About Funerary Call

Created by Vancouver musician Harlow Macfarlane in 1994, Funerary Call draws from a diverse palette of analog and digital hardware, found objects, field recordings and ritual implements to conjure an unsettling ancient atmosphere that aims to transcend the perceptive listener, spiritually and emotionally – beyond all boundaries and limitations. Joining Harlow for these shows is drummer Nathan Funk.

Haxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages is not just an outstanding, well made, fascinating film it is the perfect way to kick off No Volume Required November! All November long I will be reviewing only silent horror films with my finale being a Top 20 Favourite Silent Horror Films list.

No Volume Needed November

Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair – Guy Maddin Short Film

Posted in Canada, movies with tags , , , , on September 26, 2013 by goregirl

I think this superb 2009 short featuring Isabella Rossellini is a delicious taste of the awesomeness that is Guy Maddin. If you dig this, you should do the following…seek out every single Guy Maddin film and watch it. The Vancouver International Film Festival started today; September 26. I am on vacation for two weeks beginning October 1 AND I will be moving back to downtown Vancouver’s West Side that day! I will be sharing my own personal VIFF experience beginning October 2. Have a goretastic weekend my friends!

Cronenberg on Cronenberg

Posted in Canada, movies with tags , , on September 25, 2013 by goregirl

I watched this excellent David Cronenberg interview/documentary last night that I highly recommend checking out. I recommend it so highly I am embedding it here to keep for prosperity. Thanks to Cinematographos for uploading this beauty! My only complaint is the interviewer is difficult to hear without turning the volume way the hell up. It matters little though as Mr. Cronenberg can be heard loud and clear and waxes nostalgic on everything from television and inspirations to psychoanalysis and working with Viggo Mortensen.

David Cronenberg Lobby Card Gallery

Posted in Canada, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by goregirl

Super Goretastic Lobby Cards for David Cronenberg flicks…

Shivers Lobby Card

Lobby Card for Shivers (aka) They Came from Within (1975). Starring; Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik and Barry Baldaro.

the brood lobby card

the brood lobby card1

the brood lobby card2

Lobby Cards for The Brood (1979). Starring; Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman, Nuala Fitzgerald, Cindy Hinds and Susan Hogan.

scanners lobby card

Lobby Card for Scanners (1981). Starring; Jennifer O’Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside and Robert A. Silverman.

videodrome lobby card

videodrome lobby card1

Lobby Cards for Videodrome (1983). Starring; James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, Lynne Gorman and Julie Khaner.

Dead Zone

dead zone1

Lobby Cards for The Dead Zone (1983). Starring; Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Anthony Zerbe, Colleen Dewhurst, Martin Sheen, Nicholas Campbell, Sean Sullivan and Jackie Burroughs.

The Fly

The Fly1

Lobby Cards for The Fly (1986). Starring; Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Leslie Carlson and George Chuvalo.

Dead Ringers1

Dead Ringers2

Dead Ringers

Lobby Cards for Dead Ringers (1988). Starring; Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack and Nick Nichols.

naked lunch

Naked Lunch1

Lobby Cards for Naked Lunch (1991). Starring; Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Monique Mercure, Nicholas Campbell, Michael Zelniker, Robert A. Silverman and Joseph Scoren.