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6 of the Most Innovative and Influential Canadian Horror Movies



Today is Canadian Film Day, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take a look at some of the most innovative and influential horror movies that Canada has to offer. Canada is home to a bevvy of wonderfully talented horror movie makers, from directors like David Cronenberg and the Soska Sisters to horror-focused production companies like Black Fawn Films and Raven Banner Entertainment.

Horror has a home in Canada. When you look at some of the themes found in horror – cold isolation (Black Mountain Side, Pontypool), transformative identity (Bite, Afflicted), and the terror of creatures unknown (The Void, Silent Hill) – these are challenges that Canadians can identify with. We all know that winter is a bitch, we struggle with our cultural identity, and we have a lot of temperamental wildlife.

But part of the brilliance of Canadian horror is that much of it actually defies the typical themes. Videodrome focuses on the affect of violence and sexuality in the media. Cube explores paranoia and how our fight for survival can fluctuate in the face of a seemingly hopeless endeavor. It’s rarely as simple as the cabin-in-the-woods slasher module.

But genres aside, there are many things that make a horror film innovative or influential. Here’s my list of Canadian horror films that – in some way – changed the game.

Videodrome (1983)

via IMDb

It’s really difficult to choose just one Cronenberg film, but I’m gonna go with Videodrome (technically The Fly isn’t Canadian and I’m mad about it). Max Renn (James Woods) runs a sensationalist TV station that offers “socially positive” programming – essentially softcore porn and gratuitous violence. Max discovers a show called Videodrome – which appears to be a staged snuff show – and is instantly fascinated, convinced that it’s the future of television.

Of course, we discover the show isn’t staged, and there’s a larger conspiracy at work that involves targeted fatal brain tumors to “purge” the world of its violence-driven degenerates. Chock-full of fantastic practical effects, it’s a bizarre, surreal, and provocative dissertation on our cultural obsession relationship with sex and violence.

To no one’s surprise, Videodrome has been named “one of the most influential films in history” by the Toronto International Film Festival.

Cube (1997)

via IMDb

Cube is brilliantly simple. A group of strangers wake up in a cube with doors on all 6 sides. They must navigate their way through a series of booby-trapped identical cubes to – somehow, hopefully – find a way to escape. Cube was actually filmed in one room, which is both genius and… insane.

They used different panels to change the color of each room and a partial second cube was built for scenes where the cast was looking through from another cube. The focus is entirely on the tension between the ensemble cast.

Cube is incredibly innovative in its simplicity, and it quickly became a Canadian cult classic.

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

via Lionsgate

My Bloody Valentine helped to shape the slasher sub-genre with its too-raunchy-for-ratings practical effects and socially meaningful message. When holiday-themed horror movies were in their heyday, My Bloody Valentine came out swinging with gory practical effects and innovative kills and that were designed around the filming environment. Filmed in an actual mine in Nova Scotia, the movie took realistic set design to the next level.

The film has an ongoing legacy and its fan base is still growing, thanks to the 2009 remake and semi-regular screenings at festivals and events. But it’s not only a culturally significant film, it has politically-charged undertones as well. The focus on economic struggle and poor working conditions resonated with 1981 audiences and remains relevant today.

If you want to learn more about the making of My Bloody Valentine, check out my Valentine’s Day interview with George Mihalka.

American Mary (2012)

via IMDb

I couldn’t build a Canadian horror movie list without including the Soska Sisters. American Mary is the ultimate rape-revenge movie. Our heroine, Mary (Katharine Isabelle) survives and thrives by monopolizing her skill as a surgeon to get the ultimate revenge and gain a healthy profit. Katherine Isabelle isn’t a final girl or a scream queen, she’s a femme fatale and she absolutely owns it.

American Mary brilliantly makes you squirm in your skin without actually showing any gratuitous gore. It quickly became a cult favorite and it put the Soska Sisters on the map as darlings of the horror genre.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

via IMDb

This is as perfect as coming-of-age movies get. Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) is viciously attacked by a werewolf while she’s suffering through her own that-time-of-the-month physical change. (Her period. I’m talking about her period). As she “blossoms” (ugh) through her newfound sexuality and lupine transformation (the werewolf is puberty!), her sister struggles to keep her grounded.

It’s a really clever and satisfying take on the werewolf lore, and it’s made quite an impression in the horror community as being one of the strongest werewolf films of recent history.

Black Christmas (1974)

via IMDb

Black Christmas was the one of the first conventional slasher films. Years before Halloween took the spotlight, Black Christmas set the standard. There is such mystery surrounding the ambiguous and unsolved identity of the crazed killer (which they filled in for the 2006 remake) that it really draws you in and sets this psychological horror apart. It changed the game for the horror industry and made the slasher film a cultural norm.

But to move beyond the (what is now) typical slasher film, Black Christmas focuses on a character who is struggling with her future. The film openly talks about abortion, which was a controversial topic at the time. With a strong cast of female leads, it successfully passes the Bechdel test. The female characters are not sexualized at all and their deaths aren’t graphic.

It breathed new life into the horror films of the 1970s and its influence on the genre is undeniable.


I could really go on here because there are a ton of innovative Canadian horror movies. For further viewing, check out Beyond the Black Rainbow, The Editor, The Void, Pontypool, Exit Humanity, Grave Encounters, Hobo with a Shotgun, and The Changeling.

Do you have a favorite Canadian horror movie? Let us know in the comments!

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Melissa Barrera Says Her ‘Scream’ Contract Never Included a Third Movie



The Scream franchise has done a major overhaul to its original script for Scream VII after its two main leads departed production. Jenna Ortega who played Tara Carpenter left because she was overly booked and blessed while her co-star Melissa Barrera was fired after making political comments on social media.

But Barrera isn’t regretting any of it. In fact, she is happy where the character arc left off. She played Samantha Carpenter, the latest focus of the Ghostface killer.

Barrera did an exclusive interview with Collider. During their talk, the 33-year-old says she fulfilled her contract and her character Samantha’s arc finished at a good spot, even though it was meant to be a trilogy.

“I feel like the ending of [ Scream VI ] was a very good ending, and so I don’t feel like ‘Ugh, I got left in the middle.’ No, I think people, the fans, were wanting a third movie to continue that arc, and apparently, the plan was a trilogy, even though I was only contracted for two movies.

So, I did my two movies, and I’m fine. I’m good with that. I got two – that’s more than most people get. When you’re on a TV show, and it gets canceled, you can’t harp on things, you gotta move on.

That’s the nature of this industry too, I get excited for the next job, I get excited for the next skin I get to put on. It’s exciting to create a different character. So yeah, I feel good. I did what I set out to do. It was always meant to be two movies for me, ’cause that was my contract, and so everything is perfect.”

The entire production of the original seventh entry has moved on from the Carpenter’s storyline. With a new director and new script, production will resume, including the return of Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox.

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Read Reviews For ‘Abigail’ The Latest From Radio Silence



The review embargo has lifted for the vampire horror movie Abigail and the reviews are abundantly positive. 

Matt BettinelliOlpin and Tyler Gillett of Radio Silence are getting early praise for their latest horror movie which opens on April 19. Unless you’re Barbie or Oppenheimer the name of the game in Hollywood is about what kind of box office numbers you pull on opening weekend and how much they drop thereafter. Abigail could be this year’s sleeper. 

Radio Silence is no stranger to opening big, their Scream reboot and sequel packed fans into seats on their respective opening dates. The duo are currently working on another reboot, that of 1981’s Kurt Russel cult favorite Escape From New York


Now that ticket sales for GodzillaxKong, Dune 2, and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire have gathered patina, Abigail could knock A24’s current powerhouse Civil War from the top spot, especially if ticket buyers base their purchase off reviews. If it is successful, it could be temporary, since Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s action comedy The Fall Guy opens on May 3, just two weeks later.

We have gathered pull quotes (good & bad) from some genre critics on Rotten Tomatoes (score for Abigail currently sits at 85%) to give you an indicator of how they are skewing ahead of its release this weekend. First, the good:

“Abigail is a fun, bloody ride. It also has the most lovable ensemble of morally grey characters this year. The film introduces a new favorite monster into the genre and gives her room to take the biggest swings possible. I lived!” — Sharai Bohannon: A Nightmare On Fierce Street Podcast

“The standout is Weir, commanding the screen despite her small stature and effortlessly switching from apparently helpless, terrified child to savage predator with a mordant sense of humor.” — Michael Gingold: Rue Morgue Magazine

“‘Abigail’ sets the bar as the most fun you can have with a horror movie of the year. In other words, “Abigail” is horror on pointe.” — BJ Colangelo: Slashfilm

“In what may become one of the greatest vampire movies of all time, Abigail provides an extremely bloody, fun, humorous & fresh take on the subgenre.” — Jordan Williams: Screen Rant

“Radio Silence have proven themselves as one of the most exciting, and crucially, fun, voices in the horror genre and Abigail takes this to the next level.” — Rosie Fletcher: Den of Geek

Now, the not-so-good:

“It’s not badly made, just uninspired and played out.” — Simon Abrams:

A ‘Ready or Not’ redux running on half the steam, this one-location misfire has plenty of parts that work but its namesake isn’t among them.” –Alison Foreman: indieWire

Let us know if you are planning to see Abigail. If or when you do, give us your hot take in the comments.

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Ernie Hudson To Star In ‘Oswald: Down The Rabbit Hole’



Ernie Hudson

This is some exciting news! Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters 1984, The Crow 1994) is set to star in the upcoming horror film titled Oswald: Down The Rabbit Hole. Hudson is set to play the character Oswald Jebediah Coleman who is a brilliant animator that is locked away in a terrifying magical prison. No release date has been announced yet. Check out the announcement trailer and more about the film below.


The film follows the story of “Art and some of his closest friends as they help track down his long-lost family lineage. When they find and explore his Great-Grandpa Oswald’s abandoned home, they encounter a magical TV that teleports them to a place lost in time, shrouded by dark Hollywood Magic. The group finds that they are not alone when they discover Oswald’s come-to-life cartoon Rabbit, a dark entity that decides their souls are it’s for the taking. Art and his friends must work together to escape their magical prison before the Rabbit gets to them first.”

First Look Image at Oswald: Down the Rabbit Hole

Ernie Hudson stated that “I am excited to work with everyone on this production. It’s an incredibly creative and smart project.”

Director Stewart also added “I had a very specific vision for Oswald’s character and knew I wanted Ernie for this role from the start, as I’ve always admired iconic cinematic legacy. Ernie is going to bring Oswald’s unique and vengeful spirit to life in the best way possible.”

First Look Image at Oswald: Down the Rabbit Hole

Lilton Stewart III and Lucinda Bruce are teaming up to write and direct the film. It stars actors Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters 1984, The Crow 1994), Topher Hall (Single Drunk Female 2022), and Yasha Rayzberg (A Rainbow in the Dark 2021). Mana Animation Studio is helping produce the animation, Tandem Post House for post-production, and VFX supervisor Bob Homami is also helping. The budget for the film currently sits at $4.5M.

Official Teaser Poster for Oswald: Down the Rabbit Hole

This is one of many classic childhood stories that are being turned into horror films. This list includes Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2, Bambi: The Reckoning, Mickey’s Mouse Trap, The Return of Steamboat Willie, and many more. Are you more interested in the film now that Ernie Hudson is attached to star in it? Let us know in the comments below.

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