Canuxploitation is the primary keyword when talking about Canadian Cult films, and much like any other exploitation genre, Canuxploitation covers all sorts of different genres.
Canada has definitely produced some rather strange cult movies, whether they’re films from body horror master David Cronenberg or bizarre kids films, Canada surely has something for every cult movie fan.
So here are 20 Canadian Cult movies that are worth checking out. (Keep in mind that movies like Black Christmas, Porky’s, Scanners, and My Bloody Valentine are not going to be on this list due to their massive popularity)
1. WolfCop (2014)
Plot: Lou is a policeman who wakes up one night to realize that he’s a werewolf. Lou then cleans up the city with his newfound werewolf abilities.
What makes it a Cult film: The ridiculous plot alone make it a cult film. This is one of those modern B-movies that absolutely knows what it is; a trashy throwback to other trashier films from the 70s and 80s. The main draw to this movie is the fact that it’s about a cop who’s a werewolf, and that’s pretty much it.
In fact the smartest joke in this film is the fact that the main characters name is Lou Garou; which even isn’t that clever. This is the type of movie where you have to turn your brain off to fully enjoy it, and if you can do that then you’re golden.
If you like this you’ll love: Hobo with a Shotgun, Late Phases, and Rubber.
2. The Pit (1981)
Plot: Jamie is a strange boy who isn’t very well liked and is constantly made fun of. When his parents go away for a trip a babysitter named Sandra is called to look after Jamie. Little does Sandra know that Jamie has a talking teddy bear that tells him what to do; and that Jamie knows where a pit full of strange man-eating creatures are located. Only then does Jamie uses these monsters in order to extract revenge on those who have tormented him.
What make it a Cult film: The unsettling performance by Sammy Snyder. Snyder’s performance is unsettling and certainly makes a lot of scenes uncomfortable to watch. Also, this movie features kind of a smorgasboard of different cult movie staples, such as the weird kid subgenre, the outsider extracting revenge against his tormentors, and the killer monsters subgenre. The Pit is an underrated, if not misguided, 80s horror film.
If you like this you’ll Love: Bloody Birthday, The Gate, and Critters.
3. Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)
Plot: The Arobria Institute is a research facility where a woman with psychic powers is being experimented on by a scientist named Dr. Nyle.
What makes it a Cult film: Pretty much everything about this film makes it a cult classic, more so than any other movie made in the past five years. Beyond the Black Rainbow was made to pay homage to the science fiction films from the early 70s and 80s- and this movie does that amazingly. The lighting, cinematography, set design, and soundtrack all help make this movie feel like it were made during the 1980s/ 1970s.
This movie certainly will polarize its audience after watching it, because you will either love it because you love 70s/80s sci-fi; or you will hate this movie because of its slow nature, and how it doesn’t exactly build to anything worthwhile at the end. However, if you do love old school sci-fi then this movie will surely please you, as writer and director Panos Cosmatos creates a loving tribute to the sci-fi films from back in the day.
If you like this you’ll love: Solaris, Thx183, Scanners, and Suspiria.
4. Shivers aka They Came from Within (1975)
Plot: A parasite has invaded an apartment complex and is infecting everyone in the building, as it turns its victims into love crazed zombies.
What makes it a cult film: It’s a David Cronenberg film, and not only that, but it’s his first film! David Cronenberg is probably Canada’s most well known horror director, as well as being one of the most well known cult film directors. Cronenbergs notoriety comes from the basis that he basically shaped the body horror genre into what it is today; and this movie is one of the first true examples of body horror.
In Shiver, much like other Cronenberg body horror films, the body horror elements act as a metaphor for STD’s and sexuality. Shivers, even though it wasn’t all that liked when it first came out, is one of David Cronenbergs most well known films and certainly makes for a great debut film.
If you like this you’ll love: Rabid, Crimes of the Future, and Antiviral (which was made by his son, Brandon Cronenberg)
5. Things (1989)
Plot: Two men discover bizarre alien like “things” while inside their friends’ house.
What makes it a cult movie: Things is a cult movie because it is one of the worst movies ever made, going as far to say that this is the worst Canadian movie ever made; and there are plenty of reasons for that. Almost all of the dialogue/ audio is ADR’d, and worst of all, the dialogue sounds like it was recorded as a joke.
The film is shot on video and looks awful. Worst of all, the script is completely incoherent and impossible to follow! Yes, Things is certainly one of the worst movies ever made, however that doesn’t mean it’s unwatchable; because this movie makes for a hilarious watching experience. There is just so much wrong with this movie that you can’t help but laugh at how inept it is. Just go and experience Things for yourself and see how hilariously bad it is.
If you like this you’ll love: Weasels Rip My Flesh, Geek Maggot Bingo, and Evil Dead (only because this movie won’t stop mentioning it.)
6. Rituals aka The Creeper (1977)
Plot: A group of men go out into the wilderness where things soon begin to fall apart; especially after some of the men end up missing.
What makes it a cult movie: Because it’s an interesting mix of backwoods survival horror and a slasher film. Obviously, this movie was inspired by the 1972 film Deliverance, due in part to the backwoods horror aspect of it all, which is great. However, the lighting in this movie is completely awful, and almost ruins the entire film.
Rituals is not the best looking movie, especially the parts that are shot at night, which are so badly lit that it’s almost impossible to tell what’s happening, and that would be fine if the climax didn’t take place at night. The lack of lighting really ruins the movie’s climax, which is unfortunate. However, if you’re a fan of obscure slasher films, then this movie will please you, as it is less about the actual kills then it is about the survival of these men.
If you like this movie you’ll love: Deliverance, Friday the 13th, and Southern Comfort.