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Five “Bad” CanCon Favourites

by on 2015/07/31

They Live (1988)
Today we learned that Saskatoon native Roddy Piper has died. He was 61 years old.

About three decades ago, we grew up watching “Rowdy” Roddy wrestle. As far as we know, his final work was on the forthcoming Portal to Hell.

Through Portal we hoped to see him revisit the kind of world he brought to life in John Carpenter’s They Live. Easily one of the quirkiest and most brilliant B-movies of the Eighties, it was subtle and gross, subversive and exploitative, great and terrible at once.

They Live’s connection to Canada may be tenuous, but we’re proud of it anyway. (I have yet to see his Hell Comes to Frogtown; I’ll have to get on that post-haste.) I’m already mourning he’ll never complete the hoped-for feature-length Portal.

In the meantime, his passing has stirred me to think of my favourite CanCon equivalents. While none of them share They Live’s subtext, satire, or more pointed commentary, they’re still a lot of fun in a “so bad they’re good” sort of way. Sometimes that’s enough.

Keep chewing, keep kicking, and enjoy what you can, while you can, ’cause these sure ain’t from Cleveland…

Decoys (2003)Decoys (2003)

* * *

“[If] Species developed a healthy sense of humour [or] perhaps if you felt Some Kind of Wonderful was missing an alien conspiracy, then Decoys may well be the perfect movie for you.”

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)

* * * *

“Vampires plague the City of Ottawa, more specifically its ‘Ladies of Sappho’. The more forward-thinking faithful wonder how to protect their lesbians, especially since their attackers have developed a resistance to crosses and daylight. It’s decided to consult with Jesus Christ.”

Scanner Cop (1994)Scanner Cop (1994)

* * *

“Differentiated slightly by its elevated gore, Scanner Cop is nearly devoid of subtlety. Cheesy concepts, poor makeup, false sets, plasticky effects, choppy stop motion, and unwinkingly hammy acting . . . there are so many ways to critique it, we’d do better to mention its greatest success: it’s fun, and that’s enough. End of story.”

Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball (2010)Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball (2010)

* * *

“In general, I found Assassins’ Ball an interesting mix, like the blending of suspense and an action thriller, stretches of tense expectation intercut with cartoonish attacks. I realized the violence was more in ideas than in outright gore . . . it’s still awfully violent but, at the very least, it’s not violently awful.”

WolfCop (2014)WolfCop (2014)

* * * *

“Everything is practical, very little of it convincing, but all executed with a gusto that won me over. I’m not a particular horror fan, nor a connoisseur of gore, but it’s over-the-top to the extent I found it hilarious. I’d love to recount examples in detail, but they’d simply spoil the fun, so instead I will simply list some words: eyeballs, penis, and vomit.”

Disclosure: We helped support this crowd-funded short film on Indiegogo.

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