The Exterminator (1980)

The Exterminator is the very definition of Exploitation Cinema.

Landing somewhere between Rambo and Death Wish, it possesses the justifications of neither, adopting the latter’s quasi-fascist vigilante theme and basking in the thrill of the torture. As far as writer/director James Glickenhaus is concerned, poverty breeds paper-thin monsters who would serve well as target practice in an arcade shooter, and becoming a mindless serial killer is the only way to save humanity from stereotype-led damnation […]

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Cathy’s Curse (1977)

The film that puts the “uh??” back in Canuxploitation

Much like the titular character in Cathy’s Curse, the home that begot the film put its very soul at risk. The Canadian government, aiming to jumpstart the country’s fledgling cinema scene in the 1970’s, instituted an enormous tax credit for any production of a feature film in the country. While this paved the way for the likes of David Cronenberg, Ivan Reitman, and Bob Clark, it also opened the floodgates to the seediest of American producers and Hollywood outcasts looking to abuse the tax haven […]

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Godzilla (1985)

In 1954, Toho Studios released Gojira.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, the film explores the dangers of nuclear weaponry through the unstoppable force that is Godzilla: a giant, prehistoric creature who rampaged across Tokyo before succumbing to a device as dangerous to humanity as he is. Two years later, the movie was released in America, re-edited and re-titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters, where it also proved a success. Godzilla was popular in America […]

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Chopping Mall (1986)

Long before Amazon and Facebook turned us all into hermits, shopping malls were our cultural epicentre.

Each weekend teenagers would flock in their legions, hanging out at their favourite arcades or fast food restaurants and marvelling at the colourful array of consumer products that were not yet accessible at the click of a touchpad. Inevitably, these monuments to consumerism became schoolyards away from home, and in an era when Reagan proclaimed that ‘all great change in America begins at the dinner table,’ ghetto blasters and bubblegum could only lead to all out rebellion, right? […]

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Absurd (1981)

Joe D’Amato’s Absurd is anything other than its title suggests.

Gaining notoriety as one of the 72 ‘video nasties’ deemed unfit for public consumption, it is a transparent derivative of John Carpenter’s seminal slasher Halloween, leeching off its popularity without quite figuring out what made it so effective in the first place. Far from the agonizingly-paced slice of subtlety it aspires to emulate, the movie is […]

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The House by the Cemetery (1981)

As a director, Lucio Fulci will always be synonymous with one word: gore.

So convincing was he in the blood department that he was once hauled into court on suspicion of animal cruelty due to some disturbingly convincing mutilation effects, while three of the 72 movies banned as ‘video nasties’ by the British Board of Film Classification belonged to him. In 1985, subsequent slasher The New York Ripper […]

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Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

You can’t keep the dead down for good.

In 1985, writer Dan O’Bannon put an interesting spin on the zombie genre with The Return of the Living Dead. Mixing humour with horror and adding a dash of punk to the film’s style and soundtrack, Return satirized the films of George A. Romero by insinuating that Night of the Living Dead was based on true events. It also proved to be a capable zombie picture in its own right […]

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Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Happy Birthday to Me is a unique entry in an infamously uninventive sub-genre.

Then Canada’s highest grossing movie to date, many of its positives are purposeful, others not so much, but even its patchy moments are unique in their own right, making this one of the superior efforts in the slasher cannon. Made before the genre slipped into the kind of post-certificate self-parody that has no use for genuine acting, the movie stars Little House in the Prairie’s Melissa Sue Anderson, her angelic image proving quite the juxtapose, while legendary […]

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