Oh, Cana-dark! This sanctuary for friendship and kindness has a dark side that horror films show in the scariest way.
Oh, Canada… the White North, the land of niceness, kindness, and friendliness. For such a long time, the stereotype of Canada as a happy place where people are just nice to each other and will always treat foreigners as if they were their best friends has prevailed. But as it happens with all cliches, they tend to be not as accurate as they seem. I’m sorry to inform you, that Canada is no exception. Just as Mexicans don’t ride donkeys while wearing colorful ponchos and huge sombreros, or French people don’t wear berets when they walk down the streets of Paris with a baguette on their hands, Canada isn’t really the safe haven we tend to believe. For that reason, we’ve made a selection of Canadian horror films that will show you that there’s always a dark side of everything.
After watching these films you’ll end up thinking, “Oh, Cana-Dark!”
Grave Encounters (2011) - Dir. Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz
This movie follows one of the most popular and common themes in horror movies. A group of so-called ghost hunters has the great idea of making a reality show by locking themselves in the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital. At first, they’re just calmly explaining the gadgets they have and how they work, even assuring their audience they have already captured some of these evil spirits. However, as the story of the hospital starts to unveil in front of them, the atmosphere and the spirits won’t let them get away with their project.
Ginger Snaps (2000) - Dir. John Fawcett
A cool and fresh twist to the classic werewolf story with generally men hybrid characters, John Fawcett’s film tells the story of Brigitte and Ginger, two teenage sisters obsessed with death and the supernatural. Dealing with coming-of-age subjects, just when one of the sisters gets her first period she’s bitten by a beast tormenting their town. Suddenly, she starts presenting some changes as she embraces her new wild nature. While it gives the necessary scares these movies require, it also makes an interesting analysis on social ideas of womanhood and the awakening of female sexuality.
Cube (1997) - Dir. Vincenzo Natali
If you thought Hollywood is the owner of most original stories, you’re absolutely wrong. Before movies about deathly puzzle games started showing up, Canada had already produced their own original version called Cube. The film shows the story of a group of six people trapped in a cube-shaped room. Each of the sides leads to other cube rooms. However, as they start exploring each of these, they realize there’s a trap to terrorize and harm them. In a mixture of horror films and science fiction, this movie will make you feel as tense and trapped as if you were inside this deathly space.
The Mask (1961) - Dir. Julian Roffman
This is widely known as the first Canadian horror film, and for that reason, we couldn’t leave it out of the list. A tribal mask ends up in the hands of the psychiatrist Allen Barnes. As a rookie mistake common of these stories, Barnes tries the mask on, which proves to be a huge mistake. The mask drags him into a hallucinatory world surrounded by skulls and images of human sacrifices. Even with the horrors that this world shows him, he becomes addicted to these experiences, leading him down a path of madness.
The Pyx (1973) - Dir. Bob Clark
There’s no horror movie list without a proper slasher film, and of course, Canada has some to offer. In this 1973 film, also known as The Hooker Cult Murders, Bob Clark takes the classic formula of the slasher genre mixed with the demonic. Two detectives are investigating the death of a woman who allegedly threw herself from the top of a building. As the investigation progresses, the couple will find themselves in the middle of a dark and supernatural swirl of demonic experiences.
There’s horror everywhere and directors have made their best to capture the darkest side of humanity. And since there’s always time to watch a good horror film, you shouldn’t miss these: