The Mission Announcements

Over 12 weeks some incredibly talented industry pros took time out of their busy schedules to personally announce our filmmaker missions and we at CineCoup can't thank them enough. Every week filmmakers complete new mission assignments and Crowd and Critic favourites are chosen. 

Bullets, Blood & Beaver!

Canadian genre films of the past and how they relate to our weekly Crowd and Critic. By film historian and author, Caelum Vatnsdal.

Mission: Trailer


#CineCoup #BeBrave


There’s no tradition of fantasy films in Canada, so The Sad Prince can’t help but feel a little alien. The trailer cast my mind back to an odd bit of Canadiana from 1976, Shadow of the Hawk, wherein Jan Michael Vincent plays a Métis executive living in Vancouver. Turns out a witch has poxed his old village and has sent tribal masks to haunt his condo. Shortly thereafter, Vincent’s grandfather, played by Chief Dan George, arrives to entice his citified kinsman to return to the village and help get rid of the sorceress.

Shadow of the Hawk is largely a road movie, with Vincent and George traveling to the village, fighting hexes all the way. Like The Sad Prince, Shadow of the Hawk trades in picturesque photography, bird imagery, and a sense of greater forces at play.


Canada doesn’t have many war movies to boast of, nor many movies about damaged vets returning home. But we’ve got more of them than you’d think, and if The Wounded moves ahead, we’ll have one more. The Wounded hearkens back to a William Fruet joint from 1979, Search and Destroy, in which a squad of Vietnam veterans is being knocked off one by one.

American imports Perry King  and Don Stroud play two of the veterans, who start off just trying to figure out what’s been happening to their old Army buddies; after Stroud has the shit kicked out of him, the movie becomes a cat-and-mouse game in and around the tourist traps of Niagara Falls. We get stunts, gunfire, kung-fu kicking and explosions: is there any person alive who’ll say we can’t use more of that on our screens?

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Differentiator


Tricia Lee
Director, Silent Retreat


A perky oddball looks for love and pursues a dream involving racquet sports. This could describe any number of Canadian movies, and it looks as if John Goes to the Olympics fits into the genre too. But the queen of this realm is Spring Fever, featuring No. 2 world junior champion tennis player Carling Bassett.

Bassett wants to win some kind of tennis tournament in Florida, while her mother, Vegas showgirl Susan Anton, wants to wave cocktails around and date leisure suits. There’s plenty of mother-daughter conflict, pubescent romance, old men sacked by tennis balls, and tennis. Lots of tennis. READ MORE


Canada and quirky alien invasions are a natural combination, if Big Meat Eater, Top of the Food Chain and, soon perhaps, Across All Galaxies are to be believed. But the blue tractor beam we see pulling hapless Earthlings into the Across All Galaxies UFO has its most direct antecedent in one of the loopiest Canadian films ever made: Ed Hunt’s 1977 Starship Invasions.

Words can hardly describe the delights this crazy movie offers. It begins with a potato-nosed Mennonite farmer being sucked into a saucer and raped by a beautiful space babe, and it only gets better from there. READ MORE.

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Poster


Dave Alexander
Editor In Chief, Rue Morgue Magazine


Agency, it ought to be said right off the top, is not one of your great Canadian exploitation movies, but it is the only one I can think of that opens with a song about ball sweat. It also fits nicely into what I like to think is something of a Great White North tradition: decent-looking posters.

This doesn’t mean they’re all great, and they’re not up to the high Polish standard, but Canadian genre pictures of a certain age seem very frequently to have eye-catching and memorable print art. Postmen manages to approach this arena with its own art, in particular the iteration with the paper-wrapped gun. READ MORE


Canada has few haunted house movies in its cinematic history, and even if it had more they’d likely be eclipsed by the one everybody remembers: The Changeling. Hellmington therefore has a tough job ahead of it, but its evocative poster concepts give it a strong start.

The Changeling’s publicists correctly identified the movie’s scariest and most memorable prop: the vintage wheelchair which chases Trish Van Devere around a Vancouver mansion. Naturally they put it on the poster, where it projected the shadow of the little Casper responsible for all the banging and moaning heard in the movie. READ MORE

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Speechless


Zach Lipovsky
Director, Dead Rising: Watchtower


The deficit of Canadian fantasy films has already been noted, and whether or not The Sad Prince ends this interregnum remains to be seen. But the concept of speechlessness, the point of this week’s challenge, reminds us that Canada is also lacking in the silent film department. Many of the films that were made in Canada during the silent era have since become lost.

One such production was The Werewolf, made in 1913 and believed to be the first werewolf picture ever. With its princess and its curse, it sounds as much fantasy as horror, and what a shame that the movie was destroyed by fire back in 1924. READ MORE


When the proportions are correct, the balance of humour and horror can work splendidly. Based on its response to the Speechless challenge, Love At First Stab may have a chance at becoming an exemplar of this form.

It puts me in mind of another Canadian horror comedy, Killer Party, which stands out for how dedicated its makers seemed to be in finding that delicate balance. Their approach was not one of subtlety; screenwriter Barney Cohen and director William Fruet chose instead to stick in as much stuff as they possibly could in the hopes that some of it would be scary and some of it would be funny. READ MORE

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Conceptualize


Emersen Ziffle
Special MUFX Artist, WolfCop


As the virtually forgotten 1987 picture Rebel High begins, a Joe Friday-ish narrator informs us that Rebel High School (its real name) is filled with “beer drinkers, dope smokers, hooky players, liars and assholes.” Really it’s full of lower-tier comedians grappling with material barely worthy of a lesser episode of unmourned sit-coms like Snow Job or Checking Out.

But it also contains high school brawls, and these in plenty. There are wrestling matches, nerd-burns, pie fights and rumbles, and based on the High School Brawl production art, its characters would be at home in either movie.  READ MORE


In Primordia, a secret society of immortals, batwinged now we know, battle their nemeses (because what else are you going to do with a nemesis?) on behalf of a people of destiny. And what this hard core nerd-store teen fantasy puts me in mind of is the glorious nonsense of Quest for the Lost City. Now, this may seem like an insult, because by any objective standard Quest for the Lost City isn’t a good movie. Under the title The Final Sacrifice, it’s well-known as an object of Mystery Science Theater ridicule.  READ MORE

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Another Angle

Another Angle

Warren P. Sonoda
Director, Swearnet


Postmen has been reimagined as a romantic comedy, and maybe this shows that romantic comedy was latently coded into its DNA from the beginning. In its first frames almost any movie is a wealth of endless possibility, and where it goes from there is up to the filmmakers. If the tale is well-told, the narrative path will seem natural, as though it’s the only sensible route.

But some movies, like the odd B.C. obscurity Reno and the “Doc”, hedge their bets and choose to go everywhere at once, to follow every possibility offered by their conceptual starting point. It’s a weird approach to moviemaking. READ MORE


In considering the tale of Nowhere Fast, a comedic sports action movie about rival stationary bike gangs, one’s mind turns naturally to Heavenly Bodies, the 1984 comedic sports action movie about competing jazzercise gangs. But in looking at the alternate angle on Nowhere Fast, the gooftastic Ca-knuckler Bullies occupies the mind instead.

Bullies, from 1986, is in most respects a typical backwoods revenge picture, but because the movie also tries to shoehorn in a Romeo & Juliet subplot, it spends more time than usual with its loathsome antagonists, a family of bullies called the Cullens. READ MORE

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Hype


Laura Sosin
Sr. Publicist, Jive Communications


While the fraternal band of hooligans in Goons appear to be nominally on the side of good, the band of thugs in Junior, in particular the nutty Junior himself, are among the most hateful villains in Canadian film history.

When a pair of ex-hookers arrive in a small lake town to start new lives at a broken-down marina, they immediately raise the ire of the local sheriff and the sinister band of rednecks who dwell nearby. These goons begin a campaign of harassment so unrelenting that anyone but K.C. and Jo, our heroines, would have booked it after the first rape attempt, or at the very least the second. READ MORE


As Henchmen points out, nobody thinks of the henchmen, who are usually little more than the bad guy’s evil appendage or else simply nameless cannon fodder. But when the henchmen are as charming as those in the modern classic Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare, who else can you think of?

The main antagonist in this delightful opus is a big rubber demon, but it’s his little pals, the devilish mischief-makers in his employ, who really capture the heart. They peep in at ladies, hork into drinks, peer over the edge of the sound mixing console and show up in the leftovers. They’re a hardworking bunch and no mistake. READ MORE

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Franchise


Directors of Turbo Kid


While “franchise” is a term that probably should have stayed within the fast-food industry which likely spawned it, if one allows its application to the arts, and to cinema in particular, Canada may be said to have a few film franchises of its own.

Some of these are official and some not; to the latter category belongs that special class of pictures gloriously suffixed with the word “balls". Like Goons, the Balls pictures are comedies, and one assumes the holders of the Goons trust will apply it likewise as a suffix, so that we may anticipate Screwgoons, Firegoons, or one day maybe even Oddgoons. READ MORE


The film industry’s cynical embrace of the word “franchise,” as applied to a series of sequels, was anticipated by at least one gimlet-eyed prophet: the late bearded bulldog-Blake of Canadian cinema, Peter Simpson.

Simpson conceived of the film-as-galaxy, a cosmology more complicated than, say, the so-called “Marvel Universe.” In Simpson’s imagining each movie at once stood alone, was related to every other movie, and, most crucially, itself contained worlds beyond counting, just as in the poet’s grain of sand. The makers of Hellmington would do well to take a page from Simpson’s book. READ MORE

For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within

Mission: Roast


Team Human Town
The Big Deal, 2014 ComedyCoup


Making fun of Canadian movies is something of a national sport, and though many of those who engage in it do so from a position of hard-hearted ignorance – bemoaning their unwilling participation as taxpayers, to use the most common, most idiotic example – the rest of us, certainly me, Kid Because We Love.

An easy target, one I frequently take potshots at, are the many co-productions and offshore films that are produced in Canada. The presence of High School Brawl as this week’s crowd pick makes me think of one of these scary half-Canuck mutants in particular, the fondly-recalled Class of 1984. READ MORE


It’s always been a big mystery to me why there aren’t more Canadian Sasquatch films. Actually, it’s a mystery to me why all Canadian films aren’t about bigfoot to some degree, but I suppose one has to be realistic.

Still, we have a few, like the lame Sasquatch, from 2002 (Lance Henrikson was in it of course), and Drawing Flies (something produced by Kevin Smith in 1996, an early example of his strange obsession with Canada, I suppose); and if you stretch the point you might include pictures like Ghostkeeper and The Dark in that genre. Black Land will therefore be a most welcome addition to the canon. READ MORE
For more, go to Canuxploitation and Rue Morgue
Get Caelum's book They Came From Within