Top 20 Horror Films for Canada Day!


O Canada! Happy birthday, neighbors to the north! I didn’t want to forget your day, because quite frankly, I’m a little afraid of you. Oh, sure, you’ve got most people fooled with your quiet politeness, but not me. Not with the way you like watching men strap on skates and beat each other bloody out on the ice. And certainly not after seeing a few of these movies you’ve made.

If you’re in a celebrating mood, why not run out to your local video store (or torrent site, as the case may be) and watch one of these fine films over a plate of poutine?

Black Christmas (1974)
I swear to God the director of this movie must have been a time traveler, because he managed to make a straight-up slasher movie, complete with all the trappings of the genre — an unknown killer, teen-age girl protagonists, point-of-view camera shots, an ambiguous ending — four years before Halloween, the film that’s usually given credit for starting the genre. Crazy.

Shivers (1975), The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), The Dead Zone (1983), Videodrome (1983), and The Fly (1986)
Ahhh, the early films of David Cronenberg, my favorite horror director. I saw The Fly when I was still young and impressionable and I loved it, and was blown away years later to find out that his earlier work delved even deeper into weird, nightmarish body horror. Good stuff. Weird, weird stuff. What the hell do you guys have in the water up there?

The Gate (1987) 
I don’t honestly remember a whole lot about this movie, except that I enjoyed it. The protagonists are kids, so it’s closer to Goosebumps than it is to, say, Saw, but it’s fun and kinda charming.

Cube (1997)
Love, love, love this movie. Really shows how a creative script can make up for a limited budget. Claustrophobic, paranoid, inexplicable.

Ginger Snaps (2000)
A vibrant, clever, entertaining take on werewolves, with interesting and relatable teen-age girl lead characters. Watching their relationship fall apart is almost as upsetting as any of the horror elements, and the ending is pretty heartbreaking.

Pontypool (2009)
This was a great little surprise. It’s basically a zombie movie, and that’s all I’m going to tell you — and I’d urge you to find out as little as you can before you watch it. I highly recommend it. (And I highly recommend you ignore the weird, pointless, kinda artsy post-credits scene. Not sure what they were trying to do there.)

Splice (2009)
This is, sadly, the first of these films I actually got to see in the theater when it came out. I’m glad I did. Made by the same people who made Cube, this is very creepy, very disturbing, and deals with some ethical questions we may need to face in the not-too-distant future. I know some people felt this film goes off the rails in the last act, but I thought the ending was pretty great.

Haven’t had a chance to see any of the films below yet, but they have strong enough reputations that I wanted to include them anyway. (Besides, maybe this post will remind me to watch them.)

Rabid (1977)
That’s right — there’s still one last early David Cronenberg film I haven’t seen. At this point, I’m kind of saving it for a special occasion. It looks like a different take on vampires, and those are always interesting to me. (Which is why I wrote one — “Still Life,” available on Amazon on July 19th! Ahem.)

Prom Night (1980)
I know, right? I can’t believe I haven’t seen this yet, either, especially since it helped cement the role of Jamie Lee Curtis in our hearts and minds as everyone’s beloved Scream Queen.

The Changeling (1980)
I do love a good haunted house movie, and from everything I hear, this is one of the best. And it stars George C. Scott, who is awesome.

My Bloody Valentine (1981)
I did see the 3D remake . . . sequel? Reboot? I’m not sure. Anyway, it was terrible. But a friend whose opinion I trust says I really should watch the original, so I’m sure I will.

Fido (2007)
This looks . . . cute? Is that the right word for a zombie movie? Well, it does. Zombie fans speak of it pretty highly.

Martyrs (2008)
I know basically nothing about this, except that it’s supposed to be violent and really disturbing. Works for me. I also hear it’s one you should really avoid spoilers for, so I’m not seeking any out.

The Shrine (2011) and The Moth Diaries (2011)
Don’t know much of anything about either of these two, either, except that Netflix’s magical algorithm fairies think I’ll really like them, and they’re usually right.

So! Any Canadian horror classics I’ve left out? Any input on which one of these films I should watch tonight? Let me know in the comments!