This weekend marks the official launch of The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul, a new book edited by André Loiselle and Gina Freitag, and featuring essays by several genre and media writers, including myself (making this page more than a bit of shameful self-promotion).
The book’s theme is Canadian horror, a topic that isn’t often examined in lengthy tomes, although films fans are well aware we’ve made great films in various genres, languages, and covering more than a few unique episodes in Canadian history.
But what about horror?
What about a tome that’s packed with essays on a diversity of Canadian films that reflect our own distinct fears, if not fresh spins on classic sub-genres, or perhaps brand new genres?
I’m delighted my contribution, an essay on the seminal forest slasher Rituals (1977), is in great company, nestled alongside fellow Rue Morgue scribes like James Burrell, Andrea Subissati, and Paul Corupe – plus sage authors Kier-La Janisse and Caelum Vatnsdal and more.
The book’s contents are divided into six sections:
I – SHAPING THE CANADIAN HORROR LANDSCAPE
1. Monsters Up North: A Taxonomy of Terror – Caelum Vatnsdal
2. Viral Culture: Canadian Cultural Protectionism and Pontypool – Andrea Subissati
II – THE TERRITORIES OF HORROR: TERROR STORIES ON PAGE AND SCREEN
3. Blood in the Bush Garden: Indigenization, Gender and Unsettling Horror – Aalya Ahmad
4. Pure Laine Evil: The Horrifying Normality of Québec’s Ordinary Hell in the Film Adaptations of Patrick Senécal’s ‘Romans d’Épouvante’ – André Loiselle
III – A GOLDEN AGE OF GORE: THE TAX SHELTER SLASHER
5. (Who’s in the) Driver’s Seat: The Canadian Brute Unleashed in Death Weekend – Paul Corupe
6. The Creation and Codification of the Forest Slasher during the Tax Shelter Years 1977–1982 – Mark R. Hasan
IV – THE TRUE NORTH, STRONG AND VIOLENT: ECO-HORROR IN CANADA
7. The [Hostile] Nature of Things: A Cultural Dialogue on Environmental Survival – Gina Freitag
8. Eco-Horror and Boundary Transgressions in Orca: The Killer Whale – Peter Thompson
V – HORROR BY ANY OTHER NAME: ANIMATION AND THE AVANT GARDE
9. A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time: The Fear of Selling out in Nelvana’s The Devil and Daniel Mouse and Rock and Rule – Kier-La Janisse
10. Where is Fear? Space, Place, and the Sense of Horror in the Canadian Avant-Garde Film – Scott Birdwise
VI – BLOOD, GUTS, AND BEYOND: AN HOMAGE TO CRONENBERG
11. Traces of Horror: the Later Films of David Cronenberg – Bill Beard
12. The Physician as Mad Scientist: A Fear of Deviant Medical Practices in the Films of David Conenberg – James Burrell
13. Contagious Characters: Cronenberg’s Rabid, Demarbre’s Smash Cut and the Reframing of Porn- fame – Sean Moreland
The University of Toronto Press’s The Canadian Horror Film is now available for pre-order from local bookshops and online retailers (see end).
Also: there’s an official book launch at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this Saturday October 24th, prior to the free 9pm screening of Canada’s first 3D feature film, The Mask (1961), directed by Julian Roffman. The rarely seen shocker (filmed in & around Toronto) was recently restored by TIFF in conjunction with the 3D Film Archive, and is slated for a 3D Blu-ray release November 24th via KINO.
Present at the screening will be editors / co-authors Loiselle and Freitag, plus a few co-authors from Rue Morgue, including myself, Andrea Subissati and James Burrell, ready to sign copies of the book. Signings are slated to begin around 8:30pm.
The book can also be pre-ordered from Amazon, via the following links:
Lastly, those of you wishing to catch The Mask at the TBL’s Cinema 2 tonight can meet author James Burrell, who will be signing copies of the latest Rue Morgue Library installment, Horrorwood North: The extraordinary history and art of Canada genre cinema.
Coming next: podcast interview with writer / director Dan Spurgeon and actor Frank Blocker on adapting and performing their stellar stage version of The Baby (1973), the cult film written by Abe Polsky and directed by Ted Post. The play is currently running at Toronto’s The Storefront Theatre until November 1st.
Mark R. Hasan, Editor
Category: EDITOR'S BLOG