The real congnocenti of CanCon are aware of this oddball horror-hardcore porn, primarily because of its mention in Calum Vatnsdal’s mandatory (and very wryly written) book They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror (2004), perhaps the best chronicle of Canadian film and the reasons why we maintain a collective disdain for things produced during the tax shelter years.
Sexcula was reportedly a beneficiary of the CCAP which allowed investors to dump cash into a film production and receive between 60%-100% credit for their generous cultural donation, which means Hey! We sort of financed authentic maple porn!
We made films in a variety of genres, but horror seemed to be the one that’s saved more than a few from utter oblivion (except airings on TV because of minimum Canadian content regulations, as on Bravo and Showcase).
Not all horror titles have been rescued, but a few genuine classics have been given proper home video releases. (Rituals comes to mind primarily because, well, I just finished my last rewrite on my chapter for the book Terror of the Soul, edited by Andre Loiselle, and slated soon for publication by U of T Press .)
The story behind Sexcula is perhaps a classic case where after delivering a completed film and earning his write-off, the film’s producer really had no reason to release the film, so after no one seemed interested in handling the unique property, it was locked away, save for a print that was bought by the National Archives in Ottawa, where it rested under the same roof as the country’s other multimedia history.
Porn – just a few kilometers from the Parliament buildings. Why, if the Prime Minster really wanted to, he could drive down and see Sexcula for himself and see Debbie Collins’ overactive pelvic muscles.
Impulse’s DVD perhaps signifies the best alternative for CanCon of any ilk: if someone with a keen interest and savvy business is able to market the film to niche audiences who lie waiting in Canada, the U.S., and maybe Canadian naval bases, then let them do so, because the possibility a Canadian label will eventually get to locked-up cult titles, gems, and grandiose duds is a pipe dream.
There’s simply aren’t enough indie labels in Canada willing to handle pure tax shelter CanCon, and the one corporation that owns almost everything that used to be independent, EOne, is still sorting through a truly massive catalogue of indigenous, American, and international titles it owns or to which it has various distribution rights. A good assets management film geek is what they need (Me?), but until all those rights agreements between distributors and investors (dentists, podiatrists, construction impresarios) are addressed, the prime source for CanCon remains foreign labels dedicated to our cult, our kitsch, and our classiques. (Still waiting for the Grey Fox, though. The investors fudged a 30th anniversary release in 2012, so maybe it’s time on Blu-ray will come in 2017?)
The only logical follow-up to a film titled Sexcula would be Spermula (1976), starring Udo Kier and Dayle Haddon, but alas, that review will have to wait.
Yes, Udo made a feature-length film called Spermula.