This past July marked the first screening for the Niagara series Cult Canada – a monthly series celebrating some of Canada’s ‘severely underappreciated’ genre films. At Mahtay Café, the first screening featured Things (1989), a direct-to-video independent exploitation horror film directed by Andrew Jordan, which has been considered to be one of the worst movies of all time.
The second in the series is Beyond the 7th Door (1987) an Ontario filmed flick, directed by Bozidar D. Benedikt. The film centres around an ex-convict who breaks into his boss’s old estate and ultimately falls into a trap set up for thieves.
Will Foran, curator of Cult Canada, said that the motivation for starting the series came from memories of his time in college.
“Some of my best memories revolve around when everyone got together and put on a weird move that we could pick apart and enjoy. I wouldn’t say we wanted to watch ‘bad’ movies, because that would suggest that the moves weren’t so fun to watch. As time went on this tradition sort of faded away, so I had been thinking for a while that it would be cool to bring that similar sort of concept into a community setting,” he said.
With rare VHS and ‘b-movie’s’ making a slow revival over the past few years, the screenings are designed to create an appreciation for misunderstood and underappreciated films that got lost by the wayside.
“When I would come across a film that really surprised me, I’ve had the desire to share it with people, often to their distaste. But, this is a way to bring people together to appreciate the more bizarre and weird efforts of genre film,” said Foran.
The first screening was a success, with co-star of Things, Bruce Roach showing up with posters and copies of the DVD. “He was chumming it up with the moviegoers and I think we were able to make some new fans out of people,” said Foran.
A VHS/Movie swap will take place before each screening, and Foran plans to provide insight into the background of each movie.
“I just want people to have that shared experience of watching something completely off-the-wall. Sitting at home and popping on a VHS tape is great, but there’s something about watching it with others that makes it a little more special,” he said.
If all things go well, Foran hints that perhaps the Cult Canada screenings could move into a chance to create a ‘cult-film’ festival for residents of Niagara.
“I’d like to think of this as something that the community can contribute to and make suggestions,’ he said. “If no one shows up to the screenings in the first place – they don’t exist. I want everyone attending the screenings to know that they are just as much their event as they are mine.”
Beyond the 7th Door Screens for free at Mahtay Café on August 10.