Sunday, July 28, 2013

They Came From Within

"Canada may one day be counted as one of the great horror-film producing countries or it may not, but after forty-five years of malevolent masks, cannibals, creatures, ghosts, diabolists, maniacs and mutations, it cannot be denied that the country has a genuine horror movie history."

So states author Caelum Vatnsdal in the closing comments of They Came From Within, which is an excellent overview of Canadian horror films from the 1960s-early 2000s--and a worthy addition to any horror fan's library.






They Came From Within is also one of the alternate titles of David Cronenberg's first feature film, Shivers (1975). Although this prolific writer/director/actor may be the most well-known Canuck working in the horror genre, Vatnsdal brings much-needed attention to many other (often forgotten) contributors to the Canadian horror film landscape--including Julian Roffman, George Mihalka and William Fruet. Thoroughly researched, They Came From Within is written in a conversational style, rich with anecdotes and quite humorous at times. But this is also one of the faults; sometimes one has to trace back a couple of paragraphs in order to figure out which film Vatnsdal is discussing.

To my knowledge, this is the only book to date that has provided such a thorough survey of the history of Canadian horror films--and it does seem to be written for a Canadian audience, so bear that in mind. The only reason why it was not given full marks is because spoilers run rampant throughout the book; the ending is revealed for most (if not all) of the films discussed. However, because of the rarity of many of the movies, you'll have forgotten the synopsis by the time you finally hunt down a copy!

**** out of *****


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