Canuxploitation Primer

(To continue the Films Cochons topic, check this out. Bet you never thought there was such a thing as Canuxploitation…)

Although they are often discussed with uneasiness by critics, B-movies and cult films map out an alternative history of cinema. Even Canada’s relatively young feature film industry has a rich heritage of forgotten “trash” and low budget gems, hastily swept under the carpet by embarrassed critics and confused audiences alike. Together they present us with a film legacy entirely different from our traditional understanding of Canadian movies as either languid art films or happy tales of Prairie life. It is this seedy underbelly of Canadian movies that is the phenomenon known as “Canuxploitation”.

In the truest sense of the term, Canadian exploitation films are simply low-budget genre films which were made in Canada. But they are much more as well. Because exploitation films are designed to play on the fears and desires of an audience, looking at the way Canada’s genre films have changed throughout the years can reveal more about how Canadians interpret themselves than any “art film.” And, as opposed to most of today’s Canadian films which seem intended for film festival audiences, Canuxploitation can actually be entertaining.