Over the past several years, Canuxploitation has had the opportunity to talk to several of the writers, directors and producers who helped shape the sometimes sordid history of Canadian B-film.
With a career that stretches across 40 years and almost every genre of filmmaking, Bob Clark has become one of Canada's most artistically and commercially successful directors—despite being an American. Since his arrival north of the border in the early 1970s, Clark has changed the face of horror filmmaking with groundbreaking cult efforts like Deathdream and Black Christmas made his mark with Porky's--still the highest-grossing Canadian film of all time and unwrapped the universally loved A Christmas Story, one of a select handful of bona fide holiday classics.
When Zale Dalen burst on Vancouver's film scene in 1977 with his directorial debut Skip Tracer, he was already well versed in the industry. An alumni of the Simon Fraser University Film Workshop, Dalen also worked for documentarian Allan King and the CBC and handled sound for a variety of early West coast features. Dalen continued to take on Canadian features including the award-winning The Hounds of Notre Dame, a slice-of-life hockey drama based on Saskatchewan legend Father Athol Murray, the Billy Blanks martial arts/virtual reality action fest Expect No Mercy and the dystopian punk satire Terminal City Ricoche
Joseph Aldic Gaudet's career in Canadian film and media production has encompassed everything from industrial video production to script doctoring to lecturer. His break as a director came from infamous Emmeritus producer Lionel Shenken, who specialized in staggeringly low budget, shot-on-video movies that would air on Southern Ontario's CHCH-TV before hitting the international video circuit. Brought on to supplement Emmeritus' string of non-union directors, Joe debuted with Deadly Pursuit, a Vietnam revenge movie, and later directed his own script for the international political thriller The Hijacking of Studio 4
Peter Jobin has been active in Canadian film for more than thirty years, but he will always be best known to Canuxploitaion fans for penning the classic 1980s Canadian horror Happy Birthday to Me with his writing partner, Timothy Bond. Despite a slightly troubled production history which saw the pair's original ending nixed, Happy Birthday to Me has gained a reputation as one of the best Canadian slashers, a film whose influence on the genre is still felt to this day.
Not only has George Mihalka dabbled in almost every genre in his 30-year career, but he also worked on both sides of Canada’s great language divide, earning acclaim for both his English and French-language productions. A no-nonsense director who always brings a high degree of craft to his work, the Budapest-born, Montreal-based Mihalka got his big break during the tax shelter era with the hit teen sex romp Pinball Summer and fondly remembered slasher horror tale My Bloody Valentine, which was picked up by Paramount and is often cited as one of the best horror films of the 1980s. The Vice President of the Directors Guild of Canada, Mihalka continues to direct today, concentrating mainly on television and direct-to-video films.
John Paizs really did mean to be good. With his brilliantly hilarious comedy Crime Wave, the maverick director managed to establish himself as one of the country's most unique voices in an industry where " entertainment" is often considered a dirty word. Through his short films, his work on seminal Canadian TV series Kids in the Hall and his gloriously goofy sci-fi romp Top of the Food Chain, John's subtle humour and striking visuals have made an indelible mark on Canadian comedy.
A veteran of the film production business in Canada, Bob Presner has worked on a wide variety of films throughout his career. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he played a pivotal role in the development off Canadian B-film, producing both the teen sex romp Pinball Summer and the well-loved Maritime slasher classic, My Bloody Valentine
There wasn't much local film production in Alberta until David Winning began shooting low-budget genre thrillers in the late 1980s and early '90s. Winning's first feature, Storm (1987) , was based on his earlier short Sequence (1980). This twisty tale of revenge, set in the Albertan woods, became a video store staple thanks to a distribution deal through the Cannon Group, who picked up the film--but only after Winning agreed to pad out the feature with 23 additional minutes.