Festival Spotlights Home-Grown Horrors
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Festival Spotlights Home-Grown Horrors

Check out our country's best horror movies at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival.

From Berkshire County  Image courtesy of Narrow Edge Productions

From Berkshire County. Image courtesy of Narrow Edge Productions.

Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival
Carlton Cinemas (20 Carlton Street)
November 28–30
$11; Saturday ticket $30; festival pass $65

Let’s take a serious (but somewhat hyperbolic) look at Canadian life; for almost half the year, the cold threatens to take our body parts—or in the worst-case scenario, our lives. Summer is fleeting and plagued by construction and traffic. Should we manage to escape the big-city grind for a few days, we’re preyed upon by bears, snakes, and carnivorous insects in the wild. All things considered, it’s a wonder that we Canucks don’t have a propensity for murderous rages. It’s possible that it is because we’ve found another outlet for our stresses: there has been a steady increase in horror-film production across our fine, seemingly peaceful country. This weekend, Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival returns to the Carlton Cinema to celebrate the filmmakers who channel their inner darkness into on-screen frights.

Formed in 2012, the festival—lovingly known as BITS—is all about fresh blood, with 15 films on the program making their Toronto debut. Like having something to brag about? Treat your eyes to Damn Selfie, Heinous Acts, and The Resurrections of Clarence Neveldine—you’ll be the first in the world to do so! Some pieces, Insane for example, have already been showcased and won awards at festivals such as Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Fest.

If the idea of spending an entire weekend engulfed by buckets of guts makes you feel a little queasy, have no—well, have some—fear. Appealing to a wide array of genre fans, the programming includes nearly every sub-genre. You can expect to see a range of paranormal, home invasion, alien, asylum, vampire, zombie, ’80s slasher, action, crime, comedy, and archeologists-unearthing-evil horrors.

Making its Canadian debut, Berkshire County starts the weekend off on a nightmarish note, bringing together Halloween, babysitting, isolated country homes, and pig masks. If you tend to avoid independent films because they lack star power, check out the vampire flick Queen of Blood, starring Skinny Puppy’s Nivek Ogre (and then go on an indie binge—you’re missing out!).

For those who hope to see their own names in lights one day, attending Sunday’s seminar on surviving the festival and distribution world is a must. And as many of the filmmakers will be attending the screenings, rubbing elbows and talking shop are both inevitable and encouraged.

Thanks to the vendor village, you’ll be able to pick up more than just a snack when you pop out to the lobby between showtimes. Find gifts for all the morbid people on your list with the help of RoadkillJill Creations, The Gift Crypt, GloomMatter, 13 Flames, and many others.

With more than 20 films on the lineup, deciding on a plan of action can be an understandably overwhelming prospect. If you’re not ready to dive right in, test the waters with the Short Film Showcase—a presentation of seven snappy, scary clips. With admission for each film set at $11, marathoners will want to take advantage of the $30 Saturday ticket, or go hardcore and invest in a $65 weekend pass.