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No horror film is truly mainstream, David Cronenberg has said, and it is for this reason that even the lowliest of them may be worth consideration. In They Came From Within, Caelum Vatnsdal adjusts the focus in Canadian horror films, and unwinds the history of this neglected genre to learn "why we fear what we fear and how it came to be that way." From the early Canadian i No horror film is truly mainstream, David Cronenberg has said, and it is for this reason that even the lowliest of them may be worth consideration. In They Came From Within, Caelum Vatnsdal adjusts the focus in Canadian horror films, and unwinds the history of this neglected genre to learn "why we fear what we fear and how it came to be that way." From the early Canadian infiltration of Hollywood in the thirties, to the flowering of Canuck horror films in the sixties and seventies, to the surreal products of the "tax-shelter" eighties and beyond, Vatnsdal shows how the Canadian horror film industry has, unwittingly or not, created a complex social, economic, and political portrait of a nation. Engagingly written, extensively researched, and lavishly illustrated with rare stills and poster art, They Came From Within is an invaluable addition of Canadian film criticism.


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No horror film is truly mainstream, David Cronenberg has said, and it is for this reason that even the lowliest of them may be worth consideration. In They Came From Within, Caelum Vatnsdal adjusts the focus in Canadian horror films, and unwinds the history of this neglected genre to learn "why we fear what we fear and how it came to be that way." From the early Canadian i No horror film is truly mainstream, David Cronenberg has said, and it is for this reason that even the lowliest of them may be worth consideration. In They Came From Within, Caelum Vatnsdal adjusts the focus in Canadian horror films, and unwinds the history of this neglected genre to learn "why we fear what we fear and how it came to be that way." From the early Canadian infiltration of Hollywood in the thirties, to the flowering of Canuck horror films in the sixties and seventies, to the surreal products of the "tax-shelter" eighties and beyond, Vatnsdal shows how the Canadian horror film industry has, unwittingly or not, created a complex social, economic, and political portrait of a nation. Engagingly written, extensively researched, and lavishly illustrated with rare stills and poster art, They Came From Within is an invaluable addition of Canadian film criticism.

30 review for They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick Spacek

    definitely unique, but the frequent admissions of having never seen some of the movies he's discussing makes me wonder if vatnsdal's book could benefit from a revisit, now that many of these films are available via release companies like vinegar syndrome or severin, to say nothing of youtube and bittorrent. it's a trifle repetitive and frequently lacks in-depth research, but it's a fun read and definitely one of a kind. anyone not from the great white north will benefit from the commentary within definitely unique, but the frequent admissions of having never seen some of the movies he's discussing makes me wonder if vatnsdal's book could benefit from a revisit, now that many of these films are available via release companies like vinegar syndrome or severin, to say nothing of youtube and bittorrent. it's a trifle repetitive and frequently lacks in-depth research, but it's a fun read and definitely one of a kind. anyone not from the great white north will benefit from the commentary within, but it seems like more of a toss-off than it could've been.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Niche book for niche audience. Runs through the Canadian cinematic horror history with concise synopsis of the relevant movies and some analysis of how they fit into the broader cinematic era as well as a discussion of who was involved, the merits or pitfalls of each entry. Through archive. Do recommend if Canadian horror is your jam.

  3. 5 out of 5

    I.D.

    Solid overview of a lot of movies that you’ll probably never have seen which’ll make you track down some gems and some stinkers. Wish I’d waited and bought the updated version of the book though.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Not bad, ton's of pictures.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Bottai

    I had a lot of problems with this book, though it did point me in the direction of some pretty great/ridiculous movies I'd never even heard of (Rituals? The Pit? The Uncanny? Death Weekend?). But mostly this book is written for a Canadian audience, not an international audience. It's full of in-jokes and cultural references directed towards fellow Canadians, which is fine but... It really shrinks the audience for the book. The writing here is often too jokey and discursive, and there's lots and I had a lot of problems with this book, though it did point me in the direction of some pretty great/ridiculous movies I'd never even heard of (Rituals? The Pit? The Uncanny? Death Weekend?). But mostly this book is written for a Canadian audience, not an international audience. It's full of in-jokes and cultural references directed towards fellow Canadians, which is fine but... It really shrinks the audience for the book. The writing here is often too jokey and discursive, and there's lots and lots of technical production details that could have been cut to make room for context. Should a book like this contain so much plot summary of the movies that it covers? I'm not sure.... I think some is necessary but... Also, there's little to no awareness of or discussion of issues like race, gender, sexuality or class in this author's thinking through of his own national cinema's horror canon. One of the things I was most curious about is how the book would tackle the whiteness of Canada's horror output, and the strains of queerness and misogyny that run through many of its films. You won't find any of that. In fact, this book has no thesis, no overarching argument or observation about the Canadian horror movie industry...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brad Middleton

    "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. Read the full review at my blog, http://www.bradm "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. Read the full review at my blog, http://www.bradmiddleton.ca/2013/07/t...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Fascinating, thorough archive of Canadian horror film history. It sent me straight to the video store. Unfortunately, most of these films are difficult to find. Enjoyable for Cronenberg-philes and general horror fans alike!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cwl

    Canadian horror is either pretty-terrible-to-moderately-okay or David Cronenberg, so read this book about it. The production/financing details are probably more interesting than movies like The Vindicator and Humongous, to be honest.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Freddy McDonald

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sutherland

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Laurent-Pion

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krista

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  15. 4 out of 5

    Antigone

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Linscheid

  17. 5 out of 5

    James

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miro R

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Johnson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Coy Hall

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rick

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Milks

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shane

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tristin Deveau

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 5 out of 5

    Darren Bullerwell

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bavota

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel White

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Graham

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bill Hollister

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