Our Feature Film Fest: 13

Fears factored into filmic equation

Published: Jul 28 2015, 01:01:am

Prepared for Chuck Davis and The Greater Vancouver Book — June, 1995
[Published in 1997 by The Linkman Press]



THIS IS YOUR PROGRAM guide to a series of 20 movie retrospectives. Together, they include all of the theatrical feature films made in Vancouver and in release as of June, 1995. (Our current program does not include the made-for-TV pictures.) Though we've tried to be as complete as possible, we've almost certainly missed a few. If you know of any, please let us know. [Readers of this website who wish to get in touch with additions or corrections can reach me by using the Reeling Back Contact Me button.]
     Our notes on each picture include its title (and any alternate titles), its year of release, the director, leading players and a brief description.
     Our show continues with . . .


FRIGHT-NIGHT FEATURES ARE a film industry staple. Since a hint of the supernatural is enough to induce shivers, Vancouver has played host to its share of demons, devils, wraiths, entities and ectoplasmic emanations. The list includes:

A NAME FOR EVIL (1970; Bernard Girard) with Robert Culp, Samantha Eggar, Reed Sherman. An architect (Culp) inherits an 18th century mansion and is driven to extremes when his wife (Eggar) is seduced by the resident ghost. Location shooting took place in the Wigwam Inn overlooking Indian Arm. Also known as THE GROVE and THE FACE OF EVIL, this troubled project was filmed by M-G-M, then acquired by magazine publisher Bob Guccione to become the first film released by his Penthouse Productions in 1973.

SHADOW OF THE HAWK (1976; George McCowan) with Jan-Michael Vincent, Marilyn Hassett, Chief Dan George, Marianne Jones. Accompanied by a newswoman (Hassett), the urbanized grandson (Vincent) of a tribal shaman (George) returns to his ancestral home to deal with a demonic entity (Jones). George McCowan replaced the film's original director, Daryl Duke. Vancouver and the B.C. Interior provided the settings for this Columbia Pictures release.

THE CHANGELING (1979; Peter Medak) with George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, John Colicos. Vancouver plays a Gothic-looking Seattle in this tale of a restless spirit attempting to communicate with a grieving widower (Scott). Produced by Cineplex Theatres founder Garth Drabinsky, this Genie Award best-picture winner made use of such locations as the Orpheum Theatre, Gastown's Hotel Europe and a Hudson Street mansion with a view of the North Shore mountains.

PROPHECY (1979; John Frankenheimer) with Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, Armand Assante, George Clutesi. Though caused by a logging operation's industrial pollution, horrific mutations encountered by an environmental scientist (Foxworth) also fulfill a local Native American prediction recalled by a tribal elder (Clutesi). Vancouver, Crofton and North Cowichan stand in for this Paramount Pictures shock feature's urban and backwoods Maine settings.

THE RESURRECTED (1992; Dan O'Bannon; based on the 1941 novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft) with Chris Sarandon, John Terry, Jane Sibbert. This time-hopping adaptation of Lovecraft's posthumously published novel is about a basement scientist (Sarandon) obsessed with raising the dead, and his 18th-century ancestor (also Sarandon) who possessed the secret. B.C. plays Rhode Island in director O'Bannon's second (and last) feature. Also known as THE TOMB OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD and SCATTERBRAIN, it was filmed for release in the U.S. by M-G-M.

NEEDFUL THINGS (1993; Fraser Heston; based on the 1991 novel by Stephen King) with Max Von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia. Idyllic Gibsons plays Stephen King's Castle Rock, a coastal Maine community visited by Old Nick (Von Sydow), a small businessman in the market for souls. Heston, who'd worked with his father Charlton on the 1982 B.C.-made wilderness drama Mother Lode, returned to Vancouver to direct his own first theatrical feature, a supernatural thriller, for Columbia Pictures.   

HIDEAWAY (1995; Brett Leonard; based on the 1992 novel by Dean Koontz) with Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti, Jimmy Sisto. A near-death experience forges a psychic link between a family man (Goldblum) and a Satan-worshipping serial killer (Sisto) who's preying upon unwary women in Washington state. Director Leonard used locations that included downtown Vancouver, remote Britannia Beach and Exhibition Park's vintage wooden roller coaster for this Tri-Star Pictures horror show.

THE HUNTED (1995; J.F. Lawton) with Christopher Lambert, John Lone, Joan Chen. Aided by the ghost of a gangster's murdered mistress (Chen), an American businessman (Lambert) in Japan does battle with her Ninja killer (Lone). After some establishing shots in Nagoya, a variety of B.C. locations — among them Queen Elizabeth Park and Lynn Canyon — play a ninja-infested modern Japan. A Universal Pictures release, this was Christopher (Knight Moves) Lambert's second working visit to Vancouver.

JUMANJI (1995; Joe Johnston; based on the 1981 novel by Chris Van Allsburg) with Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt. Released from his 26-year-long imprisonment in a magic land, an unlucky board-game player (Williams) returns to the real world with some not-so-nice special-effects creations right behind him. The first of eight feature films that actor Williams made in B.C., this $50-million action fantasy shot some scenes in the U.S. to establish its New England setting. The bulk of the TriStar picture was filmed in and around Vancouver and on Bridge Studios sets.

SUSIE Q (1995; John Blizek) with Amy Jo Johnson, Justin Whalen, Shelly Long. A lonely child (Whalen) helps a friendly ghost (Johnson) solve an old mystery in this family-friendly supernatural fantasy. Vancouver independent producer Shavick Entertainment dressed B.C. locations to play Willow Valley, Washington, circa 1955 in this classic-rock puppy love story shot for the Disney Channel.

The above is Part 13 of a 20-part restoration of a Greater Vancouver Book article by Michael Walsh originally published in 1997. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: Postings in this Feature Film Festival series include:
Part 1 [Introduction & Vancouver Firsts]
Part 2 [God's Country]
Part 3 [Cybercity]
Part 4 [Documentary]
Part 5 [Youthquakes]
Part 6 [Lovely Couples]
Part 7 [Encore]

Part 8 [Self-Portraits]

Part 9 [Encore II]

Part 10 [Local Heroes]
Part 11 [Directorial Tribute - Jack Darcus]
Part 12 [The B-List]
Part 13 [Things that Go Bump in the Night]
Part 14 [Cabin Fever Dreams]
Part 15 [Law and Order]
Part 16 [Terminal City Comedy Club]
Part 17 [Man's Best Friends]
Part 18 [In Other Words]
Part 19 [Midnight Madness]
Part 20 [On the Road Again]

See also: The seven-part series "Feature Films Made In Vancouver and B.C." from The Vancouver Book published in 1976 —  Part 1 [Introduction; the Silents]; Part 2 [Outside Vancouver, 1932-38]; Part 3 [Outside Vancouver, 1942-75]; Part 4 [Vancouver, 1932-68]; Part 5 [Vancouver, 1969-71]; Part 6 [Vancouver, 1972-75]; Part 7 [Miscellany & Sources].