Our Feature Film Fest: 7

Play it again, Vancouver

Published: Jan 22 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 . . .


IN THE MOTION PICTURE business, success breeds sequels. Although the originals were made elsewhere, these follow-on features provided work and professional credits for Vancouver film folk:

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, PART 2 (1978; d. Larry Peerce) with Marilyn Hassett, Timothy Bottoms, Nan Martin. Overcoming her fear of commitment, a paraplegic schoolteacher (Hassett) marries a trucker (Bottoms) and passes through Vancouver on her way to a Vancouver Island honeymoon. It followed Universal Pictures successful 1975 biopic THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, which told the true story of Jill Kinmont, a teenaged ski champion who fights for her life and finds purpose following a crippling downhill accident. Peerce directed both films, with his wife, Hassett, in the starring role.

ROCKY IV (1985; d. Sylvester Stallone) with Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Talia Shire. The Pacific National Exhibition's Agrodome stands in for a Soviet sports palace where the American champ (Stallone) beats up on the Red Army's steroidal best boxer (Lundgren). Stallone brought the fourth feature in his United Artists ROCKY franchise to Vancouver, where he directed and starred in the most flag-waving chapter in the series.

THE FLY II (1989; d. Chris Walas) with Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson. The monstrous mutations continue as profit-driven scientists experiment on the original Fly's son (Stoltz) on huge Bridge Studios laboratory sets. Chris Walas was an Oscar-winner for creating the make-up and creature effects for Toronto-based director David Cronenberg's 20th Century Fox release THE FLY (1986). The sequel, his debut as a director, made use of locations at both the University of B.C. and Simon Fraser University.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989; d. Rob Hedden) with Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder, Peter Mark Richman. The hockey-masked slasher (Hodder) adds 19 notches to his machete, dispatching victims on locations that include a Vancouver SkyTrain dressed to look like the New York subway. TV writer Rob Hedden made his debut as a feature director with the only Paramount Pictures FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel shot in B.C. The murders begin on a cruise ship, played by the retired Prince George, then moored off Britannia Beach.

XTRO II: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER (1990; d. Harry Bromley-Davenport) with Jan-Michael Vincent, Paul Koslo, Tara Buckman. An American scientist (Vincent) battles a hideous, violent thing from another world in an isolated, subterranean military research lab. Independent producer Lloyd Simandl brought Harley Bromley-Davenport, director of the 1983 British cult feature XTRO, to his Vancouver studios to make this loosely connected sequel.

ERNEST RIDES AGAIN (1994; d. John R. Cherry III) with Jim Varney, Ron K. James, Linda Kash. U.B.C. plays the Virginia college where a comic handyman (Varney) and an obsessed professor (James) are intent on finding a lost Revolutionary War cannon. The sixth of nine feature films that Kentucky-born comic actor Varney made as his Ernest P. Worrell character,  and the first of two made back-to-back in B.C.  Locations for this low-budget U.S. production included Pacific Spirit Park and the wide-open spaces of Delta.

RED SCORPION 2 (1994; d. Michael Kennedy) with Jennifer Rubin, Matt McColm, John Savage. With the Soviet Union gone, Russia's finest female commando (Rubin) finds work with an NSA team tasked with infiltrating a gang of American neo-Nazis plotting a presidential assassination. In this sequel-in-name-only to U.S. exploitation film director Joe Zito's 1988 RED SCORPION, Canadian Michael Kennedy used many of downtown Vancouver's showier locations, including Robson Square, Chinatown and the Plaza of Nations.

ERNEST GOES TO SCHOOL (1995; d. Coke Sams) with Jim Varney, Corrine Koslo, Bill Byrge, Pauline Walsh. Lord Byng Secondary plays Chickasaw Falls High School, where a custodian (Varney) becomes a temporary genius after a session with the science teacher's brain-boosting machine. The seventh of nine feature films that starred Varney as Ernest P. Worrell, and the second of two made back-to-back in B.C.

The above is Part 7 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].