toronto movies

The 10 weirdest Toronto movies of all time

The definitive Toronto movie has yet to be made. While New York enjoys Taxi Driver, and Chicago The Blues Brothers, (hell, even Winnipeg has Death by Popcorn: The Tragedy of the Winnipeg Jets), Toronto's film scene has yet to produce an iconic, undisputed masterpiece which captures the pure un-distilled essence of the city.

That said we certainly have no shortage of weird movies. Since the entire oeuvre of Canadian film has been summed up succinctly with the title Weird Sex & Snowshoes, it should come as no surprise that Toronto has contributed a lion's share of odd, offbeat and just plain bananas films into an already crowded field of nuts.

Since our national consciousness deems a majority of Canadian film and TV ephemera unworthy of celebration, many of these films remain lost in a black hole of cultural amnesia, copyright hell or snobbish embarrassment, our everlasting shame.

Here's a list of what might be the weirdest Toronto movies of all time.

Enemy (2013)

There is no greater film illustrating Toronto's ongoing psychological struggle with identity crisis than Denis Villeneuve's Enemy.

Coming across outwardly as a Cronenberg horror movie remixed by David Lynch by way of Michael Snow (which itself is enough of a reason to submit), Enemy can be read any which way you can, making it the ultimate weird Toronto movie. That final shot!

My Pet Monster (1986)

Lots of '80s kids fondly remember Nelvana's cartoon series My Pet Monster, while even more probably recall its ear-wormy theme song. A very select few know of the live action movie.

Yes, it all started here with this sinister children's movie about a class trip to a Toronto that turns into a nightmare when lowly school kid Max is transformed into a monster. Yannick "Detective Murdoch" Bisson stars as Max's older brother.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

Whether rabidly adored or violently loathed, no one can deny Scott Pilgrim is pretty much unlike *anything* else (other than its source graphic novels, of course).

You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger, geekier valentine to Toronto, which is pretty cool because in the hands of a lesser director that may not have been the case.

Deadly Eyes (1982)

Mostly memorable for featuring a graphic, blood splattered rat attack on TTC patrons, this gory B-movie (directed by Robert "Enter the Dragon" Clouse) also features Spadina's Golden Harvest Theatre coming under attack from Dachshunds in rat costumes.

Adapted from the James Herbert novel The Rats, and available on a lovingly restored Bluray from the always reliable Scream Factory.

Destiny to Order (1989)

Burned out Toronto writer J.D Baird encounters his own fictional characters who have inexplicably come to life via a computer disk, including the villainous Kenrick who steals the disk and decides to re-write J.D's story.

Highlights include a truly loony career defining turn from the always reliably bonkers Michael Ironside, who plays Kenrick with the type of unhinged gravitas usually reserved for Shakespeare's Henry V.

The Silent Partner (1978)

Gritty psychological drama with stalwarts Elliot Gould and Christopher Plummer at their absolute peak, pressing the question as to why no one ever made a movie like this again.

Gould plays a meek bank teller who becomes the target of Plummer's rage when he rips off his mark. Also stars a very young John Candy, and features a messy bank robbery at the Eaton Centre committed by Santa.

Circle of Two (1982)

Liz Taylor's gravel-voiced alcoholic ex Richard Burton romances a school girl (Tatum O'Neal) nearly 50 years his junior on the Toronto Island and in the Beaches.

Shooting for something akin to Stanley Kubrick's Lolita, Circle ends up more like a local episode of To Catch a Predator, with the once dignified Burton coming across as a lecherous old nonce preying upon a helpless young girl. Why was this made, and dare we ask, for whom?

Psycho Pike (1992)

According to Canuxploitation.com, Psycho Pike (aka Psychopike), is "a film that haunted the minds of at least a handful of young Canadians who most likely discovered it via an article in a 1992 issue of Cottage Life magazine, a breezy puff piece that details production on the film accompanied by a still of a man with his head caught in the mighty jaws of a pike puppet."

Never commercially released, the film remains a hot topic online where a Facebook fan page has since descended into arguments between people who made this horror film and those desperately trying to attain a copy.

The Real Toronto (2003)

A frightening un-sanitized visit into the poorest neighbourhoods of Toronto via the gang-scene circa 2000s, quasi-documentary The Real Toronto only qualifies as weird due to the fact that it portrays a side of Toronto rarely seen.

More than 15 years after its notorious debut as a bootleg DVD sold in the back of record stores, it remains a YouTube sideshow.

Crash (1996)

Our city's most prolific director David Cronenberg has created a canon of challenging, unique and often grotesque movies which seem to be broadcasting from the dark recesses of a distinctly Torontonian weltanschauung.

Nothing in his catalogue, however, has come close to matching macro curio Crash. Like a bleak winter's fever dream, the Toronto witnessed in Crash is a bitterly cold, neurotic staging ground for sexual evolution via automobile accidents (and that's really just the window dressing).

Lead photo by

Crash


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