dead ringer casa loma

You can watch a freaky film about Casa Loma from inside the castle's basement

A new film tells the story of Casa Loma using footage from the many different films shot there, and you can watch the movie from inside the castle's basement for free, later this month. 

The movie, called Dead Ringer and created by Dave Dyment, examines the representation of Toronto in cinema and television. Specifically, it focuses on Toronto’s history as a stand-in for American cities and focuses on Casa Loma as a kind of microcosm for the larger city.

The film features Casa Loma footage from movies such as X-Men, Ready or Not, The Pacifier, Crimson Peak, The Tuxedo and others, while also looking at roughly a dozen other buildings and neighbourhoods in the city.

"Over two billion dollars are spent yearly in Toronto on various productions, mostly with the city as a stand in for New York, Chicago, Detroit and — mostly commonly — Anytown USA, or 'Generica' as it is sometimes called," Dyment told blogTO. 

"Yellow cabs flood the street, license plates are obscured and buses are rented to block recognizable landmarks. But even our most distinctive architecture is easily subsumed: City Hall, the ROM, Roy Thomson Hall, the University of Toronto and The RC Harris Water Filtration plant have all portrayed evil lairs in dystopian futures, for example."

Dyment collected over 2,300 clips from almost half as many productions for the film, and he said they've been carefully woven into the background of a narrated work about representation and depiction.

"My larger practice is an exploration of how culture is formed and how it is used," he said. 

Ultimately, the film asks "What does it mean to see your city reflected back to you, but not your experience?"

Audiences will have a chance to ponder this question further at a free screening of the film at Casa Loma on Sept. 27. 

Attendees will watch the film in the basement of the castle, in an area initially planned as an indoor pool. Viewers will be given a copy of the poster to be used as a self-guided element for people to tour the Celebrity Walk exhibition, and there will be an artist talk with Dyment following the screening. 

Dead Ringer is presented as part of Ontario Culture Days 2022, an annual festival celebrating the arts, culture and heritage of the provice across a several important hubs in Ontario, Toronto and the GTA.

Lead photo by

Dave Dyment

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