Vanity Fear

A Pretentious A**hole's Guide to B-Movie Bullsh*t

The ABCs of B-Movie Bullsh*t -- C is for Canuxploitation


is for Canuxploitation

Popularized by Toronto film reviewer, Paul Corupe, the term "Canuxploitation" can be used to reference any Canadian made exploitation film, but is traditionally associated with a specific period in the history of Canadian film in which the federal government offered tax incentives to anyone who invested in a film production as a way to spur the the country's movie industry. Though the plan proved successful in increasing production, the legislators responsible for the initiative failed to take into account that the kind of investor most likely to take advantage of it would also be inclined to invest only in those productions capable of turning a profit. As a result the arthouse was ignored in favour of the grindhouse.

C-List American actors were shipped across the border to star in low-budget versions of traditional Hollywood genre fare. Very few of these films acknowledged their Canadian roots and were set in generic American cities. This allowed them to more easily play in American cinemas, which enabled efforts such as Meatballs and Porky's to quickly become the most successful Canadian films up to that time. That said, a specifically Canadian aesthetic did manage to transcend Canuxploitation's deliberately generic packaging. Canadian genre films of the period were noted for frequently having a bleak quality that stood out amongst their American counterparts. They also often featured more subdued colour palates that made them stand out visually.

Eventually the government ended the tax shelter program, but Canadian filmmakers benefited from "runaway" Hollywood productions that moved up north to take advantage of the then-favourable exchange rate and lower labour costs. While some of these films can be considered Canuxploitation, many are virtually impossible to distinguish from traditional Hollywood product and are instead thought of as American productions made in a foreign location.


is for Canuxploitation