Film

Video Vulture’s Ridiculously Incomplete Index of Calgary-Filmed Productions

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Calgary movies! There’s a bunch of ’em! Some are Hollywood productions just using us as a location, while others are local creations through and through. I’ve got limited space to cover this massive topic, so let’s get into it!

PREY (2022): Have you seen this?! It’s so good! I demand that all further Predator sequels follow its example, and just drop a Predator somewhere in history and fight whoever’s there at the time. Predator vs Vikings! Predator vs Samurai! Predator vs Cavemen!

SUPERMAN III (1983): You know, the one where Richard Pryor puts on a towel cape and skis down the glass side of the Petro Canada building? This flick is just as dumb as you remember, but you need to watch it again, because it is also delightful.

THINGS FALL APART (2017): The dinner party was going so well, until somebody found a severed face in the sink. Surreal shocker from Calgary writer/director Hussein Juma. 

A MIRACLE ON CHRISTMAS LAKE (2016): Hey, I’m in this one! Don’t worry, I don’t talk, or anything.

RED LETTER DAY (2019): Suburban paranoia at its finest, from writer/director Cameron Macgowan.

LLOYD THE CONQUERER (2011): Michael Peterson’s debut feature is a LARPing comedy, filmed here, set here. Hey, look, it’s gaming superstore The Sentry Box playing itself! 

WAYDOWNTOWN (2000): What could be more Calgary than a film centred around our downtown PLUS 15 system? Local filmmaker Gary Burns (The Suburbanators, Radiant City, Kitchen Party, etc.) teams with contemporary Cancon film icon Don McKellar to navigate this smart, dark claustrophobic comedy.

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (2021): A glorious nostalgia hit for Ghostbuster fans. A friend in the props department asked me if I knew where to find a VHS copy of CUJO to use in this movie. 

ROTTEN SHAOLIN ZOMBIES (2004): Blaine Wasylkiw’s gleefully silly horror/comedy/martial arts/musical short pits kung fu brother against kung fu brother after a nasty bite from a “dirty lungfish” brings the curse of undeath. 

HEAVEN AND EARTH (1990): Samurai epic from Haruki Kadokawa. The battle scenes featured hundreds of costumed extras and horses, bused into Morley from Calgary. Just about everybody knows somebody who was an extra. I’m in there somewhere. 

FUBAR  (2002): A hoser dirtbag classic from the Calgary creative team of Michael Dowse, Dave Lawrence and Paul Spence. This cult classic spawned a sequel, TV series and superb soundtrack. So. Give ’er.

NIGHTBREED (1990: At the height of his fame, horror novelist Clive Barker set his book Cabal in Calgary, and that detail carried over to this film adaptation, also written and directed by Barker. The improved Director’s Cut is now streaming on Tubi.

ALIVE (2018: Two amnesiac patients awake in a nightmarish hospital, in this suspenseful gem from director Rob Grant. Compelling, dark and horrific. 

COOL RUNNINGS (1993): Fun Disney version of the story of the Jamaican bobsled team from the 1988 Winter Olympics. As an extra, I got to be in a room with John Candy!!! (A crowded room, but still …)

RAD (1986): Totally tubular ’80s BMX flick. 

UNFORGIVEN (1992): Gritty Clint Eastwood Western, beloved to this day. Alberta still likes to brag about it. 

DEAD WALKERS (2009): Zombie Western! Writer/director Spencer Estabrooks will be back on this list shortly.

ONE HIT DIE (2013 onward): Spencer Estabrooks strikes again! This nerdy bit of silliness includes a webseries, shorts and feature film, all combining a D&D Fantasy world with the mockumentary trappings of “The Office.” I’ve said it before, and I say it again: If a D&D character tries to break the Fourth Wall, does the wall get a saving throw?

PRIME CUT (1972): Big Hollywood movie that you might have missed, but should definitely check out. Sissy Spacek makes her film debut. Gene Hackman stars as an evil cattle baron, and Lee Marvin is the Mob enforcer tasked with taking him down. Much more original than other crime flicks of the era, and featuring a car getting eaten by a combine harvester!

… Is that it? No, of course not, but I’m all out of space. If your film or your favourite film was cruelly left out of this list, contact theSCENE at mbell@redpointmedia.ca and we’ll try to include you in Part II! Until then, keep filming, Calgary!