Feb 13, 2018

Big Meat Eater, April 18th, Canada Film Day


Big Meat Eater, Bytowne Cinema, 9:15pm, PG, 82mins




"Pleased to meet you! Meat to please you!"

1982
Directed by:
Chris Windsor
Produced by Laurence Keane


Starring:
George Dawson
Andrew Gillies
Clarence 'Big' Miller
Sharon Wahl
Ida Carnevali
Stephen Dimopoulos
Georgina Hegedos
Howard Taylor

Screenplay by:
Phil Savath, Laurence Keane and Chris Windsor
 

This cult-comedy/sci-fi/horror/musical was filmed in White Rock British Columbia in late 1980 and early 1981. True to its kitschy intentions, Big Meat Eater plays like an Ed Wood film mixed with a punk rock musical. It pioneers similar satirical terrain later explored by The Kids in the Hall, and Canadian filmmakers John Paizs and Guy Maddin. Set in the fictional small town of Burquitlam, B.C., the plot features eccentric characters brought together by a series of unlikely events centring around the local butcher shop. 




 George Dawson plays local butcher Bob Sanderson, a man with unfailing faith in a brighter future for his community. His faith is tested when he hires a mysterious hulking assistant, Abdulla the Turk, who has a propensity for butchering that goes slightly beyond the normal range of professional behaviour. Abdullah is played by Edmonton jazz musician Clarence 'Big' Miller, with a genuinely frightening intensity. The film also stars Canadian T.V. stalwart Andrew Gillies, who audiences may recognize from his recent appearances on Orphan Black and Murdoch Mysteries. He plays a teenage science-genius from a family of Moldovan immigrants whose zeal to "fit in" to Canadian society causes him to overshoot and adopt a "More-British than the British" English accent. His strange experiments with a stolen car plays a key role in the plot, as do his sister Nina's more conventional desires to go on a regular teenage date. But that's just the vague outline of a plot that ranges from mildly bizarre to completely absurd. Yet it all holds together in a pleasing, and inescapably entertaining, Canadian way. Anyone looking for a deeper meaning can certainly find an intelligent exploration of the complexities of small town economics, political corruption, prejudice, and crime. With a heavy dose of music, of course.



Big Meat Eater was released theatrically in Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Shot on 16mm film, it was "blown up" and finished in 35mm for distribution. In the U.K. it received rave reviews and gained a cult following with decent box office. In the United States it also had positive reviews, notably in Variety, but the distributor, New Line Cinema, managed to lose the only 35mm internegative in existence, limiting the number of release prints in that country. Finally, after years of relative obscurity, Library and Archives Canada embarked on a full digital restoration of the film, painstakingly recreating the director's cut. The original 16mm film elements were scanned in 2k High Definition, scenes were re-synched, colour-timed and edited in proper sequence with a digitally remixed soundtrack, exceeding the quality of the original release. There's no better way to discover the magic, and the delightful horror, of the Big Meat Eater.







Presented by The Lost Dominion Screening Collective
Digital Restoration by Library and Archives Canada