Five "city boys" travel to the country to relax by doing some hunting, drinking Bud, and generally having good time. However, the local inbred backwoods psychos turn the hunters into the ... See full summary »
Siblings, Eric & his surreal artist sister Kay, her doctor husband David, her sister-in-law Brooke along with pilot Marsh become stranded on a rugged isle face off against a supernatural beast drawn to Kay who dreams of its killings.
Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by Forest Ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area.... See full summary »
Isolated by his strange parents, Leon finds solace in an imaginary friend, which happens to be an anatomy doll from his father's doctor office. Unfortunately, the doll begins to take over Leon's life, and his sister's life as well.
Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Canadian wilderness. After all but one pair of the party's shoes disappear, the remaining shoed camper decides to hike out and go look for help. Soon after he leaves, however, his four companions realizes that something is very wrong when someone leaves a decapitated deer head just outside their camp. Even though they still don't have their shoes, they decide to follow their friend's trail out of the woods, but their path is blocked by someone who doesn't want to see them leave the forest alive.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
The cabin was a left-over building from the Canadian TV series, The Forest Rangers (1963). Everything else was a practical location. See more »
Toward the end of the film, when Harry's character is dragging the stretcher over rocky terrain, you can clearly see he is wearing boots. They had their boots stolen, and had to wrap their feet in plastic tarp. See more »
Well, there's worse things in life than powdered milk, I suppose.
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Hal Holbrook sits on the road as the sun rises with his back to the camera, which moves away from him as the end credits roll. See more »
The U.S. video release on the Embassy Home Entertainment label is cut and runs only 89 minutes despite the 100 minute running time listed on the box. The Canadian release on the Astral Video label is the uncut version with a true running time of 99 minutes. The differences between the Canadian Astral and the U.S. Embassy versions are as follows:
When Harry (Hal Holbrook) wakes up and slides outside his tent to be confronted with the severed head of his buddy mounted on a stick, the Embassy version cuts and crops around this to avoid a good look at a very creepy special effect.
The "we have to kill him" scene is also much longer and more graphic in the Astral version.
The ending is much more protracted and gruesome in the Astral version. The burning scene goes on for a very long time and involves a lot of screaming, and the killer's demise features a couple of extra gunshots.
The climax in the Astral version also includes several extra shots of Harry in the cabin attempting to stop the massive bleeding from a severed artery.
The Canadian video also has more dialog and extra footage in many different places (too numerous to mention here). The Canadian print is not letterboxed, however it displays considerably more image on the left and right sides of the frame, as well as the top. The U.S. Embassy video appears to be magnified.
Also of note is the fact that the French Canadian release under the title, ILS ÉTAIENT CINQ... is actually the same 89 minute print as the cut Embassy version despite the fact that it was released by Astral. Go figure...
Often compared to John Boorman's "Deliverance" (1972), Peter Carter's "Rituals" (aka. "The Creeper") of 1977 is a creepy and effective Canadian 'backwoods' Horror film which isn't too well-known, but enjoys a certain cult-status among Horror fans. The comparisons with "Delicerance" are obvious: A bunch of civilized men take a trip into the wilderness in order to have an adventure in the beauty of nature, and have to experience unexpected terrors. In this case, five medical doctors take a trip to go hiking in a remote lakeside area in the deep Canadian woods, days' walks away from civilization. In the first night, their boots get stolen. From that time onward, the friends are getting stalked by a murderous phantom fiend...
The film was obviously shot on a modest budget, and is very well-made. The beautiful but inescapable Canadian wilderness is a perfect location for a backwoods horror film, and "Rituals" maintains a truly creepy and menacing atmosphere from the beginning to the end. None of the characters is really likable, which slightly lessens the suspense, as one isn't as scared for them. The characters are thereby those one would expect in such a film: There is the heroic tough guy (Hal Holbrook), the scumbag (Lawrence Dane), the wuss (Robin Gammell), the clown (Gary Reinecke). Personally, I always lament the lack of a woman character in a Horror film, as I find it a lot easier to be scared for a woman than for a man. However, I see the point, as a trip into the wilderness is something that a bunch of guys would do together. The somewhat gonzo-style cinematography in the wilderness sometimes increases the feeling of presence (and therefore the creepiness) and reminded me of the Italian Cannibal films (such as "Cannibal Holocaust") that were shot around the time and later. The score is very good and effective, and the moments of powerful Classical music fit the film very well. The violence is not overtly gory, but quite disturbing. Especially in its second half, the film gets creepy as hell. Overall, "Rituals" is highly recommendable, especially to my fellow fans of gritty low-budget 70s Horror.
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