(T. Y. Drake, 1976)
This film packages itself as a Christopher Lee horror film, but it walks a fine line, and in the third act they fall off it, as the John Landis cops that have been stumbling in from the margins for the whole movie take center stage and skew things too far toward (admittedly endearing) dum-dum comedy. But that sense of ironic distance from genre filmmaking makes this feel of a piece with the Vancouver New Wave aesthetic more than anything - even in that third act there's this business with one of the seven-foot Leavy twins walking around the train tracks hypnotized, and being followed by the puny shoeshine boy, that's like something out of Guy Maddin. The early scenes extend the goofy-arty aesthetic with hypno-hallucination sequences - by Real Experimental Filmmaker Al Razutis - that look like the bastard child of Marcel Duchamp and William Castle. Spirals and skulls flying around, flashing lights, very fun. And in the early scenes the main asylum infiltration narrative looks like it will be treated with a margin of seriousness - it ain't, but the tension helps the movie while it's there. At least Lee retains his dignity to the end - his star power grounds the movie and adds an extra twist instead of just draining its resources.