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Cold Comfort

Year: 1989
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 90 min
Director: Vic Sarin
Producer: Ilana Frank, Ray Sager
Executive Producer: Peter Simpson, Dan Johnson
Writer: Richard Beattie, L Simms
Cinematographer: Vic Sarin
Editor: Nick Totundo
Sound: John Megill
Music: Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna
Cast: Jayne Eastwood, Margaret Langrick, Maury Chaykin, Ted Follows, Paul Gross, Richard Fitch, Grant Roll
Production Company: Norstar Entertainment Inc.

Found stranded and unconscious in his snowbound car, young travelling salesman Stephen Miller (Paul Gross) is rescued – or so it seems – by Floyd (Maury Chaykin), a seedy tow truck driver who lives barely within the law. Back at Floyd’s ramshackle homestead, it is soon revealed that he has brought the young man home as a birthday gift for his lonely, nubile teenage daughter, Dolores (Margaret Langrick). After several episodes of increasingly sadistic power play, the now-helpless Miller realizes he is irretrievably trapped.

Esteemed cinematographer Vic Sarin made his directorial debut with this vigorous adaptation of Jim Garrard’s sardonic theatrical cult hit. Like The Collector (1965) and Misery (1990), Cold Comfort puts a hapless kidnapping victim in the hands of maniacal people with complicated needs. The film imagines rural Canada as neither a paragon of austere stoicism, nor a winter wonderland, but rather a hotbed of thwarted lust. Deftly pitched between depravity and hilarity, the film unabashedly relishes the comic perversity of its characters and functions as the ultimate vehicle for the singular talents of Chaykin, whose Genie Award-nominated portrayal of the demented Floyd is nothing less than an act of deranged inspiration.

Cold Comfort was nominated for five Genies, and took home the prize for Adapted Screenplay (Richard Beattie, L. Elliot Simms).