Her business is pleasure. Until her date with ... The Pyx.

1973 | Color | 1 Hr 48 Min | Thriller | R | Host Productions Quebec

Harvey Hart

Robert Schlitt (screenplay)
John Buell (novel)

Karen Black
Christopher Plummer
Donald Pilon

Elizabeth Lucy was dead, but the evil chain of events that claimed her life was still very much alive...
Most people would have buried the beautiful call-girl and forgotten her. But not Henderson - he was the man who found himself strongly compelled to look into her past - and slowly he learned the secret of Elizabeth's death, the secret of THE PYX...

"The Pyx" a small round container used to carry the consecrated host to sick or invalid individuals or those otherwise unable to receive Holy Communion in a church is based on the bestseller of the same name written by John Buell. The Pyx or The Hooker Cult Murders is considered to be Canada's first Horror Film. 

Harvey Hart Canadian-born, who had little success with theatrical features but switched to becoming a successful television director. He had attended the University of Toronto and begun his career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1952,  then moving to Hollywood in 1963. His best know for the miniseries East of Eden from 1981 but also worked on the Alfred Hitchcock Hour long before PYX. If you look into his body of work you can clearly see he enjoyed the mystery and crime stories. Although they say this is a horror flick even by 70's standards I do not see it. Filming began on August 24, 1972, and was completed on October 2, 1972. It was filmed in Montreal, Canada, and includes much French dialog, alongside the main dialog in English.

Hart's camera work and use of angles really dance well on screen leaving enough in the background for your eyes to wander into. Altho they tried to capture the Omen style of story telling that is where this one falls way short. For me, it was the movie starting with the end of the movie and working its way back with odd editing that at times you could not tell if it was a flashback or part of the real time. Sadly as well the print is so dark and dirty it is a shame that it takes away from the movie but also at the same time adds some grit to a dark tale. 

Oscar winner (2010's Beginners) Christopher Plumer and one of Canada's well-loved men takes the lead as the Detective Sgt. Jim Henderson. Henderson just can not leave the dead hooker be and finds the need to solve this case. Plumer is solid in his role and carries the movie rather well sharing his duties with Karen Black.

Illinois natives Karen Black is beautiful in this movie, taking time with an ex-heroin addict to research her role. She really lends her hand to this trippy movie in a magic feel sorry for her character kind of way. It was surprising to learn that Karen Black used a body double for all the nude shots of her filmed from behind. It looks like Black also took up residents in Canada and filmed quite a few more films up north. It just seems like yesterday we learned of her diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010 and had a third of her pancreas immediately removed. Though declared cancer-free in 2011, had relapsed and underwent two operations in 2012.

Although the landscape and locations of this film fit in fine I just wish they would have taken more time to show off Montreal a little more. And to set the tone Karen Black's amazing voice sings us
Song of "Solomon Chapter 3 verses 1-4", "I was touched by your passing through", and "It all turned out the way I planned it" they are so wonderful and worth seeking out on youtube.

The movie is not the greatest thing around but doesn't get me wrong I did enjoy it, even if it was confusing and lost it's way a few times. Black and Plumer keep you hanging on just to see how it ends. It is worth a look just do not look for anything groundbreaking. And horror hound's just a heads up it's low on death and blood making this more of a made for TV horror than a true Horror even by 70's standards.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever seen this 70's gem out of Canada and how you felt about it. Also, make sure you are checking out the other movies cover for the O Canada Blogathon. And don't miss She Who Seeks post about the documentary "My Winnipeg" along with "The Fly" over at The Midnite Drive-In!

Sorry PYX I can only give you...

3 Bloody Brains out of 5


  1. I must confess (see how I'm tying this in with Roman Catholicism?) that I've never seen this movie, although I have heard of it, of course. It was very much part of the resurgence of Canadian nationalism in the arts in the 70s. The only thing I remember Karen Black being in was her very fine performance in "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean." And of course I adore Christopher Plummer, who is another of Canada's National Treasures.

    P.S. -- Thanks for the shout-out, man!

  2. It seems Debra and I were terrorized by the same nuns--I haven't seen the movie either. But you've made me curious. A horror movie that offers lots of background space where the viewer can find, search for, and/or imagine monsters is always a movie I'm interested in... especially it I play my cards right and watch it with a few of my easily horrified friends.

    1. Oh man my knuckles hurt just thinking about the nuns!

  3. This film sounds like a real mind-bender with its use of flashbacks. Looks like a terrific cast, too, if it has Christopher Plummer and Karen Black.

    Thanks for joining the blogathon, and for introducing us (me) to this film! :)

  4. Interesting movie and post--love the actors in this and its place as Canada's first horror movie, got to see it! Thanks for taking part in the blogathon.


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