02/12/2013 16:21 EST | Updated 04/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Daring 1970s vampire film set to rise from the grave as DVD

An American film company is reviving a piece of B.C. and Canadian movie history, but some might argue this film would be better left undisturbed.

Nearly 40 years after making a brief appearance — and then being buried — a copy of Sexcula has been unearthed from Canada's national archives.

When Toronto film buff Paul Corupe found the title on the Canadian archives database, it piqued his interest.

"Once I discovered it was an adult film, everything kind of took a turn," he said.

Sexcula tells the lurid tale of a nymphomaniac vampire, and its plot is reportedly about as transparent as its costumes.

"Sexcula definitely would have ruffled many feathers when it came out," he said.

Vampire film made in Vancouver

Corupe, a film historian who runs the Canuxploitation website on Canadian B-movies, said Sexcula could possibly be the only Canadian pornographic film shot in the 1970s.

"It's an important landmark. As dubious as some people think [it], it's definitely one of a kind," he said.

Corupe said it was filmed in August 1973 in and around the Lower Mainland, and only screened once in 1974. The making of the vanished film then became an underground legend among local filmmakers: Supposedly, another movie was made about the making of Sexcula, though that too has disappeared.

Sexcula's producer, listed in the Canadian Feature Film Database as "Clarence Frog," no longer wants to be associated with the film, but he says he made it on the advice of an accountant.

He needed the tax credits that were being offered by the Canadian Film Development Corp. to help him out of a $70,000 tax bill.

Library and Archives Canada owns the only known print, the unwaxed preservation master copy made from a negative print at Alpha Cine Service Ltd. in downtown Vancouver.

Since Corupe re-discovered the film last year, an American production company decided to transfer the 4,000 feet of film to a digital format, and release it as a DVD.

Screenings illegal under censorship laws

Dimitrios Otis, who calls himself a pornography historian, wrote the liner notes for the upcoming DVD release.

He said the film is particularly interesting because, legally, you couldn't show this type of movie in B.C. until 1978 due to censorship laws.

"This appears to be the only, what you call an X-rated, sex movie ever made in Canada during that whole era of film production," Otis said.

"It's entertaining. It's titillating. So I think it's a successful movie and they should be proud of it," he said. "There's not a lot of what we call 'artsy filler.' It kind of delivers the goods."

Impulse Pictures and Synapse Films are making the 86-minute-long Sexcula DVD available starting in April.