Movies that are slightly off.
Going mad is just the beginning of the terror...
The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.
I tend to give horror movies a pass when it comes to certain issues including the portrayal of women. I don't know why I do this. It probably has to do with the fact that I am quite unfamiliar with the genre, and I expect women to be portrayed as stupid yellers who can't walk or run without falling, dial a telephone number because they are so shaken, or get the hell out of a house because they are too busy running up the stairs where they will be trapped. So yeah, I don't expect much from the genre.
But this... this one, oh boy. This one made me question Cronenberg as a human being. This one made me dislike…
Reading a description of David Cronernberg's "Shivers," one might think the horror film is a parody. The story of apartment dwellers infected by a parasite that turns them into sex fiends could easily and humorously be labeled "Orgy of the Living Dead" or "Night of the Canadian Sex Zombies" if the film were not played so straight and earnestly. "Shivers" is no parody, and, though it may have a sly sense of humor, the film is a stark, haunting debut from a renowned director.
Revolving around a Montreal high-rise where a parasite infects its inhabitants, "Shivers" is a gory, gets-under-your-skin piece of horror that exhibits early versions of the signatures marking Cronenberg's career. Flesh literally crawls and the residents of…
Part of Lise and Jonnie’s Horror-o-thon 2014
Let me make it clear right off the top that while not generally a horror fan, I am a David Cronenberg fan. He’s a director who always has something interesting to say, and an interesting way of saying it. Ok, that out of the way, I have to say that Shivers, his debut feature film, was dreadful.
I hadn’t seen it since way way back, and I kind of lumped it in with Rabid, which I love. What a difference a year can make. While Rabid had the meagre-budget Canadian look and similar ligneous performances, it was crisply paced and narratively sound. Shivers, on the other hand, flops around like a beached halibut…
A sickening, raw early film from Cronenberg that really managed to get under my skin and make me feel a bit sick. It's quite brilliant though, featuring what would become his usual themes in his body of work. The energy and ambition is palpable, even if the budget couldn't match. Still truly enjoyable and completely fucked up.
Oh yeah! Now that's what I'm talking about! Oh yeah! I mean sure, it's trashy, disgusting, weird, the characters are unrealistic and stupid and the quality of the acting and overall film making is quite rough around the edges, with some unnecessarily gratuitous material. But! It's a lot of fun in a twisted, no holds barred, fucked up way. So there's a doctor who thinks humans have removed themselves too much from their basic, instinctual-driven behaviors. He doesn't like that and decides to create a parasite that acts as part aphrodisiac, part venereal disease, that he implants inside a resident of a modern apartment building. From there, chaos ensues, as the parasite can be easily transmitted to multiple…
Not Quite Hoop-Tober: Day 30
One thing I can say for certain about David Cronenberg is that he's definitely the king of the high concept horror film. Whatever reservations I might have about Shivers, it's certainly never afraid to be exactly as creative, crazy, and controversial as it wants to be.
The story is about a luxury apartment complex which finds itself slowly overrun by parasitic grafting organs. Yes, you read that right. A doctor makes organs for transplantation which are parasitic in nature, and these demonic biological creations escape and go on a killing spree. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, they roam the building taking over its inhabitants and making them incredibly horny. Just another day in the…
A parasite devised to replace organs that causes the inflicted to grow tumours that cause them to reduce their desire to fornication which causes them to vomit maimed penes which jump around penetrating everyone still conducting themselves in a Canadian fashion until the peninsula is sated which causes the turned to gather in gleeful pairs leaving the ark across the isthmus from the extremity to the city's bowels to spread the word. Only knives and guns kill, mind you. That is causality.
More than any other genre (see vague classifications, such as "action," "drama," "comedy") horror films seem to exist in their own separate world (eg; you don't really see "comedy film fans" but you do "horror".) Is there a particular reason for this? Investigation will follow...
PS: Shivers seems like a film both amateurly produced and heavily stylized, which is interesting (but not good.)
It doesn't hit the heights of "The Brood" and "Videodrome" or even "Rabid," but "Shivers" is a great first horror run for David Cronenberg that eerily foretells the AIDS crisis of the early '80s and lets him start exploring the themes that he would become known for in his later films. Cronenberg's films could have been schlock in the hands of a less-thoughtful director. There are strong echoes of Romero in the claustrophobic setting filled with zombified people who are slowly succumbing to the parasitic outbreak (seen later in "Night of the Creeps" and "Slither"). The (finally uncut) Arrow Blu Ray looks much better than the old DVD!
In a world before Lars Von Trier and Gaspar Noe, two very IT directors of edgy cinema, there was David Cronenberg. Von Trier and Noe's most recent films have both been highly centered on sex, Nymphomaniac (v. 1 and 2) and Love, respectively. Well, Cronenberg had his sex film, too, in the form of 1975's Shivers.
Dismissing Shivers as a sex movie is, perhaps, a touch unfair. After all, it is more a zombie movie from an era before zombie movies were overdone to death. Not just a zombie movie, mind... but a SEX zombie movie.
It's one of Cronenberg's earliest films (though even by this point his IMDb credits were rich through working on TV movies and shows), and…
Cronenberg's debut and like all his early stuff, it's a film brimming with ideas. It's not as neatly executed as some of his later stuff, but it highlights a writer/director with ideas to burn and a bright future ahead of him.
Finally saw this. So a parasite knocks the plug out of the drain in Barbara Steele's tub and swims around for awhile, but the water stays put until the creature is finished with her. The film is just one flaw after another of this Oh-my-god-ican't-believe-nobody-caught-this type - with dialogue that sounds like it's being read off cue cards - so I can only think that it's so well beloved because it's about people learning to like sex. But then it also gets pretty rape-y, so that's creepy. Well, I just don't know.
I could love it in a so-bad-it's-good way, but that wasn't the mindset I approached it with, unfortunately.
"This isn't even my final form" - David Cronenberg
It's actually really silly and pretty much every one of the numerous scenes involving titties or girls making out is 100% unnecessary, but at least Cronenberg throws in a TINY little bit of homoeroticism to balance things out and, finally, spook the straight male viewers a little bit! :') I knew he would come through. King of equality ❤ ♡ ❤
For me, this is the best of David Cronenberg's first seven movies (Videodrome was his eighth), but recently I've seen several reviewers on here complain that it's just a series of repetitive vignettes. I think you have to take into account that those repetitive but very icky and very pervy scenes are set against the mundanity of new-build high-rise late 20th century living, and that's what makes it so effective. You also have to take into account how rare it was in 1975 to have a horror film that dealt with entirely contemporary issues, without any hint of the gothic. (The only thing that spoils the effect a little bit is that the underground car park looks a lot older…