Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
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…
While two doctors introduce to us the ridiculous 'organ regeneration by parasitical infusion' theory, we see a William Blake quote stuck to a bookshelf in the back. 'The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom'. If one follows the Sade school of thought the quote sounds appropriate however, if looked at from the point of various creeds that maintain a completely opposite belief, the quote causes major conflict. And who knows what it means if read in isolation and out of context of the book, 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793)' and the 'Proverbs of Hell'.
Later in the film there is another shot of Dr. Rollo Linsky (Joe Silver) standing against a blue metal file cabinet…
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…
Roger, I had a very disturbing dream last night.
As I was informed by Colin White, this was David Cronenberg's first non-student feature film, so it was a bit interesting to see the first steps of the legendary Canadian director. Knowing that the film was known as a metaphor for venereal diseases, I'll have to admit that I didn't fully "get it" while watching the film.
I thought well yes, I get how the parasite is spread, but that can't possibly be all there is to Cronnenberg's supposed metaphor can it? He must have something else to say then this otherwise he simply made a zombie film exchanging cannibals for rapists.
Comparing it to zombie films is when…
Early Cronenberg = very cool Cronenberg. This gorgeous Arrow Video steelbook is a timely reminder of just how excellent these early features were in Cronenberg's canon. Nearly 40 years later, it's power to repulse remains undiminished.
The Ballardian atmosphere is suffocating long before the first questionable looking parasite shows up. Once it does, it becomes some kind of strange sex obsessed mirror universe version of THX 1138, only Paul Hampton's mumbling doctor finds no escape in the outside world...or maybe he does, if Cronenberg is to be believed.
David Cronenberg's first feature film, this is a crazy gore horror film somewhere between Night of the Living Dead and the sexual revolution. A doctor created a replacement human organ out of non-human parasites in order to create a society in which free love abounded. Of course, this backfires. Not only is there a creepy bloody-sexual-organ-parasite crawling around, but sex itself is a horror that just gets more horrible as the film goes on. The acting is awful, but there are some great plot twists, especially at the end.
David Cronenberg is - without a doubt - one of my top five favorite directors. If he was a superhero he could probably direct the earth into some kind of awesome orbit making all the idiots get thrown of, land on the moon and die. And he would still get the girl - or guy - in the end. That’s how great Cronenberg is (and what kinda surname is that, it’s one of the coolest ever!). Have you seen Maps to the Stars, the latest family-deconstruction by Cronenberg? It’s one of my favorite films this years, 2014, and it just proves what a master he is. But lets go back to 1975 and the release of Shivers - which caused…
October Horror Marathon 2014
A perfect companion piece to Rabid where both movies are clinically told like Cronenberg was shooting medical instructional films, this is insane and brilliant stuff. My only question is: If everyone is infected with parasites that make them horny as hell, why is everyone wearing clothes at the final sequence in the pool?
An interesting debut by Cronenberg. The metaphors are not as deep or as well articulated as they could be, I am not sure how much the setting and situation resonate today and the film isn't as expertly made as he would soon be able to do but all the pieces are there and there is plenty to like. Some good performances, some gruesome effects and mad interior decorating kept the film from becoming too weird or too dull.
Hoop-Tober Entry #15
Yup, that's a David Cronenberg film all right...
Nice to see that even in his early films you see the social commentary buried in body horror that would become a staple of his work for so long. Assumptions of what we should be focusing on as a society cause a doctor to craft slugs that invade your body and cause you to become mindless crazed "zombies" (for lack of a better term). When you first 10 minutes features a young couple being shown the amenities of a new apartment complex while a old man carves up a young girl, pours acid in her exposed body cavity and then kills himself, you know you're in the hands of someone who though out exactly what he wants to achieve.
Really self-assured early film. Worth a check for Cronenberg fans who maybe focus on the later films.
Hungry for love becomes hungry for flesh.
- 13 Sins
- 100 Bloody Acres
- The ABCs of Death
- The Brood
- Winter Light
- The Changeling
No idea if there is a list for this yet, but I think I will keep this as kind of…
- Whistle and I'll Come to You
- The Woman in Black
- The House of the Laughing Windows
- Who Can Kill a Child?
We're about half way through the Underrated Series and have finally reached one of the big genres. I'm expecting lots…