Some things are as popular as the games at Avalon78 Casino Canada, and some things, like a good movie, last forever. It is not subject to time and fashion, it always finds new fans and casts in the hearts of viewers. And it is worth noting that not only soulful or diesel cinema finds a place in the golden collection of cinematic masterpieces, but also some other areas that seem absurd at first glance.
For example, the theme of transmutations and transformations of the human body has become one of the favorite themes in the works of Canadian David Cronenberg and cemented his fame as a master of body horror. His pictures have influenced more than a dozen directors, sometimes leading to amusing mishaps.
Once, during a screening of Cronenberg’s first work, Cramps, as part of a retrospective of his films in Germany, an audience member jumped up with an indignant cry: “How dare you show this? You obviously stole the idea for the movie ‘Alien’!” The director, who was in the audience at the time, nonchalantly replied, “I don’t think so. That picture was made five years before ‘Alien’. “Yeah, but now we know who the thief is!” – the audience rejoiced.
So, here are five interesting body horrors by David Cronenberg that you should definitely watch in order to have an opinion on this controversial artist.
Not every director can boast that his feature debut has caused a national scandal. The story of a genetically modified parasite that gives rise to uncontrollable sexual desire became the subject of a Canadian parliamentary controversy. Politicians debated for a long time whether public money should be allocated for such provocative and “immoral” films, but the issue was closed when it was discovered that “Cramps” became the first Canadian film to break even several times at the international box office.
The incident drew widespread public attention to Cronenberg’s figure and also motivated other young Canadian directors to work at local studios rather than leave for the neighboring United States. The film itself indicated a motif that the director actively pursued in later works: the human understanding of the world is directly dependent on bodily experience. If the body is altered by viruses, technology, or scientific experiments, then the perception of the surrounding reality changes with it.
The horror film “Rabid,” made two years later, about a young girl with a craving for human blood after undergoing surgery was also at the center of intense debate. This time it was the choice of the popular porn actress Marilyn Chambers for the lead female role.
Cronenberg said he wanted to invite a famous female performer to the project to help distribute the film, but the budget was not enough. The director had talked to Sissy Spacek, whose biggest success also came in 1977 after the horror movie “Carrie”, but the producers were repelled by her Texas accent. Meanwhile, Cronenberg did not regret his choice and about the acting qualities, Chambers said favorably: “If she could not play, I just would not have made a movie.
The Brood (1979)
After the modest success of the auto-racing film The Wicked Company, Cronenberg once again continued to explore the connection between bodily changes and human emotional experience. The protagonist of The Brood, Dr. Hal Raglan, works with patients using a new technique to make them relive repressed past hurts through physical transformations in their bodies: during sessions, his clients develop sores, scars, and bruises. However, the shock of a patient named Nola is so profound that she embodies her rage through the generation of sexless broods that destroy those who have wronged her.
The director, who likes to claim that every one of his films is imbued with black humor, says in relation to “Broodstock” that it is his most serious work yet. At the time filming began, Cronenberg was dealing with the aftermath of a bad divorce from his first wife, awaiting a custody arrangement for their daughter, and was in a deep depression. This, he says, influenced his choice of subject matter.
Some scenes in the film, such as when Nola shows her fetus, embarrassed the Canadian censors, who demanded it is removed from the final version. Cronenberg, however, made no concessions.
If Cronenberg had not given in to the censors and producers’ entreaties in the case of The Scanners, he had to make some changes after the previews. The famous scene with the human head exploding under the telepathic influence was supposed to be the opening scene of the picture. However, it caused such a shock among the first viewers that the director decided to push it back twenty minutes.
At the center of the conspiracy plot of The Scanners is a group of people with superpowers who are trying to recruit new members and take over the world. Cronenberg stated that the idea for the film was inspired by William Burroughs’ The Naked Breakfast (which he would also later adopt), one chapter of which mentions an organization of telepaths united by the idea of world domination.
Meanwhile, reflections on the fusion of the human mind with technology further anticipated the popularity of cyberpunk cinema.
In the technohorror Videodrome, the extremes of the deformation of the human body under the influence of technology were illustrated so vividly that a few years later the film not only achieved cult status but also began to be interpreted as prophetic. In spite of its reputation, it had a rather poor showing at the box office, and the bulk of its income came from video releases, which can be seen as a kind of irony.
The protagonist of “Videodrome” is the director of a small channel, who tries to maintain the viewer’s interest by any means. In his search for new ideas, he stumbles upon a channel that continually broadcasts violence in different forms, which gradually makes him hallucinate.
Film critics predominantly interpret the picture in a pessimistic tone. They interpret the demonstration of an arm transforming into a gun or a hole appearing in the stomach as a demonstration of the replacement of human beings by technology. In response, Cronenberg stressed that he tends to view technology as a natural extension of man, exacerbating those feelings and skills that he himself lacks, and Videodrome demonstrates only one aspect of this problem.