Friday, February 11, 2011

Spotlight On: David Cronenberg

This week's spotlight is on David Cronenberg, who is one of my favorite directors. He is most commonly associated with the "body horror" genre, which is a genre that deals with people's fears of bodily transformation. They are often quite grotesque, but usually involve some of the greatest practical effects in film history, which is what I love about older horror films. If Cronenberg's older films were made today, they probably would use CGI for all of the effects, and would thus be not as horrifying. Every single one of Cronenberg's films, even his non-horror ones, are really interesting to watch, and he has contributed greatly to both the horror and the science fiction genre. I have not seen all of his films, but here are the ones that I have seen and loved.

Rabid (1977)

Rabid is about a girl who gets skin grafts after being burned in a motorcycle accident. Her surgery goes fine, but she then develops a sort of stinger under her armpit that feeds on peoples blood. Instead of killing them, though, it turns them into zombies. I think that this movie is a really interesting take on the zombie film, and is a great example of body horror. When you see the stinger, which is always in a close-up, it is absolutely disgusting. It isn't the zombies in this movie that scare me, it is simply the image of this pink fleshy phallic-type thing that emerges from her body.

The Brood (1979)

The Brood is kind of like a horror film version of Forbidden Planet because the monsters in this film are physical manifestations of the mother's emotions. Instead of creating a giant invisible monster, though, she creates a brood of killer deformed children. The creepiest part of this movie has to be the part where the mother opens up her cape and shows the sack thing that the children are growing in. She then goes on to remove a baby from the sack and lick it clean. Yeesh...

Scanners (1981)

I'm not even going to say anything about Scanners. Just watch the video and it will say everything that I want to say...

Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome is a really cool sci-fi/ horror film. It has makeup by the great Rick Baker and some of the most grotesque/ amazing practical effects on film. This movie is quite disturbing at parts and is a perfect example of body horror.

The Dead Zone (1983)

The Dead Zone is based on a story by Stephen King about a guy who wake up from a coma with psychic powers. It has a great performance by Christopher Walken and is a break from body horror for Cronenberg. It is sort of a "with great power comes great responsibility story" because whenever Walken's character touches someone's hand, he sees something bad that will happen in the future and then does everything he can to change it.

The Fly (1986)

Now onto one of the greatest sci fi/horror movies every made. "I am becoming....Brundlefly." I just love this movie! It has Jeff Goldblum as a scientist who invents a teleportation device, but then starts turning into a fly when one flies into one of his machines. This movie has some of the most disgusting things ever put on film, and will always have a special place in my heart for having the ability to make me scream. (That is not easy to do for a movie.)

Dead Ringers (1988)
Dead Ringers is an incredibly underrated film and has, in my opinion, Jeremy Irons' greatest performance as Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twin gynecologists. Elliot is the asshole, and Beverly is the sweet one who starts going crazy after he believes his girlfriend is cheating on him.

Naked Lunch (1991)
This has to be one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. I don't even know what genre you would call this film. It isn't really a horror film, or science fiction. I just don't know... There are some really cool scenes in this movie though. You've got typewriters turning into giant bugs and tons of weird creatures. This whole film is absolutely bazaar, but is probably one of the most creative films of the 90s.

M.Butterfly (1993)

I had never heard about this movie at all before I watched it, so I was SHOCKED by the ending! I never suspected for a second that she was a man! I thought that the big twist was that she was just pretending to be all innocent and modest to get information from him, but I never expected that she was a man!

Crash (1996)

Crash is a really interesting film about people who get off on car accidents. Apparently there was a lot of controversy about this movie, but I think that it is incredibly sexy!

eXistenZ (1999)

Cronenberg retuns to body horror in the science fiction film about a virtual reality game. To play the game, you have to have a bioport installed in your spine so that you can connect to these fleshy game pods.

Spider (2002)

This movie stars Ralph Fiennes as Spider, a schizophrenic man who is piecing together memories of his childhood. It is a great psychological thrilelr and one of Ralph Fiennes best performances.

A History of Violence (2005)

This is a fantastic movie about a guy who kills two people who try to rob his diner and ends up a local celebrity. But by being on the news, his past comes back to haunt him.

Eastern Promises (2007)

His second collaboration with Viggo Mortensen, this is a great film about the Russian mafia and sex trafficking.


His next film will be A Dangerous Method, about Sigmund Freud. It stars Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Vincent Cassel.

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