Friday, November 14, 2014

Shivers [aka "They Came From Within"] (Canada, 1975)

Nine Things About the Movie Shivers [aka They Came From Within]

1. Made in 1975, this was David Cronenberg's first film. As one of the godfathers of the "body horror" film genre, this film shows his first attempt at the topic of the human body as a frightening, strange, and grotesque process of destruction.

2. It's a strange little movie about rich, bland people living in an exclusive apartment complex on an island. A crazy doctor wants to get people to stop acting so boring and rationally. So he puts a creature in a girl that is designed to make her want to have sex, and then reproduce and spread to others like an STD. The parasite spreads to people in the apartment complex, and they all start trying to have sex with other people - willingly or not.

3. Now that I think about it, I think this is the only movie I've ever seen about sex zombies.

4. On one hand, this movie is a pretty bad exploitation film. The acting is amateur, and the script is clunky. The concept is ludicrously impossible. It made me laugh a few times when it wasn't supposed to. The special effects are... not very special.

5. On the other hand, this is a surprisingly original idea, especially for 1975. If you can get past the story, and pay attention to what Cronenberg is actually trying to say, it packs a nice little punch. Cronenberg said that the movie should be viewed "from the point of view of the disease".

6. All sexual contact is treated the same in this movie. Straight or gay, through incest or pedophilia, it's all depicted as grotesque and threatening.

7. The movie was pretty controversial for its time. Mixing sex and violence and monsters was not something that the general public was ready for.

8. The movie is also worth seeing just for the groovy 1970's fashion and style.

9. While not Cronenberg's best film, it's still very valuable for its ideas and as a way to see the evolution of his style and topics in later films.