Even Dying Is An Act Of Eroticism


Shivers (released in the States as They Came From Within) was David Cronenberg’s first “overground” feature film and was most of the world’s first dose of his unique brand of physiological/psychosexual science fiction-tinged horror. The plot: an experimental organ transplant gone awry unleashes leech-like parasites that enter the body, feed off of it and eliminate all inhibitions, turning its host into a kind of hedonistic zombie. Is Cronenberg satirizing the sexual revolution and anything-goes attitude of the 70’s here? I’ve often wondered exactly what his intended message is…If he’s a modern De Sade rubbing our noses in our own repression and hypocrisy, or a modern Kafka all uptight and paranoid, both fascinated and repulsed by the world at large and the body in particular? Anyway, Shivers is an audacious picture, a symphony of shocks and black humor featuring the lovely Lynn Lowry and Gothic goddess Barbara Steele.


His next picture, Rabid, stars miss Ivory Snow herself, Marilyn Chambers. She’s the guinea pig in another experimental procedure (a skin graft this time) and becomes a sort of vampiric Typhoid Mary, stealing blood from victims with a mosquito-type proboscis while simultaneously infecting them with a form of rabies. Needless to say, mayhem ensues. Chambers is quite good in this film, flying in the face of all those critics who love to scoff at the acting abilities of porn stars when they attempt to “go legit”.

Cronenberg’s latest couple of films  (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) have been hardboiled crime thrillers. I guess it remains to be seen whether he’ll return to his roots or if this is just one more mutation in his ongoing evolution…


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