Combustible Celluloid
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With: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik, Barry Baldaro, Camil Ducharme, Hanka Posnanska, Wally Martin, Vlasta Vrana, Silvie Debois, Charles Perley, Al Rochman
Written by: David Cronenberg
Directed by: David Cronenberg
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87
Date: 10/09/1975

Shivers (1975)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The Parasite Murders

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This early feature by David Cronenberg was the first of his films to delve into horror and to embrace his body-conscious themes that would permeate the rest of his work. (One of the alternate titles was the hauntingly appropriate They Came from Within.)

Thanks to medical experiments gone wrong, creepy creatures take over an ultra-modern apartment complex and enter the bodies of the residents. They cause people to start behaving like animals, murdering and having sex, but mostly having sex.

It's certainly not as ambitious as later Cronenbergs, and the low budget shows, but Cronenberg makes the most out of the sterile building and creates some memorably shocking images. (It's one of his most purely fun films.)

Horror legend Barbara Steele (Black Sunday, Pit and the Pendulum) appears in a smallish role and future cult star Lynn Lowry plays a nurse (and appears nude). Next up for Cronenberg was Rabid.

In 2020, Lionsgate released a Special "Vestron" Collector's Series Blu-ray complete with a digital copy. It comes with a whole batch of extras, starting with two commentary tracks, a newish one by Cronenberg (moderated by Chris Alexander), and one by producer Don Carmody. There are interviews with Cronenberg, Lowry, make-up artist Joe Blasco, and more, plus a stills gallery, trailers, TV spots, and radio spots! Highly recommended.

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