Friday, 24 December 2021

Shivers (1975) and The Brood (1979)

Shivers (1975)

I remember watching this David Cronenberg film in the 1980's and being gobsmacked by the madness! I revisited it this week via an old DVD and the first thing that hit me was how diabolical the acting is! Maybe that was true of many films and TV shows in the 70's and I just forget!

Anyway the residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact says the blurb. They get into the human through any orifice they can find, so expect some nudity (well, mainly topless females) and nothing graphic, but suggestive of those routes!

I remembered Paul Hampton playing the lead doctor and then checked up to find that yes, he's got a ton of work from back in the day and you've probably seen him hundreds of times if you're old enough. Lyn Lowry is in there as his nurse and she is still going, according to IMDb with 41 current projects either filming, filmed, post-production or whatever! Some people never give up!

It's all very stylish and nicely constructed for something of the era and there are indeed some grizzly moments. You can see how Cronenberg went on to make the most of increasing technology and ideas in, for example, The Fly remake in 1986.

It's all a bit mad to be honest, but good fun as a mix between a zombie, horror, bloody thriller and even through the poor acting, it's fun to see the outcome and get to the end. It's not even 90 minutes. I shall now remind myself of more with The Brood and Scanners! Enjoy 🤩

The Brood (1979)

Right, I've watched this one now too - it's on Amazon Prime! David Cronenberg slows right down with this one and clearly had a bigger budget for actors, recruiting Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar (I remember her fondly from Dr Doolittle - no, no, the proper original one) and (very handsome chap) Art Hindle.

It's even madder as an idea than Shivers but the first half of the 90 minutes often drags as there's far to much time wasted on setup. The whacko story is about a man (Hindle) trying to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalised wife, amidst a series of brutal murders. In amongst that he's trying to keep his daughter from harm and his wife (Eggar) away from the fruit-loop scientist (Reed).

The outcomes are all a bit off-the-wall when you get to the reveals about what's going on behind closed doors - in the meantime we get distracted by these 'little people' going round doing bloody murder on various characters in the plot.

Horror (kind of) but more chiller and sci-fi really. It's nicely shot in places and the music adds suspense well. Great fun, a little dated but at least the acting is significantly better than it was in Shivers!

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