Shivers (1975)

SHIVERS (1975)
aka They Came From Within
Article 5416 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-6-2017
Directed by David Cronenberg
Featuring Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
Country: Canada
What it is: Horror, Cronenberg style

A parasite that is a cross between an aphrodisiac and a venereal disease is loose in an apartment complex. Those infected become violent sex maniacs.

This was Cronenberg’s first full dive into the horror genre, and even this early in the game, his obsession with the horror of bodily changes is on full display. Like many of his other movies, this is not for the faint of heart; it’s bloody, repellent, unnerving, but also fascinating, and in some ways it’s reminiscent of the various zombie movies, with sex in place of cannibalism. I found the first half more interesting than the second half; once it has developed its themes, the movie largely becomes a series of attack scenes, and since it’s one of those movies that doesn’t give you the sense that any of the characters will be spared, it becomes an exercise in waiting for the various shoes to drop. Still, it is an attention-grabbing entry into the genre and shows that Cronenberg would be a force to be reckoned with. His next horror movie, RABID, in some ways feels like an extension of the ideas he developed here. Barbara Steele is also part of the cast.

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