David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg

Dead Ringers' (1988)
One of the best of the new generation of horror film directors, Cronenberg's explorations of biological terror and sexual dread have provided a strikingly original approach to the genre. Because he has worked so often in the horror genre, Cronenberg was until recently labeled an exploitation director; his recent films, however, have moved away from graphic and revolting special effects to concentrate instead on theme and character.While at university, Cronenberg made two experimental science fiction shorts, Stereo (1969) and Crimes of the Future (1970), before beginning his work in features. Both films demonstrated Cronenberg's penchant for stylistic experimentation and his ability to use architectural space for expressive purposes. His first feature was the effective shocker, They Came From Within/Shivers/The Parasite Murders (1975), which was co-produced by fellow Canadian Ivan Reitman. In its depiction of an artificially created parasite that releases uncontrollable sexual desire, Cronenberg fashioned a wry commentary on the sexual liberation of the time. Playing on the same theme, Rabid (1977) cleverly cast Marilyn Chambers, former Ivory Snow Girl and porn star, as the unfortunate victim of an operation that leaves her with a vampiric appetite for blood. A murderous phallic spike that protrudes from her armpit makes her embrace literally deadly.The Brood (1979), another exercise in biological horror, showed Cronenberg reaching for some measure of respectability. For the first time he used established actors, Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar. Even though he placed them within a gruesome tale in which biological mutation is identified as a metaphor for emotional rage, he handled his performers with surprising skill. But it was with The Dead Zone (1983) that Cronenberg truly rose above the level of horror exploitation. The film is adapted from a Stephen King novel about a man able to predict future events in people's lives simply by touching them (and thus marks Cronenberg's first non-original screenplay). Here, atmosphere and acting especially a fine central performance by Christopher Walken - take precedence over special effects.Videodrome (1983) is a self-reflexive, McLuhanesque horror tale about the effects of TV on its viewers. The film tells the story of an opportunistic TV producer, played by James Woods, who grows obsessed with a sadistic-erotic program emanating from a mysterious pirate station. His fantasies, stimulated by the show, grow increasingly out of control and seem to represent the consciousness of the typical male TV viewer shaped by that medium's emphasis on violence, sex and spectacle. Videodrome is a formal tour de force in which fantasy merges with reality to the point where the viewer of the film, like the protagonist himself, cannot separate the two. It drives home the degree to which we are all "programmed" by the media - a theme strikingly visualized by the image of a newly evolved orifice in the producer's stomach for receiving video software. Cronenberg has had to struggle for the critical recognition his work deserves, largely because of the nature of his material. Early response in his native Canada ranged from MPs in Parliament railing about government funding for a "disgusting" movie like Shivers, to critic Robert Fulford's review entitled You Should Know How Bad This Film Is. After All, You Paid For It.Robin Wood's influential 1979 essay An Introduction to the American Horror Film, which set the terms for discussion of the genre in the 80s, identified Cronenberg as a prime example of the horror film's "Reactionary Wing." Many have followed Wood in viewing Cronenberg's work as motivated by sexual disgust. Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly would seem to endorse such a view. The hero, a scientist whose atomic structure has been confused with that of a housefly, undergoes a gradual physical disintegration that has been read as a metaphor for AIDS. Yet his most recent film, Dead Ringers (1988), a resounding critical and commercial success, would seem to refute this interpretation. In this impressively accomplished work, Cronenberg's biological horror is almost entirely submerged within the psychological exploration of character and the director's precise command of color, decor and camera movement. A bravura performance by Jeremy Irons makes this grisly story of twin gynecologists who descend into drugs, madness and, finally, suicide, a chilling examination of masculine sexual dread and a powerful critique of the patriarchal control of the medical profession. In retrospect, much of Cronenberg's earlier work can be seen as an ironic critique of the fears and repression that inform our apparently liberated society, rather than a visualization of the director's personal obsessions.Source: user.chollian.net
Well I don't think sex and violence have ever stopped a movie from being mainstream.More David Cronenberg quotes [10/06/2011 05:10:26]
The idea of a mass audience was really an invention of the Industrial Revolution.More David Cronenberg quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
To me it's very obvious there are huge cultural differences between Americans and Canadians. But a lot of what we are is American.More David Cronenberg quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Do you remember when you found out you wouldn't live forever? People don't talk about this, but everybody had to go through it because you're not born with that knowledge.More David Cronenberg quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab.More David Cronenberg quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]

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