eXistenZ (1999)

eXistenZ is destined to always be second choice. Looking for a David Cronenberg film that eroticises the unerotic? Your first choice is Crash; eXistenZ comes a distant second. Looking for a film that cursorily engages with videogaming culture before becoming a philosophical treatise on the nature of reality? The Matrix does that better than eXistenZ,…

The Brood (1979)

If you’re looking for a definition of “Cronenbergian,” The Brood isn’t a bad place to start. It’s deliberately paced, pairing operatic grandeur with restrained domesticity. It prominently features Cronenberg’s early obsessions of science fiction, horror and body horror, interwoven with more conventional problems; as Cronenberg uses genre conventions to comment on the emotional damage dealt…

Shivers (1975)

When you hear the best zombie films of all time discussed, David Cronenberg’s Shivers is rarely mentioned. This is an injustice, as the film deserves to stand alongside the greats. Perhaps it’s because the mindless hordes of Shivers aren’t technically zombies, but people overcome by a virulent parasite that amplifies sexual urges to the detriment…

Scanners (1981)

Scanners is the first film I’ve seen from David Cronenberg’s impressive filmography that I’d describe as disappointing. It has a promising introduction; an atmosphere of cold disquiet pervading claustrophobic sets suffused with violent crimson. Early scenes are enigmatic and fascinating: a homeless man, strapped to a bed, writhes helplessly as silent spectators slowly march into…

Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome is a mad, grotesque nightmare, all writhing flesh and flicking hallucinatory visions. We switch from one scene to the next without a narrative umbilical cord to follow, like a torpid couch potato flicking between channels. The movie is dank and forbidding, dripping with amniotic fluid, an aborted mutation. Max Renn (James Woods) is the…