Posts Tagged ‘David Cronenberg’

The Fly (1986)

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

tn_theflyDavid Cronenberg’s THE FLY is about a best case scenario for a remake. It takes the premise of a fun but very dated old sci-fi joint and gives it context, tone and emotional substance more fit for its time of 1986. At the same time it’s a great stealth-Cronenberg movie that was normal enough to be a big hit at the time but artful and weird enough to be different from anything we’d seen before. This was his brief Hollywood period with DEAD ZONE, which was sandwiched between THE BROOD/SCANNERS/VIDEODROME and DEAD RINGERS/NAKED LUNCH/M. BUTTERFLY/CRASH/EXISTENZ/etc.

It starts cute with undiscovered genius Seth Brundle (DEATH WISH‘s Jeff Goldblum) awkwardly hitting on magazine reporter Veronica Quaife (THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT‘s Geena Davis) and somehow getting her back to his lab, which she’s not happy to learn is also his bachelor’s pad. She’s skeptical and probly a little creeped out until he demonstrates what he’s secretly been working on: “telepods,” a set of chambers that can disintegrate matter on one end and reintegrate it on the other. Teleportation. Star Trek shit! He points out that it will revolutionize transportation. In one of the few corny bits in the screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue (PSYCHO III, KULL THE CONQUEROR) we find out Brundle gets car sickness as extra motivation for inventing such a thing.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Ah, shit. Rest in peace James Isaac

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

tn_jasonxI’m sorry to have just read that James Isaac, director of one of our favorites around here, JASON X, has passed away at only 51. Isaac was an effects guy who got his start working on creatures on RETURN OF THE JEDI and GREMLINS. After working on THE FLY and NAKED LUNCH for David Cronenberg he wound up running shit special effects-wise for eXistenZ, which is something to brag about. That’s how he got Cronenberg to cameo in JASON X.

Isaac also directed THE HORROR SHOW, SKINWALKERS and PIG HUNT.

Nightbreed

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

tn_nightbreedI knew it. I fuckin knew Dave Cronenberg was up to something. All due respect to him as a consistently great and unique filmatist across three decades, but you gotta admit the guy is suspicious. I mean, CRASH had me wondering. And eXistenZ raised my eyebrows. Possessing in-depth knowledge of tooth-firing gristle guns isn’t a crime in and of itself, but you gotta wonder why he knows so much about the topic, right?

And then DEAD RINGERS. I mean, for crying out loud, DEAD RINGERS. So sonofabitch, why am I not surprised when I watch Clive Barker’s NIGHTBREED and there’s Dave Cronenberg as a masked “baby slasher” murdering families around Toronto? (read the rest of this shit…)

Dead Ringers

Monday, June 21st, 2010

tn_deadringersOne type of humor I’m a sucker for is the ol’ pathetic lie joke. For example in that movie KINGPIN Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid are trying to hustle some guys at a bowling alley and Quaid says he’s gonna lose all his money because he’s “so bombed.” But the bartender knows he hasn’t been drinking and says, “You get that way from ginger ale?”

They’re caught, they’re dead, there’s nowhere to go from there, they should hang up the towel, but they don’t. Woody goes for the pathetic lie.

“Nah, he was sniffing glue in the parking lot.” (read the rest of this shit…)

eXistenZ

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

tn_existenzYou guys’ll have to forgive me. I’m not a “gamer” or “gamey” or whatever, so I don’t know how much of Dave Cronenberg’s video game exposee eXistenZ is 100% factual and how much is very, very slightly, almost imperceptibly exaggerated for dramatic purposes.

Maybe you can help me out: the “gamepod” controllers are little lumps of flesh, like mutated breasts. They plug a tentacle into a “bioport” on your spine, but if yours is installed wrong (which it turns out can happen if you let Willem Dafoe install yours at the gas station) it can overload your game pod and it will have to be repaired, which is a surgical procedure. The pods are actually genetically modified amphibians. (read the rest of this shit…)

Videodrome

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

tn_videodromeIt’s probly hard to imagine for people who grew up post-internet, but there was a time when you couldn’t just turn on your computer and find the weirdest, most fucked up shit imaginable just as quick as you can type www.theweirdestmostfuckedupshitimaginable.org. Back then people who had strange fetishes or possessed disturbing footage tried to hide that shit, they didn’t think they could proudly put it out there and try to make new friends with it. Finding that stuff took time, effort and connections. These days kids email each other real footage of hostages being beheaded. Back then the FACES OF DEATH guys had to fake a beheading, and even their fake version was more of a legend people heard about then something they’d actually seen. That’s when Dave Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME takes place. And it involves material way more unsettling than FACES OF DEATH. (read the rest of this shit…)

Scanners

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

tn_scannersSCANNERS is a story about mutants with psychic powers, a generation of babies messed up by a medicine their mothers took, now grown and finding their brains too powerful, causing them to hear other people’s thoughts, and giving them dangerous powers like they can drop you to the ground with a nose bleed just by thinking about you too hard. If you get a greeting card from a scanner that says “Thinking of you,” take that as a threat. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dead Zone

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Revisiting THE DEAD ZONE for the first time since the ’80s is kind of a trip. I didn’t know who David Cronenberg was back then so I didn’t know it was one of the most commercial movies he’d ever make. No weird phallic lumps, all vaginas presumably in the right spots. It’s an eery thriller with a cold, wintery atmosphere and a good idea from Stephen King. If you don’t remember, Chris Walken is a guy who gets into a car accident, wakes up from a coma and soon starts having premonitions. Sometimes when he touches somebody he finds himself in some traumatic future event. So he uses this to save children, catch a killer, etc., and becomes a local hero.

Walken of course is real good. He’s such a weirdo, but he gets to joke around, be kind of a charmer, and also be pissed off at this turn of events that people tell him is a “gift” even though it’s ruined his life. Cronenberg plays up the tragic love story. Walken and his old girlfriend still love each other, but while he was in the coma she got married and had a kid. So it’s tough. Not much you can do there that’s gonna make you happy in the long run. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rabid and Fast Company

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

I always wanted to watch all of Dave Cronenberg’s movies in order, or at least the ones I haven’t seen or don’t remember very well, and I’m finally giving that mission a shot. This is only #2 and #3 here though so don’t start congratulating me yet. But here’s a look at some early Cronenberg.

RABID is typical of Cronenberg’s early work, because it’s about a girl who gets all worked up and bites people to death with the vagina she has in her armpit. FAST COMPANY is the least typical of all Cronenberg movies because it’s about funny car racing. That wouldn’t be a surprise if they were funny cars shaped like vaginas, but these are just regular funny cars with wheels and seats and everything. Driving fast. On race tracks. Etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

Shivers

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I cannot in good conscience recommend SHIVERS to everybody. In fact, I saw it a long time ago and didn’t get into it, but recently I felt like watching the early Cronenbergs again and this time around I enjoyed it. It’s Cronenberg’s first feature film and it is also known as THEY CAME FROM WITHIN, but should be called ZOMBIE PERVERTS or even FUCKED BY ZOMBIES.

Well, they’re not technically zombies. It’s about a sexually transmitted disease. I didn’t do this on purpose, but this is yet another apartment complex based horror. It takes place at this upscale complex called Starliner Estates, which is actually on an island so it’s isolated and has its own medical facilities and armed security. The lead is not your typical horror movie lead. He’s a middle aged doctor, head of the Starliner Medical Department, and he has some of the mannerisms of Gary Shandling. When the movie starts the infection in the apartments has already began: a former teacher of the doctor is attacking a woman in a school girl outfit. And he kills her and burns her with acid. Not cool. (read the rest of this shit…)