Moviegeek5: David Cronenberg Horror
In the first half of his career Canadian director David Cronenberg made a sting of excellent horror film. Although he has moved on to other genres in later years, any one of the five we have chosen might have earned Cronenberg a mention in the annals of horror directors, but his production is not only strong, diverse, and groundbreaking, it is downright iconic.
Check out the list below and let us know in the comments what you think. Give us your top 3 Cronenberg horror films in the comments below!
The Brood (1979)
The first entry on our list is the creepy horror mystery The Brood in which our protagonist tries to free in institutionalized wife from the grips of an unconventional psychiatrist. At the same time a group of odd-looking children start targeting their daughter. The film showcases Cronenberg ability to both disgust and creep us out combining an eerie build-up with effective horror scenes and crowning the whole thing with a shocking finale. On the face of it, a horror film that works on its own, but below the surface a dark exploration of the pains of the breaking up of a family. It is not without reason that Cronenberg referred to this as his “Kramer vs. Kramer”.
Cronenberg followed up the brood with this horror film set in a world in which a group of people with very special mental powers causes mayhem. Here the mystery is pushed aside and more body-horror elements are explored, especially in the iconic, and very effective, scene pictured below. Rather than simply having the government as the enemy of gifted people as in the X-Men universe, the film revolves around a struggle between different groupings. The big question becomes: what do we do with our gift? Do we lead quiet lives away from the limelight or do we use it to gain control over society. Stirring stuff.
This next entry is possibly the weirdest one of the list but also the most enigmatic. Taking its starting point in the new medium of VHS and the growing power of media empires, the film follows James Woods’s sleazy cable-TV programmer who hears of an extreme new programme that he desperate wants for his channel. The resulting hunt is a descent into a genuinely weird corner of late night TV. The commentary on the moral boundaries TV most almost have been ahead of its time in 1983; it seems as relevant today as then. Not as easily stuck in your mind as Scanners or The Brood, but intriguing and thrilling nonetheless.
The Dead Zone (1983)
The fourth entry on the list stands out a mile from the previous three, which were all written by Cronenberg himself. The Dead Zone is one of the early Stephen King adaptations an one which is underrated compared. It is certainly good enough to mentioned with De Palma’s Carrie (1976) and Kubrick’s rehash of King’s seminal horror novel The Shining (1980). A young Christopher Walken stars as an ordinary English teacher wakes up from a coma with the ability to see glimpses of the future, especially how people are going to die. Not scary as such, it is frightening in the scope of the possible future he sees when he runs into a rising politician. After all, the past with all it faults and pains is safe where as the future? Well, you never know what it will bring.
The Fly (1986)
The final entry on our list is in many ways the epitome of Cronenberg’s love affair with intelligent body horror. Jeff Goldblum stars as a 1980s version of the mad scientist, whose experiments with teleportation goes terribly wrong when he uses himself as a guinea pig and takes a common house fly along for the ride. Their DNA is mixed and the rest of the film is a moving and disgusting transformation of the scientist Brundle. Goldblum is great and conveys all the frustrations and pains of Brundle as he slowly bids his humanity farewell.