28 June 2004

Cronenberg (1980-1982)

1980 - Scanners – It's cool to see the theory discussed in Stereo actually get applied in real situations. I've seen this movie a number of times, but this is the first time that it occurred to me that Cameron is not "the good guy." He's the strongest scanner in the world, yet only bothers to prevent himself and his girlfriend from getting shot; everyone else dies. I don't think he really cares about anyone but himself, even if he doesn't realize this consciously.

1982 - Videodrome – Probably the quintessential Cronenberg movie. What's amazing, also, is that this film could be translated into the Internet era and work just as well. One minor example that struck me was when Brian O'Blivion mentioned that everyone in the future will have a television identity -- and we do, online. I can't wait to listen to Cronenberg's commentary on the up-coming Criterion release.

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26 June 2004

Cronenberg (1978-1979)

1978 - Fast Company – A perfectly sturdy exploitation/drive-in movie that captures the world of drag racing in great detail. I'll be damned if I can detect any of Cronenberg's personality in this movie... other than his love of cars, of course. A continuation of "The Italian Machine," I think.

1979 - The Brood – Psychoplasmics: expunging mental rage through your own flesh. There's only one director who would ever create such a film. As well, it's not easy to make children seem scary, but Cronenberg more than handles the challenge.

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24 June 2004

Cronenberg (1975-1976)

1975 - Peep Show: "The Lie Chair" – I have a feeling this was just a paycheck. A bad Twilight Zone story married with some pretty bad lighting. There were a few specks of gold, like the random fascination with safe-cracking.

1976 - Teleplay: "The Italian Machine" – This didn't feel like a complete story; I wish it were longer. It had some great, great characters in it. There are hints of Cronenberg's machine-flesh obsession as well, particularly in the art collector's taste in art.

1976 - Rabid – This is probably the world's first stem cell horror movie. I like how subtle the cause for the disease was. There's no big revelatory scene near the end of the movie where the protagonist figures it all out; the audience has to put the pieces together themselves. Plus, a porn star raping people with a combined penis-anus in her armpit is always an interesting idea to throw in a movie.

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23 June 2004

Cronenberg (1970-1975)

1970 - Crimes of the Future – Same vein as Stereo, but this time focusing on the body instead of the mind. You can see the "King of Venereal Horror" being born on screen before your eyes as Adrian Tripod licks the foam from an infected man's ears. The man who continuously grew strange, new organs with no discernable purpose was a sort of throw-away idea in the film I wish was explored more.

1975 - Shivers – The venereal disease theme continues in Cronenberg's version of a zombie movie. Visceral horror with a shallow-buried social-sexual commentary is always a treat. Sadly, it's very clear from numerous abrupt edits that this film was chopped to hell in order to achieve an "R" rating for the States.

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21 June 2004

Cronenberg (1967-1969)

Last night, I started my Cronenberg Chrono-Marathon: I’m going to watch all of his movies in chronological order during the next few months. Of course, I don’t have everything (as far as I can tell, most of those 70s Canadian TV shows are unobtainable), but I’ll work with what I got. Mini-reviews for what I’ve watched:

1967 - From the Drain – Nearly unwatchable copy courtesy of the now-defunct Cahiers du Cinema website. Typical college short with a goofball flair Cronenberg doesn’t let show too often. Due to my copy, I couldn’t tell if that was a closet full of shoes at the end. If so, the film has the standard sci-fi ending of "this is all part of a terrible cycle."

1969 - Stereo – I can see how it would bore some people to tears, but I found the social science textbook-style dialog to be fascinating, especially considering it was all about a made-up subject. This is also clearly a proto-Scanners: telepathy as a connection of nervous systems, drilling a hole in your head to relieve psychic pressure, a secret company training/studying the telepaths...

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