Film (1974; vt They Came from Within; vt Shivers). Cinepix/Canadian Film Development Corp. Written and directed by David Cronenberg. Cast includes Paul Hampton, Lynn Lowry, Alan Migicovsky, Joe Silver and Barbara Steele. 87 minutes, cut to 77 minutes. Colour.
In an attempt to develop a beneficial symbiote, a scientist creates a parasite (see Parasitism and Symbiosis) that, when it invades a human body, makes its host sexually ravenous. The vaguely phallic parasites spread though an isolated apartment building, and sexual apocalypse follows, the film ending with the sterile high-rise building's surviving occupants climbing into their cars to infect first Canada and then the world. The film has Splatter-Movie sequences and other scenes, notably the parasite's vaginal penetration of Steele while she is in the bath, of a distinctly nauseating kind, but it transcends the exploitation-movie genre to which it belongs through its wit and intensity, and its readiness to follow its axioms through to their conclusions. This was Cronenberg's first commercial film, notable for its remarkably bold visual metaphors. [PN]
see also: Cinema; Monster Movies; Sex.
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