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Shivers

By Sean Axmaker

"If this picture doesn't make you scream and squirm, you should see a psychiatrist--quick!" shouts the film's trailer. This time the hyperbole is right. David Cronenberg's debut feature, and Canada's first domestic horror film, is an ingeniously engineered slasher of thoroughly modern horror that, like George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, charts a social breakdown by tearing through our most intrinsic taboos. A genetically engineered designer parasite--part aphrodisiac, part venereal disease--created by a modern-day mad scientist escapes into a colorless, self-contained apartment complex and goes searching for hosts. This monstrous parasite multiplies and invades the alienated occupants, turning them into a pack of id-driven sex maniacs. Cronenberg's suffocating vision of modern life turns his budgetary limitations--dreary, bland sets, flat lighting, and numb performances--into a severe portrait of society out of touch with its physical and emotional existence. Cronenberg pushed the boundaries of gore in 1974, but more insidious is the way he pushes the boundaries of behavior: under the influence of this invasive disease, families turn to incest and murder, strangers sexually assault the helpless, and finally they band together as a pack of bloodthirsty, libido-driven animals. That taboo-breaking display still has the power to get under your skin. The film has also been released under the titles The Parasite Murders and They Came from Within. Cult horror icon Barbara Steele costars.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: David Cronenberg

Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Barbara Steele

Released: October 28, 1975

Availability: DVD VHS


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