8/29/2008

The Top 5 David Cronenberg Films

Recently, I have been watching a bunch of David Cronenberg films, including watching Shivers (the first time I am seeing that film). Cronenberg is one of my favorite, if not in fact, my favorite director. While, he has mostly abandoned horror, post A History of Violence (although that film has elements horror fans can appreciate) his movies are still graphic and outside of what the typical, mainstream filmmaker would create. Also, aside from the unwatchable, to me anyways, Naked Lunch, I have never seen a bad film from him. That said I have no desire toe ever see M. Butterfly (his first non-horror film) and have yet to see Spider and Eastern Promises.

Overall his body of work is comprised of many classics, and he is the thinking man's horror director. Plus, his main running theme of body horror, sets him outside of others in the genre. In all, the man is a master, and, to me, these are his five best films. All of which you need to see, or if you already saw them, watch over again.

1. - My absolute fav Cronenberg film is, also, the best remake ever made. Chris Walas' FX work ranks among the best the genre has seen, with great looking monster make-up and animatronics and gruesome and gross content (including- acid vomit, arm breaking arm wrestling, an exploding head, maggot birth, etc), the movie also works because of the excellent acting and writing. You really feel sorry for the two main leads, Davis and Goldblum. And, the ending is actually very tragic. This is the ultimate beauty and the beast story and remains one of Cronenberg's biggest and best known films.

2. The best of his work in the 70s, The Brood is undeniably gruesome (in particular the scene where Samantha Eggar bites into the sack that holds one of her brood births), but it is also smart and one of his most powerful films. The acting is strong, and once again despite the gross-out moments, there is a strong message about the horrors of child abuse and the cycle and after results they create. Plus, like The Fly, there is a role that seems to be a villain but then becomes a hero. Not only that but Cronenberg has a way, in this film in particular, to make the impossible seem realistic in a scientific sense. And, that is no mean feat there.

3. - If ever there was a film that defines the "body horror" of Cronenberg it is this one. It is also a film that only gets more and more fascinating with each repeated viewing. Commenting on the affects of sex and violence in entertainment (in a film that is chockful of them), the age of video, what is real and what is not. I mean there are themes upon themes here. The cast is great. The grotesque make-up FX are shocking (witness the gory squibs, exploding head, vagina-like stomach opening, flesh guns, TV's barfing out guts, etc.). The story is not for everyone, but smart audiences, horror fans, and well those with an interest in Debra' Harry's hot, naked body, need to watch this. But, not just once... "Long live the new flesh!"

4. - After it seemed that Cronenberg could not get back to excellent level he is known for; he delivers this. While, the gruesome and sexually charged Crash was a good film, it was not up on par with the films on this list. This one is. Playing like what it is, a mainstream film by way of Cronenberg, this graphic action/ thriller is the only non-horror film on this list. But, as I said before it does have materiel that horror fans can sink their teeth into. The shocking, brutal violence (bludgeoning, gory squibs, head-shots, etc) and the strong sexual content (including full frontal nudity by the absolutely gorgeous Maria Bello and her getting a brutal fucking on the stairs) should be more than enough to please them. The movie is also a fascinating character study, one that only gets better after each viewing.

5. - The last film on my list, may have the least amount of shocking content, but by no means is it a walk through the park. A horrifying dream scene and the bloody, depressing ending, as well as the sex make sure your grandma won't be asking to see this one. Jeremy Irons gives his best performance ever, I think, and so does Genevieve Bojuld. A powerful, dark, and downer mix of horror, drama, and thriller.



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