Sunday, October 30, 2011


(David Cronenberg, 1975)
Cannily baiting the audience's erotic neurosis at least as much as he indulges his own, Cronenberg's first 'real' feature was also probably his most reviled pre-Hollywood production. He definitely has a lot of fun imagining the utter disintegration of a sterile, controlled apartment complex at the hands of ravening sex-zombies, begat by some rather dodgy men of science with their own delusions of control. The first half hour recalls the creepy, quiet austerity of his sixties stuff, only penetrable, grounded in some kind of recognizable real life; most scandalous of all, the great bulk of these upstanding citizens are brazenly promiscuous, on the make from frame one. And as the hellraising climax comes on, we are treated to a perfectly calculating and sometimes hilarious roll call of flouted taboos, with old ladies, little girls and nellies all joining the fun. In between, our auteur botches the tension build, distracts himself and us with useless homages to George Romero, and deploys a lead actor who looks badly hung over even when he's not visibly flubbing his lines.