If you ask any true film buff who's the master of "Body Horror", and they tell you it's the legendary David Cronenberg, then I'll will 100% agree with you. I think that Cronenberg, more any director, has successfully showcased how we've fully lost control of our bodies, and how they can turn on you in an instant. Many will say that their favorite films by the icon include Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, and The Dead Zone. As much as I love those films, my pick would have to be his 1975 disturbing (and disgusting) shocker SHIVERS (aka They Came From Within), which is the one that started it all.
The film takes place in an apartment complex in Montreal where a crazed scientist conducts a bizzare experiment: creating squirmy, phallic-shaped parasites that cause uncontrollable sexual desire in its host and can only be spread through sexual contact. After he kills his teenage mistress, who is the tramp of the building and plants the parasite inside her, he kills himself. This eventually causes a severe outbreak, where the residents become infected and turned into crazed, sex-obsessed zombies.
This usually doesn't get celebrated too often as Cronenberg's other classics, but it should because it manages to do a lot despite its very limited budget. It's also very bleak, with a now famous bathtub scene with the great Barbara Steele, and a really chilling ending. It's a definitely a masterpiece of gross-out and dread.
For film collectors (myself included) who were desperate for a Blu-ray release of this classic, Lionsgate (love it or hate it) has answered our prayers with their new Vestron Collector's Series edition that contains some very promising special features: a new commentary with Cronenberg and co-producer Don Carmody; new interview with Croneberg; new interview with actress Lynn Lowry; new interview with special-effects creater Joe Blasco; new interview with Greg Dunning; archival 1998 interview with Cronenberg; still gallery with optional audio interview with executive producer John Dunning; theatrical trailers, TV and radio spots.
This is obviously a very big recommendation from me. Cronenberg has and always will be one of my all-time favorite directors, and this film is definitely a reason why. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels the same way.
Other notable releases:
Beau Travail (Criterion): Claire Denis' celebrated 1999 masterpiece about a military man (Devis Lavant) who finds his position of authority questioned when a handsome new recuit wins the commander's favor. Read my review.
Roman Holiday: A new remastered Blu-ray edition of the 1953 classic starring the lovely Audrey Hepburn as a runaway princess who finds romance with a reporter (Gregory Peck) who figures out her true identity.
Hocus Pocus: A new Collector's edition of the 1993 Halloween favorite about three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) who are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts, and it's up two teenagers, a young girl, and a magical cat to save the day.
The Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection: A new box set including a few celebrated classics of one of the world's most revered and influential iconoclasts. Contains Fando and Lis, El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Psychomagic, A Healing Art.
Tommaso: Willem Dafoe stars in Abel Ferrara's newest film as an American artist living in Rome with his young European wife and their three-year old daughter.