Cronenberg disturbs Jarv: Shivers

I’m precisely one film into this series and I’m already wondering if this is a good idea. I know exactly what Cronenberg is about, and I usually carefully ration them so that I don’t overdose on body-horror, but I’d forgotten how, well, icky some of the early Cronenberg films are. Shivers, or They Came From Within to give it its US title, is an exemplary early look at several of the themes that would come to dominate Cronenberg’s back catalogue.

Shivers takes place in an ultra-modern apartment block in Montreal. A rogue movie scientist (when will they ever learn) has implanted a parasite that’s “part aphrodisiac, part venereal disease” into a nubile teenager in an attempt to reduce mankind to a “beautiful brainless orgy”. Events are spiralling out of control and it is up to Dr. St. Luc and Nurse Forsythe to try to keep a lid on things.

There is, to be honest, an awful lot of pseudo-academic nonsense written about this film. Shivers has been hijacked by various philosophies (notably feminism), and by far the majority of the articles I’ve read about it are complete and utter rubbish. Shivers is basically a zombie film in the Romero mould- in that it is ostensibly about zombies, but really a comment on social issues of the time. In this case, Cronenberg was making a comment about the laissez-faire sexual scene in Montreal. It is not about “reasserting the earth mother” or “reconnecting with our primal instincts” or any of the rubbish I’ve read about it recently. I also, for the record, doubt that it had any influence at all on Ridley Scott’s seminal Alien, but I am willing to stand corrected on that one. I did find the “controversy” surrounding Shivers highly amusing, and thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the venomous comment from Canada’s artistic elite that the film prompted. Shivers was the most successful Canadian film ever on release, and this seems to have impelled every imbecile with artistic pretentions and a typewriter to pen such asinine twaddle as: “You Should Know How Bad this Movie Is: You Paid for It”. Which is, I suppose, what happens when you use tax-payer money to make a low budget, rough round the edges zombie sex-monster film.

Having said that, though, I do have to wonder about Cronenberg’s mental state at the time (or any other time) as he is on record saying that he identified more with the mindless zombie orgy participants than he did with the sterility of “normal life”, as represented by the brutal satire of the opening sales pitch, and the utterly banal opening advertisement for the building. Well, as the old people in Yorkshire say: “There’s nowt as queer as folk”.

The acting in Shivers is OK. Paul Hampton is fine as St. Luc, but Lynn Lowry is luminous as Forsythe. Cronenberg cast her on the basis of her haunting eyes and strange screen presence, almost ethereal, and this was a superb decision. Almost all of her time on screen, especially for the strange, repellent monologue late in the film has the camera focused closely on her eyes and there is an ethereal quality that suggests possession. All the actors, though, manage to give the phrase “make love” the most unsavoury and frankly nasty connotation that I’ve ever heard. It’s delivered slowly and lasciviously with a dreadfully sleazy drawl and when said by Nicholas (Allan Kolman) made my skin crawl. Even the otherwise gorgeous Lowry manages to make this simple phrase sound more base and crude than other more robust epithets.

Shivers was Cronenberg’s first feature film, and he freely admits that at the time he didn’t have the first idea what a crew actually did. This stands out clearly in the direction. It’s a rough film, with strange slo-mo mixing with weird jump cuts and poorly staged tableau. Nevertheless, there are still some genuinely brilliant visual metaphors (the chase down the enclosed corridor, for example) that show that he may not have been completely au fait with the technique, but still had a fine eye for a disgusting image- the much copied bathtub scene, or that the parasites are vaguely phallic for example. The score, on the other hand, is brilliant. It’s an unsettling mix of (I can’t think of another word for this) industrial sounds and weird music that serves to ratchet up the tension when required, and complements the action well without overwhelming it.

Then there’s the script itself. Shivers is clearly influenced by other horror films, notably the Romero zombie films and Bodysnatchers, but what I really want to talk about are the monologues. There’s many a Cronenberg film where the characters expressly state what they are going through, (think of Goldblum in The Fly) and these usually signpost the major themes of the film. Forsythe’s dream monologue at the end is vintage Cronenberg, a disturbing combination of unsavoury and revolting imagery, psycho-sexual themes and is genuinely upsetting:

Roger, I had a very disturbing dream last night. In this dream I found myself making love to a strange man. Only I’m having trouble you see, because he’s old… and dying… and he smells bad, and I find him repulsive. But then he tells me that everything is erotic, that everything is sexual. You know what I mean? He tells me that even old flesh is erotic flesh. That disease is the love of two alien kinds of creatures for each other. That even dying is an act of eroticism. That talking is sexual. That breathing is sexual. That even to physically exist is sexual. And I believe him, and we make love beautifully.

The relish that Lowry gives to the word “flesh” will recur in later Cronenberg (notably Videodrome) but this is a clear signpost of films to come. The fact that she ends the speech by having a parasite try to crawl out of her mouth prompting St. Luc to physically censor her by tying a scarf round her mouth (she proceeds to bleed through it) is a disturbing and unsubtle metaphor in a film full of disturbing and unsubtle metaphors.

One final point before I sign off, as there’s enough material here for me to rattle on for years, gradually climbing up my own arse due to pretention. Shivers is a seedy and upsetting film. The parasites transform the people into slaves to their own carnality, and once zombified they show little or no distinction in their sexual assaults. They show no regard for age (a very disturbing sequence with what is clearly a young girl), familial ties, gender, sexual orientation and the rest- the parasites exist solely to fuck, and will fuck indiscriminately. This is, no doubt, what prompted the furious reaction, and I have to say that the orgy scenes are not easy watching, and makes me wonder what precisely prompted Cronenberg’s low opinion of mankind.

Overall, Shivers is an extremely promising debut, albeit a film that I won’t be rushing back to at any point in the near future. It’s a film that makes you want to shower in bleach afterwards, but there’s no denying that it is a powerful and disgusting statement of intent. I don’t believe any of the revisionism attached to it, and I give little credence to any of the mostly laughable theories that I’ve read. I do, however, grudgingly recommend that everyone watches it.


I give it 2 Changs.

Until next time,


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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

134 responses to “Cronenberg disturbs Jarv: Shivers”

  1. Jarv says :

    I’ve tried to write an adult review of this, I could quite easily have written “huh huh boobies” hundreds of times.

    Hope it isn’t too boring.

  2. Continentalop says :

    Man I haven’t seen this forever. Wasn’t Barbara Steele in this as the women in the bath tub?

    • Jarv says :

      She was indeed. That scene is horrendous- and copied in other stuff.

      I hadn’t seen it in about 15 years, and I feel no overwhelming need to see it for another 15 years.

      • Continentalop says :

        Now I am afraid to watch it because in my memory it was an ok movie. Better than Rapid.

        Of course, it probably was the other way around and I just don’t remember that well. I really didn’t go nuts for Cronenberg’s stuff until the Brood and Scanners stuff.

      • Jarv says :

        It is an OK film, and it’s obviously a Cronenberg film, but it’s more an interesting starting point than anything to really hang his hat on.

        There are bits of it that are sheer genius, (St. Luc’s attempted escape, or the much copied bathroom scene) and the odd bit of strange comedy (Tudor vomiting off the balcony), but it is, dammit, icky.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, Steele has a lesbian scene.

      • Continentalop says :

        Oh, I remember the lesbian scene. I just couldn’t remember if it was Barbara Steele or not.

  3. Droid says :

    gradually climbing up my own arse due to pretention

    Too late.

    I haven’t seen this. In fact I’ve hardly seen any early Cronenberg.

    • Jarv says :


      Well, they’re varying quality. I think Scanners is probably his first “great” movie, although there’s some argument about The Brood in that.

      Oh, and fuck off.

      • Droid says :


        I just went through his filmography and all I’ve seen are The Fly, Crash, eXistenZ, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises.

        I might watch The Dead Zone. That’s supposed to be good isn’t it?

      • Stuntcock Mike says :

        I’d say Scanners is his first great film.

        Watched a month or two ago for the umpteenth time. Holds up just fine.

      • Continentalop says :

        Scanners is his first great film, The Brood is his first really good film.

  4. Jarv says :

    I’d break Cronenberg into categories:

    Essential viewing: The Fly, Videodrome, History of Violence. These are the 3 that best capture his body horror thing- and other themes that recur.

    Excellent films but not really definitive Cronenberg: Dead Zone, Dead Ringers, Eastern Promises, Scanners, The Brood,

    Films that are worth a watch but not enjoyable: Shivers, Naked Lunch, Crash (if you can stomach it),

    The rest are a combination of bad films (Existenz) and oddball efforts (Spider). I haven’t seen Rabid, Fast Company, or M. Butterfly.

    My opinion changes as to which his best film is, but I’d go for Dead Ringers. It’s phenomenal and deeply sad- even if it isn’t particularly a “cronenberg” film.

    Almost all his films have similar themes and a lot of Freudian imagery, but there’s a clear line of evolution from a pure fascination with the body to identity (History of Violence and Eastern Promises are the culmination of this, which started early and became more prominent).

    A lot of Cronenberg is hard to watch.

    Anyway, to answer your question- Dead Ringers is the best film and easiest introduction. Dead Zone is good, but not on that level. Dead Ringers is a 4 Chang film.

    • koutchboom says :

      What about History captures the body horror? I really do need to see that again. Ohhh identity.

      I really like Cronenberg just going over his list of movies you can see how he’s never sold out or even gotten close. Also I wish I could’ve seen The Fly opera.

  5. Jarv says :

    In fact, one of the reasons existenz is such a massive failure is because it’s clearly a higher budgeted attempt to return to his body horror roots when he’d obviously moved on. It’s Videodrome-lite, except with worse casting (is Jennifer Jason Leigh remotely in the same class as Debbie Harry, let alone Jude Law compared to James Woods?), the themes are more mangled, and it’s a fucking mess. I wonder how much his heart was in that one.

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah Existenz is ok, I wouldn’t say its a complete failure. Its a decent movie. Better then most SyFy crap that is put out. I think its the lame ending that makes it a massive let down.

  6. Stuntcock Mike says :

    I’d give it a solid 3 Changs Jarv.

    But that’s me, Cronenberg is the only director other than Scorsese who’s knob I polish on a regular basis.

    And in all honesty, I find Cronenberg more consistent than Saint Marty.

    • koutchboom says :

      Finally Mike, some honesty.

      • Stuntcock Mike says :

        Well Koutch, it is honest. I could watch pretty much Cronenberg’s entire catalog back to back and be entertained.

        With Marty I’d have to sit through stuff like New York, New York, King of Comedy and After Hours, films in which, though I appreciate the craft, essentially do nothing for me.

      • Jarv says :

        I love King of Comedy. Truly underrated little film.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I’d say King of Comedy is probably my favorite Marty film (though I haven’t seen After Hours). It always surprises me whenever we get into Marty arguments why no one brings up the fact that he made this snatch bearable for more then two minutes:

        Thats the true sign of a genius.

      • Droid says :

        King of Comedy is awesome. One of my fav Martys.

      • Jarv says :

        Koutch- for a fact censors DO edit context to make something appear milder.

        Most famously: Straw Dogs- they edited to make the second rape look like vaginal rape rather than what it actually is- sodomy.

        In this scene, the context is all important- it really makes all the difference.

        I’m not really sure what you want from a realistic film, but Crash is one of the most challenging and unpleasant films that I’ve seen.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but Crash is fucking boring, too boring to be that disturbing.

    • Jarv says :

      I wouldn’t go 3 Changs for shivers- it’s just too amateurish, and he clearly didn’t know what he was doing. If he’d made it when he made Videodrome THEN it would be 3 changs.

      I’m looking through the list and the first sub 2 Chang film that I’ve seen (judgement reserved on Rabid and Fast Company) is probably Naked Lunch- followed by Existenz, but there’s two 4 Chang films in before that and a good few 3’s.

      Very, very consistent. Outside of his “shit period” which he’s clearly over now.

  7. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Oh and Jarv, you’re going to watch Fast Company right?

    • Jarv says :

      I am. I’m foolishly taking them all on.

      Dreading Naked Lunch, Existenz and Crash though for entirely different reasons.

      • koutchboom says :

        Eh Crash and Naked Lunch aren’t as bad/distrubing as you remember.

      • Jarv says :

        Naked Lunch is bad- it’s a terrible bastardisation of the, admittedly unfilmable, novel. I love the book, though.

        The attempt to tie it to a narrative is a bad idea, and that lumbers the whole film- it really hurts it in the last act.

        Crash is foul. There’s no 2 ways about it. Nasty, nasty shit.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah well Crash is just as much an unfilmable book as Naked Lunch.

        So when you say Crash is foul, are you just saying its a bad movie then?

      • Jarv says :

        No. Crash is not a bad film. It’s a film that makes me hurl. There’s a difference.

        I’m well aware that the problem is from that masturbating monkey Ballard’s material.

        I’m dreading Naked Lunch because of how much I like the book, Existenz because it’s bad and Crash because it’s disgusting.

        This is going to be a challenge. Luckily I decided not to do his acting career as well.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well Crash isn’t as disgusting as you remember.

      • Jarv says :

        Isn’t that bad? necrophilia?

        Come on- that’s extreme stuff.

      • koutchboom says :

        There’s necrophilia in Crash? Maybe its because Crash is so muted in tone. Its like visually not that disgusting I guess mentally its a lot worse. But Videodrone is a lot more disguisting visually. Crash is about as bad a soft porn.

      • Jarv says :

        The end of Crash is necrophilia.

        I worry about you if you’re there slapping away to Crash. It ain’t soft porn.

      • koutchboom says :

        He just makes out with her at the end doesn’t he? I’m talking about in terms of what you see? Just some boobs, butt, thrusting and moaning, just like in a soft porn. Also the dreamy look of the whole thing is like that of a soft porn.

      • koutchboom says :

        Also if you guys are looking for some good necrophilia:

      • Jarv says :

        I’m nearly certian you’ve seen an edited version now, Koutch.

        No- he does not just make out with her. And how the fuck is “just” making out with a dying woman acceptable anyway?

      • Droid says :

        Koutch are you sure you saw Crash and not the Red Shoe Diaries?

      • koutchboom says :

        I mean is there really anything worse then that in Crash?

        Like tell me what you saw in your versions? I think the whole scar fucking is sort of left up to your imagination. What I saw just looked like James and Arquette having sex.

      • Jarv says :

        Wait- I see what’s wrong:

        By this logic- Koutch, unless you see a fully engorged member thrusting in and out of a dripping wound before a bukake party onto the corpses face, then it isn’t extreme.

        Just because it’s well lit and filmed doesn’t mean that it’s like soft porn- that’s an asinine statement. You don’t need to see the fully erect cock for something to be extreme subject matter.

        Fuck man, you’re well jaded.

      • koutchboom says :

        No I’m only saying CONTENT wise it’s as bad as a soft porn.

        I mean going off of old Croneburg stuff wouldn’t you suspect that he WOULD show:

        a fully engorged member thrusting in and out of a dripping wound

      • Droid says :

        Like I said Koutch, I barely remember anything about the film. So I can’t really comment.

      • Jarv says :

        Funnily enough, I wouldn’t. Cronenberg always implies as much as he shows.

        The content of Crash is fucking extreme and fucking unpleasant. The fact that it is well shot is neither here nor there. It certainly does not resemble soft core porn (unless you’re watching some fucking horrid porn) because it isn’t meant to be arousing.

        I can’t believe I’m having this conversation.

      • koutchboom says :

        When is soft core porn well shot? I mean just going off the sex scene with Spader and The Highlander 3 chick (his wife), thats pretty much just soft core Red Shoe diraries stuff. All the stuff with Spader and Holly Hunter as well.

        An really the man the brought us stomach vagina’s is going to give us implied scar sex?

      • Droid says :

        Soft core porn = Intended to be erotic and arousing

        Crash sex = Intended to be confronting and challenging (I guess)

      • Jarv says :

        This isn’t me being snippy, but you really are talking out of your arse.

        Look at the scene where she’s beating him off under the blanket and describing a car crash she was rubbernecking at with “brains spread all over the dashboard”. How the fuck does that qualify as soft core porn? Do you want to actually see the cock or something- would that be extreme enough, or is the fact that she’s giving him a handjob while describing a smashed brain dripping off a dashboard enough?

        And it ISN’T implied scar sex either- just because you don’t see his cock sliding up and down it doesn’t mean that you can’t tell what he’s doing.

        I can’t believe this. Crash is far nastier than almost everything in Videodrome- Debbie Harry putting cigarrettes out on herself is probably the exception.

        The other thing is, Crash is hyper realistic, whereas Videodrome is hallucinatory- it’s totally different subject matter and this is part of the reason why Crash feels so much grimier.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’m just talking about pure physical/visual content, this has nothing to do with subject matter. Like if I was just flipping through and came across the movie and knew nothing about it at first i would think that its some lame soft core movie.

        Like if I watched Crash on Mute it would not be that bad.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m now 100% positive that you’ve seen an edited version.

        Although I do take the point that it’s often a lot of what is said while they’re doing things that is bad, but even on mute, he clearly fucks the scar, and he clearly fucks his dying/ dead wife on the side of the road.

        You would not, on first appearance think Crash is soft porn.

        Christ. What has the world come to.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I don’t know unless you know he’s fucking the scar is not overly obvious. It just looks like they are having sex with her leg up.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, on pure visual appearance-

        Crash in a lot of ways is pure cronenberg, particularly the marraige between man and machine. In crash the whole film is a fucking parade of freaks with metal literally inserted into their bodies- Spader’s leg in the hospital, Roseanna Arquette’s twiste form being prime examples. The contraptions he uses are vintage Cronenberg and remind me most of the gyno kit from Dead Ringers. It’s unpleasant and extreme, but it’s clinical rather than gooey.

        To say that visually there’s nothing extreme in it is simply nonsense.

      • Droid says :

        All this talk about this movie and I don’t remember any of it is annoying the shit out of me. It’s making me wonder if I should watch it again.

        I hate you both.

      • Jarv says :

        Yeah I don’t know unless you know he’s fucking the scar is not overly obvious. It just looks like they are having sex with her leg up.

        No it does not.

        As I say, either you’ve seen an edited version, or have seen some properly horrendous shit.

        Look, he yanks the tights open on the scar, unbuttons his belt etc, positiions himself over the scar- nowhere near vag- and rubs himself to ejaculation. At no point does that remotely look like sex with the leg up. If you took a still of the bit behind him, and showed it out of context, then yes, it could be construed like that, but that’s a daft thing to say, as context defines things, especially in films like Crash.

      • koutchboom says :

        So you’ve seen a version where they show dong?

      • Jarv says :

        *bangs head on desk*

        Look- you don’t need to actual see his cock to be able to work out what he’s fucking doing.

        I knew that’s what you wanted. I’ll call Ron Jeremy (star of Shivers 2) and get him to remake Crash for you, but more “extreme”.

        You’re talking shit, man.

      • koutchboom says :

        No I’m just trying to work out if I’ve seen the edited version or not?

        Seriously we seen the same one, it just looks like he is fucking her with her leg propped up. The whole scar fucking you needed to have gone their in your head already, and I didn’t when I saw it.

      • Jarv says :

        That’s why I think your version was edited. On the two times I saw it in the cinema, I saw it once in South Africa and then once in the UK.

        In the SA version I clearly remember the establishing shot of him about to fuck the scar- which makes ALL the difference to the scene, and I don’t remember it in the UK version. I also remember a clear distance between his crotch and her vag. This is why you’re talking crap- context is vital in a scene like this (unless you show dong thrusting in scar)- and you’re making it sound like some tame shit when because of the context it’s anything but,

        I was going to try to write this review from memory, but I’m now going to have to watch it again.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah you kept saying that I saw an edited version, when i haven’t. When has a film ever been editied because of discriptions of shit? Censors don’t really care about that, it’s just visuals. So I was working out if you’d seen a much more graphic looking version of it then me.

  8. koutchboom says :

    Man Cronenberg and Clancy Brown in the 90s needed to make a cop movie where they were brothers.

  9. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Crash was one of those comfort food movies that I used to put on when I didn’t feel like watching something new. I don’t know what that says about me really.

    I like leg scars that look like cunts, I guess.

    • Jarv says :

      Koteas and Particularly Debra Kara Unger are superb in it. It just makes me yack.

      • Stuntcock Mike says :

        I understand completely Jarv. That film still holds a personal record for the most walk outs I’ve ever seen in a film. Oddly enough, everybody that booked walked out when the gay stuff started(like it was o.k. for the homophobes ’till then).

      • koutchboom says :

        AHHhh so this is why Droid and Jarv will never meet up:

        because we all know what happens next.

      • Jarv says :

        I saw it TWICE in the fucking cinema for stupid reasons, and I was astounded at the amount of walkouts for the gay stuff- So fucking a scar is alright, but 2 guys kissing? Fuck off and grow up.

      • koutchboom says :

        I think the scar fucking is a little less obvious then the gay stuff. Unless I’ve only seen some edited version. I saw Crash when I was probably too young to get it, but still never really looked/felt like he was humping the scar. I’ll have to watch it again. I mean in the book its like graphic detail about scar fucking.

      • Jarv says :

        I would appreciate being kept out of your sordid fantasies, koutch.

        What you think about while dragging yourself around your cubicle is one thing, but don’t tell me. Especially not if it involves me.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah your right Jarv, you would definitely be in Koteas position.

      • Jarv says :

        It’s fairly fucking graphic. I’m wondering if you’ve seen an edited version.

      • koutchboom says :

        I may have only seen an edited copy. I remember when I first saw it I was just like??? That’s it? Thats not bad at all? Then I read the book and rewatched it and still didn’t find it that bad? Especially compared to the book.

      • Droid says :

        I saw Crash when it came out on video and I really don’t remember it. Fucking a scar? Nope. Gay sex? Nada. I also don’t really remember that I was too disgusted or upset by it. I was just kind of weirded out and felt like maybe I didn’t “get it”.

      • Jarv says :

        Do you mean as in do you see his cock slide up and down the scar? then the answer’s no.

        However, there is no question that he’s fucking the scar, it doesn’t look like vaginal sex at all.

        What shit is in your internet history at home?

  10. Droid says :

    Here’s a question for you…

    Which would you rather watch…

    Crash (1996)


    Crash (2004)


    • Jarv says :



    • Droid says :

      And neither is not an option.

    • koutchboom says :

      Crash (1996)

      Seriously, Crash (2004) is a by far the more disgusting of the two. God what an awful filthy filthy movie. I wish I HAD seen the edited version of Crash (2004).

      • Jarv says :

        2004 is far less disgusting, but far more offensive to anyone with a cortex. And it’s boring.

        1996 may be sick, but it’s never dull.

      • koutchboom says :

        Naw I think the fact that everybody in the world is a raciest is a lot more disgusting then then concept that some people have weird sexual fetishes that they share with each other.

    • M. Blitz says :

      Oh god let us NEVER speak of Crash (2004) again, except to curse its name. FUCK that movie, for real.

      I like Cronenberg’s Crash, though. And I think Koutch has a point about it sharing some stylistic concerns with softcore, I’m pretty sure that was intentional. But that doesn’t mean it’s intended to arouse or anything.

  11. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Crash 2004 holds the one of the top places for me as Most Hated Film Of All Time.

    Fuck. That. Cunt. Of. A. Movie.

  12. Stuntcock Mike says :

    24 was perfection last night by the way.

    Darth Fucking Bauer.

    • Droid says :

      Don’t give anything away please Mike. I’ve stored up all the eps since about ep 12 and I’m going to binge on them all at once. My colleague has been trying to spoil it for me and I keep having to slap him. Don’t make me slap you too.

  13. Stuntcock Mike says :

    And Koutch, I finished Dexter Season 4 last night. Hurry your ass up and finish so we can discuss.

  14. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Guys, she wasn’t dying at the end, just mildly injured.

    “Maybe next time”, implies that maybe she’ll die next time they try it.

    My take anyway.

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah thats what I thought. I don’t think Crash is nearly as bad as everyone says. Also unless you can state otherwise I’ve seen the unrated unedited version.

      • Jarv says :

        She’s in the kindest possible interpretation fucked up and immobile and he’s fucking her. How is that not fucked up?

        Christ, you are severely fucking jaded.

      • koutchboom says :

        hahahah TOOO BAD!

        Michael Hutchence was offered the role of Vaughan.

    • Jarv says :

      No, she’s dying- I’m nearly certain of it- but I agree it is open to interpretation. At the very least she’s fucked up and immobile, and he’s boning her.

  15. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Jarv’s right, it isn’t supposed to be arousing at all.

    It sure isn’t for the characters, it’s meant to play as an addiction/mental defect.

    • Jarv says :

      Thank you.

      “soft core porn” indeed.

      • koutchboom says :

        You guys are missing the whole point of the whole soft core porn aspect I brought up.

        Yes its nothing like a soft core porn, I know that I never said that. I just said visually its as bad as a soft core porn. Like all the hoopla leading up to it I was thinking it would be much worse. And like I said I saw it at a young age so all the shit about scar sex and fucking his wife after a car accident may have gone over my head at the time, and visually it’s not there unless you go there.

      • Jarv says :


        *bangs head on desk again*

        I’m going for a fucking smoke.

  16. Stuntcock Mike says :

    From Wikipedia(whatever weight that holds):

    The film’s climax begins with Vaughan’s death and ends with Ballard being involved in another semi-deliberate car accident, this one involving his wife. Their fetish for car crashes has, ironically enough, had a strengthening effect on the Ballards’ marriage. As he caresses her bruised body in the grass median near the accident, Ballard and his wife display much more affection for each other than they had at any other point of the film, ending with Ballard lamenting, “Maybe next time” possibly implying that the logical end result of their extreme fetish is death.

    • Jarv says :

      None at all. It’s up for interpretation.

      I reckon she’s croaking- although the logical end of the film should be him dying.

      Oh and that fucking description, by the way, is exactly what I’m talking about.

      • Stuntcock Mike says :

        I think some goofier shit happens in the novel re: Elizabeth Taylor or something.

        Who’s read it?

      • koutchboom says :

        I’ve read it, the book is totally different. The worse thing I remember is Ballard if driving and Vaughn starts fucking his wife in the back seat and starts beating her up to give her bruises that look like car crash accident bruises, and then there is like a page and half discribtion of how Vaugns jiz glistens on the leather of the car.

      • Droid says :

        Ah, so that’s why you can hold a book and turn the page with one hand.

      • koutchboom says :

        Sure why not.

      • Jarv says :

        Nothing wrong with that. That’s the whole point of Jackie Collins.

  17. Droid says :

    Is it just me, but reading through that reveals quite a disturbing trend developing.

    Koutch really likes to see male genitalia on film.

  18. Droid says :

    Right. I’m off bitches.

    Enjoy listening to Koutch prattle on about dongs.

    Take it easy.

  19. Jarv says :

    To bring this down here where I can follow the replies properly-

    If you find it boring, that’s one thing. However, I don’t think it’s dull- and the reason it’s disturbing and challenging is precisely because of how realistic it is. That’s why I’m really struggling with this soft core thing.

    Also, on the note, I suspect that it wouldn’t matter how much naked dong was on screen for you- the vast majority (outside of Spader’s unit) of the film would clearly bore you to tears- and so it would still not be a disturbing film.

    There’s loads of examples of erect cock on screen etc that are far more graphic than Crash (9 Songs, Romance, Baise Moi, Intimacy etc) that are far less disturbing because (especially Baise Moi and Romance) they feel less real.

    It’s the grittiness of it that makes a difference. You could beat one out to Romance if you liked (but not the birth scene), but nobody ever had a wank to Crash.

    • koutchboom says :

      No one beat off to 9 songs either because the chick is ugly. But come on that scene with Spader and his wife in bed? I think teenage me had a smashing good time to that.

      The whole soft core thing has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter. I was just talking about pure T and A factor. They show no more then what they do in a soft core porn.

      I don’t think Crash is terribly boring, but it is a pretty boring film for the most part. I can sit through it fine but its boring.

      • koutchboom says :

        Are you going to do his movies in order? Because I will rewatch Crash around the same time as you then see how we feel on the other end of it afterward.

      • Jarv says :

        I am, yeah.

        Rabid at the weekend.

        Crash is a good distance away yet.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well I own a copy, so lets both rewatch and finish this convo then.

      • Jarv says :

        Point taken about the bird in 9 songs.

      • Jarv says :

        Cool. I’ll let you know when.

      • Stuntcock Mike says :

        That scene stirred the genital region in me as well.

        Fuck’s sake, it feels like I’m confessing my perversions here.

        At least we’re not talking about Zoo.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m calling the police on the pair of you.

        I’m going to see “massive pile up on freeway in middle america due to a rambler registered to one K.Boom sideswiping a 16-wheeler” on the fucking news tomorrow.

      • koutchboom says :

        Naw I’m a modern man. I’ve moved on past famous people dying in automobile accidents and on to plane crashes. Bring me my Aaliyah wig!

  20. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Koutch, in my experience there is only one point of soft core porn.

    Something to beat off to in a motel room that doesn’t have PPV movies.

    From my personal experience anyway.

  21. M. Blitz says :

    Was Shivers the one that Cronenberg said he was trying to think basically from the point of view of the virus itself? Where the ‘human’ consequences are irrelevant to the virus, which just wants to spread unimpeded and human bodies are just so much meat?

    Ha ha, it’s been awhile since I had a copy of Cronenberg on Cronenberg.

  22. M. Blitz says :

    Earth mother??? Jarv what are you talking about, that’s not real. Please tell me that’s just an obligatory dig at some made-up “feminism” and that new-agers aren’t actually wasting their time trying to bring early-Cronenberg into the theoretical fold….

    • Jarv says :

      Swear to god I’m not making that up.

      I didn’t know how to approach this film- and so read a whole lot of shit about it- that is straight from one of the articles.

  23. xiphos0311 says :

    Fuck’s sake, it feels like I’m confessing my perversions here.

    So it’s a day that ends in y, Mike?

  24. Tom_Bando says :

    I’ll avoid this one I think. Cronenberg is a Certified Not For Me(TM) director.

    I WILL however break out the copy of Serpico I have and watch me some Lumet. That’s a Certified FOR Me(TM) director.

    *sounds of Jarv showering in bleach continue-*

  25. lordbronco says :

    Egads-A Cronenberg festival–sheesh-I like brutal and despicable fare more than most people-but to watch a heaping helping of Cronenberg back to back?!?

    Jarv is going to have to roll a 2D6 for Sanity loss after every single feature.

    Also, I award a dumbass prize to KBoom for the dopiest thread he has started in months. Crash is a virulent and nasty piece of work, which I respect mightily after watching once, but never ever want to see ever again.

    Applies a poultice to jarv’s head for desk/head smashing injuries.

    Cronenberg is a freaking autuer, who these days would be compared to or perhaps bashed liked Eli Roth or any of these gory fringe movie-makers.

    blah blah, before you all get in tizzy, Roth is a Hack and cronenberg has a much more subtle take on psychological nuance.

    Freakin’ K-Boom…

    I guess you will have to watch Human Centipede followed by Serbian film to impress your jaded sensibilities…

    • koutchboom says :

      I shall!

    • Jarv says :

      Thank you Bronco.

      Christ, I was going to write the Crash review from memory and now I’m having to rewatch it due to Koutch’s soft porn nonsense.

      • Lb says :

        You are welcome, Sir.

        I suggest that you review from memory, while insisting Herr boom *actually* watches the film without playing video games with the sound off and probably driving his car in traffic while texting work about his facebook!

        I love you alot kboom, but you are so efficiently wrong and egregious at times, I swear!

      • Stuntcock Mike says :

        Let me know when your watching it and I, like Koutch, will also watch it.

      • koutchboom says :

        Jesus you guys really are missing this whole soft porn business. All I said is that physically it doesn’t show anymore skin/sex then a soft porn. That’s it, its got nothing to do with the actual content of the film or the way its filmed its just pure amount of skin factor.

  26. ThereWolf says :

    I’ve seen Shivers once, too long ago to recall much. I did add it to my VHS collection years ago, along with Rabid, but never got around to rewatching either of them. I’ll have to dig ’em out again.

    Didn’t bother with Crash – it sounded horrible.

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