Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Using the tools at hand: Off-model casting in Cronenberg's "Shivers"

Almost everything that could be said about Shivers (1975), Canadian sicko-visionary David Cronenberg's pioneering debut feature, had probably been said long before I finally saw it last month at the Museum of the Moving Image's Cronenberg retrospective. So if you don't already know what it is, I'll just note that it's a low-budget, high-gore, deceptively smart science fiction/horror/black comedy set in an ultra-modern Montreal apartment complex infested by a mutant venereal parasite that drives the residents to crazed excesses of sex, rape and murder, and that I prefer its more evocative and specific U.S. release title, They Came from Within. If you want more about the movie as a whole, including the original Yankee trailer, here's a good critical overview at the A.V. Club Toronto.
(Image: Photofest & Museum of the Moving Image)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it does.

I have a hazy memory from when I was a very small fry. It was probably from shortly after our house was burglarized while we were on vacation, with no sign of efforts from our dachshund Noodle S. Romanoff III to prevent the dastardly deed. The notion of dogs being used as deterrents to burglars was being discussed with one of my parents. Mom or Dad mentioned the tactic of the burglars' tossing a piece of meat to a guard dog to keep it occupied and feeling friendly. After puzzling for a moment, I proposed, "Well, we could find out where the burglars live and then go to their house and steal all their meat." I don't quite remember what the response was, although I do recall, in my defense, that it occurred to me quite quickly that they could just buy more meat.

I'll give the guy one thing: he does (a lot of) his own stunts, as here...
(image: Paramount Pictures)