Before Shivers in 1975, David Cronenberg had written and directed a handful of shorts and feature-length pieces including Stereo (1969) and Crimes of the Future (1970), but it wasn’t until Shivers did audiences get a shocking introduction to what we’d come to love, study, and even worship about his work.

Cronenberg’s take on disease, sexuality, and experimentation, and their effects on the human body, quickly earned him the title of King of Body Horror.

More than 40 years later, no one has even come close to taking it from him. The entirety of Shivers takes place at the Starliner Towers, a luxury apartment community just outside of Montreal. The community even has its own doctor’s office, where a mad doctor has implanted a lady with a parasite of his own creation, just before committing suicide.

The initial host doesn’t survive though, and we’re made to follow the parasite as it finds its way into new host after new host, turning each body into a mindless zombie with one only one goal: SEX. Yup. The Starliner Towers quickly turns into an isolated madhouse packed with sex-crazed maniacs doing whatever they can to fulfill their lust with literally anyone in their path, willing or not.

As you can guess, not everyone survives, and viewers are left to wonder: Can this nightmare remain contained in this single solitary building? Come feast on all the primal carnage this masterclass in body horror has to offer, complete with genre goddess Barbara Steele in an unforgettable role.

Annette DiGiovanni

Director: David Cronenberg
Country: Canada
Runtime: 87 min.
Year: 1976


 Part of “The Shaping of Rage”: One ticket price for the full, four-film marathon!

September 29
10:00 am (8h)

Egyptian Theatre

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