David Cronenberg


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Shivers (1975), 7/10
Rabid (1977), 6.9/10
The Brood (1979), 6.7/10
Fast Company (1979), 5/10
Scanners (1981), 6.5/10
Videodrome (1983), 7.4/10
The Dead Zone (1983), 6/10
The Fly (1986), 6/10
Dead Ringers (1988), 7.2/10
Naked Lunch (1991), 6.5/10
M. Butterfly (1993), 6/10
Crash (1996), 7.3/10
eXistenZ (1999), 6.8/10
Spider (2002), 6.8/10
A History of Violence (2005), 7.1/10
Eastern Promises (2007), 6.9/10
A Dangerous Method (2011), 6/10
Cosmopolis (2012), 6.6/10
Maps to the Stars (2014), 6.2/10
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David Cronenberg, after the experimental short films in his native Toronto Crimes of the Future and Stereo, directed the horror-sexual orgy Shivers (1975), also known as They Came From Within, a wild merry-go-round of rape, bestiality, pedophilia and murder.

Rabid (1976) is inspired by Romero's Night Of The Living Dead (1968).

A young man and a young woman are riding on a motorcycle in the countryside when they collide with a van that got stuck in the middle of the road. The motorcycle explodes: the young man survives almost unhurt, but the woman survives and is transported in terminal conditions to a nearby hospital specializing in plastic surgery. The doctors operate but she remains in a coma.
She wakes up in the middle of the night. A doctor runs to her bed. She hugs him and engages in a blood-sucking orgasm. A part of her body is now capable of sucking blood from others. The doctor survives but is left with no memory of what happened.
The following night she wakes up again. This time she leaves the hospital, running under the rain, almost raped by a drunkard. Then runs back to the hospital and drowns a nurse in the hot tub to suck her blood. Rose tries to call her boyfriend for help.
In the meantime her first victim takes a taxi and bites the driver, thereby causing a crash in which both die. Her second victim, the drunkard, enters a restaurant and bites both a customer and the waitress. Rose's boyfriend hears the news while he is driving with a friend, who happens to be the partner of the hospital's chief, towards the hospital.
The girl runs away after yet another biting. When her boyfriend gets to the hospital, there are police officers all over the place: they captured her latest victim, the chief, who is being like a rabid dog and even bit two policemen.
Rose has hitched a ride on a truck, and then on a car, and leaves behind a wake of rabid victims. The rabids behave like zombies.
Rose finds shelter at a girlfriend's, and is aware of having become a monster, but keeps striking. The disease is spreading and her own girlfriend witnesses a rabid woman biting a passenger on the subway. So do the experts who are coming to the rescue, their driver assaulted in broad daylight by construction workers. Even Rose herself witnesses a rabid man terrorizing the crowd in a shopping mall. Television broadcasts emergency instructions to the population.
The partner of the hospital and his little baby are also victims of the rabids. The boyfriend's car is attacked as well, and he is saved by a squad of snipers, whose job is to shoot them on sight.
Frank is still looking for Rose and finally finds her: she is finishing up her girlfriend. Frank sees clearly the organ in her arm that she uses to suck blood and spread the rabies. They fight, Frank falls, Rose runs away.

Brood (1979) is a psychological thriller that aims at placing terror in the realm of private traumas. While less successful than Rabid, it experiments with stereotypes that Cronenberg will reprise later.

Nola is a divorcee, mentally instable, and cared by a creepy Dr. Raglan in his private hospital in the woods. Raglan's innovative technique consists in reviving the anger that drove people mad. Nola's ex-husband Frank takes care of their little daughter.
Mysterious "dwarf" spread terror by killing harmless innocents who happen to be related to Nola's family: Nola's mother, her daughter's sweet teacher who befriended Frank, and so forth. Somehow this happens every time Nola has a crisis.
Frank, alarmed by the disappearance of his daughter, confronts Dr. Raglan, who tells him the children are real children of Nola. Nola is capable of bearing an instant child, a creature that somehow absorbs the rage she still feels from a childhood trauma when she was abused. and then releases her anger by killing the people she hates.
Raglan convinces Frank to entertain Nola and give him a chance to free the daughter. While Nola shows Frank her horrible womb and how she can make an instant baby, Raglan walks into the room where all the creatures are sleeping and carries away the girl. But Nola realizes that Frank is lying to her and gets angry: the creatures wake up and attack Raglan. They surround him and rip him apart. Then they chase the girl and are about to get her. Frank has to strangle Nola to stop them.

Fast Company (1979) is a detour into drag racing.

Scanners (1981) is a sci-fi horror film.

Videodrome (1983) mixes pornography, sadomasochism, mind control, and media, and the plot is a Moebius strip, an endless cycle of hallucination and reality. We have no idea what really happened and what was just a hallucination.

A secretary shows up on the TV set of her boss to remind him of his appointment. Their company is called Civic-TV. The man, Max, flips through pornographic photos before going to the office. Max meets someone who wants to sell him a Japanese porno movie, and then discusses it with his two partners. Max meets with Harlan, a technician who illegally de-scrambled the scrambled transmission of a sadistic TV show. The video quality is very low, with a lot of noise. The show is titled "Videodrome" and is devoted to scenes of torture and murder, typically of naked women. Max is later interviewed by a TV host, Rena, on her show. Rena introduces him as the founder of a "controversial" TV station that specializes in violence and pornography. The panel also includes a sexy radio host, Nicki, and a sociologist who participates remotely via TV. Max asks Nicki for a date while they are broadcasting live and the embarrassed host turns to the sociologist, Brian, whose statement sounds out of context. Harlan shows him more "Videodrome" and explains that the show has no plot, just torture and murder. Harlan also found out that it is being produced and broadcast from nearby Pittsburgh. Max visits Nicki in her studio while she is discussing live with a distressed listener. He brings her home. She finds the tape of "Videodrome" and gets fascinated by the scenes of torture: watching torture turns her on. She asks Max to hurt her before having sex. The following day an old friend, Masha, tries to sell Max a new softcore video but Max is not excited. He tells her of "Videodrome". She offers to be her agent if he produces his own Videodrome-like show. Nicki tells him that she's going away for two weeks on assignment to Pittsburgh and wants to audition for the show "Videodrome". Max gets angry at the idea thinking it is dangerous. She lights up a cigarette and then burns herself on the chest to show him that she's not afraid of being tortured. Max has lunch with Masha who has been investigating "Videodrome". Masha found out that it is real torture and real murder, not just a show. She tells her to look for sociologist Brian. Max visits a homeless shelter called "Cathode Ray Mission" run by Brian's daughter Bianca, where free food is served and the homeless are told to watch television nonstop, part of Brian's sociological experiment. She refuses to help Max meet with Brian. Max's secretary comes to Max's house to bring him a package. He doesn't seem in control of himself and even imagines hitting her, and she morphs into Nicki while hitting her (imagining to). She actually brought him a videotape from Brian himself. When he grabs the videotape, the videotape seems to be alive. The videotape is a speech by Brian, something about controlling the minds of the whole population. "Videodrome" causes total hallucination. The videotape ends with Brian being strangled to death: he was Videodrome's first victim. The assassin removes the hood and he sees Nicki summoning him. The cabinet of the TV set starts warping like a body having an orgasm, while Nicki's voice invites him to have sex with her. Later, Max returns the videotape to Bianca at the "Mission". He realizes that he has been hallucinating since the first time he saw "Videodrome". Bianca explains that the Videodrome tape causes a tumor in the brain of the viewer, and the tumor causes the hallucinations. Brian died months earlier and left behind thousands of tapes. She keeps Brian alive with the tapes, that she plays whenever someone wants to interview Brian on television. Bianca explains that Brian discovered the power of the Videodrome videotape but then realized that his partners had evil intentions and tried to stop them: they Videodrome to kill him. Bianca lets Max watch Brian videotapes in which Brian explains how Videodrome creates not just a tumor but a whole new organ. Later, Max sees a hole open in his belly. He can't resist and inserts a videotape in the hole. But it is just a hallucination. The phone rings: Barry invites him to take a ride in a car that is waiting downstairs. During the car ride, Max is forced to watch a video about Barry's Spectacular Optical Corporation in which Barry describes the Videodrome as a giant hallucination machine. Max is delivered to Barry's office. Barry convinces Max to wear a device that records his hallucinations. His hallucination is Nicki who hands him a whip and asks him to flog her while she enters a TV set. He starts flogging the TV set where the image changes to the face of Masha. He wakes up in his bed, thinking it was all a dream, but instead finds the dead body of Masha next to him. The TV set is on but showing just noise. Max phones Harlan and asks him to come with a camera but, when Harlan arrives, the dead body has disappeared. Max and Harlan meet at their illegal studio. Harlan opens the door to Barry. Harlan confesses that he has been in cahoots with Barry all the time, and that he was only playing videotapes, not capturing live broadcasts of "Videodrome". Harlan is a puritanical maniac who wants to exterminate Max's viewers, the perverts who like the kind of programming that Max broadcasts. Barry has never broadcast "Videodrome" before. They are planning the first video transmission on Max's station, so it will drive crazy the perverts of his audience. Barry hands him the videotape that recorded his hallucinations. Max feels a wind that opens his shirt and then the hole opens again in his belly and Barry sticks the videotape into his belly. Barry and Harlan want his television channel: they want him to kill his partners and give them the channel. Max pulls out a gun from his belly. Steel rods spread from the gun into the flesh of his arm. Max, walking like a zombie, returns to his TV station Civic-TV, pulls out the gun and kills his two partners. He walks away, still holding the gun, and heads for the "Cathode Ray Mission". Barry's voice orders him to kill Bianca. Max breaks into the mission. Bianca realizes that he has been programmed to kill her: they want Max to destroy what was left of Brian by killing her. Bianca, however, shows Max a videotape of Nicki being strangled to death. Max shoots at the TV set and thus frees himself from their hypnosis. On the other hand, Bianca is now in control of his brain and orders him to kill Harlan and Barry. As he walks in the streets, a TV set shows his picture because the news broadcast is talking about his double murder. He confronts Harlan who tries in vain to insert a videotape in his belly. Max shoots him and walks away. He then finds Barry at a fancy reception and shoots him on stage. Barry's body decomposes in a bubble of tumors. Max hides in an abandoned building. A TV set starts showing him Nicki, who starts talking to him in a soothing voice, asking him to complete his transformation by killing himself. Nicki shows him a video of him shooting himself in front of a burning TV set. The TV set explodes and burns in front of Max, recreating the scene that we just saw in the TV set. Max lifts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger.

The Dead Zone (1983) is an adaptation of a Stephen King story.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Lussana Marcello )

Rabid (1976) ispirato al film "La notte dei morti viventi" di Romero(1968)

Un ragazzo e una ragazza stanno viaggiando su una motocicletta quando si scontrano con un furgone che e' rimasto bloccato in mezzo alla strada. La motocicletta esplode: il ragazzo sopravvive quasi illeso, mentre la donna in condizioni terminali e' trasportata all'ospedale piu' vicino, che e' specializzato in chirurgia plastica. I dottori operano la ragazza che rimane in coma. Si sveglia nel cuore della notte. Un dottore corre al suo letto. Lei lo stringe forte a se con un orgasmo succhia-sangue. Il dottore sopravvive ma senza ricordarsi niente di quello che e' successo. La notte seguente si sveglia ancora,questa volta lasciando l'ospedale, correndo sotto la pioggia, finendo quasi stuprata da un ubriacone. Poi ritorna all'ospedale e annega un'infermiera in una tinozza di acqua bollente per succhiargli il sangue. Rose prova a chiamare aiuto al suo ragazzo. Intanto la prima vittima prende un taxi e morsica l'autista,causando in questo modo un incidente nel quale entrambi muoiono. La seconda vittima, l'ubriacone, entra in un ristorante dove morsica un cliente e una cameriera. Il ragazzo di Rose sente la notizia mentre sta andando in macchina con un amica (che casualmente e' la partner del capo dell'ospedale) verso l'ospedale. La ragazza riesce a fuggire via ma solo dopo essere stata morsicata. Quando il suo ragazzo arriva all'ospedale, ci sono ufficiali di polizia tutt'intorno al palazzo: hanno catturato l'ultima vittima, il capo dell'ospedale, che si sta comportando come un cane rabbioso e aver morsicato persino due poliziotti. Rose ha fatto l'autostop su di un camion e poi su una macchina, lasciandosi dietro una scia di vittime rabbiose. I rabbiosi si comportano come zombie. Rose trova riparo da un'amica, ma pur essendo consapevole di essere diventata un mostro, lo tiene segreto. La malattia si sta spargendo e la sua stessa amica assiste alla scena di una donna rabbiosa che morsica un passeggero della metropolitana. Lo stesso succede a dei tecnici che stanno raggiungendo la salvezza: il loro autista e' pero' assaltato da operai edili in pieno giorno e in mezzo alla strada. Pure Rose e' testimone di un uomo rabbioso che terrorizza la gente in un centro commerciale. Le trasmissioni televisive d'emergenza istruiscono la popolazione. La partner del capo dell'ospedale e il suo piccolo bambino sono anche loro vittime dei rabbiosi. Pure la macchina del ragazzo di Rose e' attaccata ma viene salvata da una squadra di tiratori scelti, il cui compito e' di sparare ai rabbiosi a vista. Frank continua a cercare Rose e alla fine la trova: sta finendo la sua amica. Frank vede chiaramente l'organo nelle mani di Rose che usa per succhiare il sangue e spargere la rabbia. Frank e Rose lottano: Frank cade, Rose scappa via.

Brood (1979), tradotto da Paola Cavallini

Nola e' una donna divorziata, mentalmente instabile, in cura dal terribile Dott. Raglan nella sua clinica privata tra i boschi. L' innovativa tecnica di cura di Raglan consiste nel far rivivere la rabbia che porto' questi soggetti alla pazzia. L'ex-marito di Nola, Frank, nel frattempo si prende cura della loro bambina piccola.
Un misterioso "nano" sparge il terrore uccidendo alcune persone innocenti a cui accade di entrare in relazione con la famiglia di Nola: la madre di Nola, la simpatica insegnante della sua bambina che e' diventata amica di Frank, e cosi' via.
In qualche modo, tutto cio' accade ogni volta che Nola ha una delle sue crisi.
Frank, allaramto per la saprizione della figlia, affronta il Dott. Raglan, che gli spiega che i bambini sono davvero figli di Nola.
Nola infatti e' in grado di dare alla luce in brevissimo tempo un bambino, una creatura che in qualche modo assorbe la rabbia che lei ancora prova a causa di un trauma infantile causato da una violenza subita, e cosi' lei scarica la sua rabbia uccidendo le persone che odia.
Raglan convince Frank a distrarre Nola in modo da dargli la possibilita' di liberare sua figlia. Mentre Nola mostra a Frank il suo orribile utero e come sia in grado di creare dei bambini con esso, Raglan entra nella stanza dove le creature stanno dormendo e porta via la bambina. Nola si rende pero' conto che Frank le sta mentendo, e si arrabbia: le creature si risvegliano ed attaccano Raglan. Lo circondano e lo fanno a pezzi. Poi inseguono la bambina e stanno per farle fare la stessa fine. Frank e' costretto a strangolare Nola per fermarle.

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The Fly (1986) was a sensational remake of the 1958 horror film.

Dead Ringers (1988), tratto da un bestseller,

Due gemelli sono diventati i massimi esperti mondiali di malattie sessuali, insigniti di premi e onoroficenze. Vivono insieme e condividono tutto, anche le ragazze, dalle quali sono morbosamente attratti. Beverly e` un vero chirurgo, Elliot passa gran parte del tempo a dare seminari. Un giorno si presenta loro una nuova cliente, un'attrice che vuole a tutti i costi avere un figlio. I gemelli scoprono cio` che altri ginecologi non aveva scoperto: che il suo utero e` deforme. Cio` scatena la libidine dei gemelli. Prima e` Elliot ad approfittarne. Poi Beverly addirittura se ne innamora follemente. Ma Claire scopre che lui ha un fratello e per di piu` gemello e per di piu` vivono insieme. Claire intuisce la verita` e Elliot confessa candidamente. Elliot e` divertito, ma Beverly e` invece distrutto. Elliot e` freddo e cinico, ma Beverly e` emotivo e sensibile.
Claire ha l'involontario effetto di distaccare progressivamente Beverly da Elliot (l'incubo di lei che morde il cordone ombelicale). Quando Claire la lascia per qualche giorno per andare a girare un film, Beverly impazzisce di solitudine. Prima si droga, poi supplica un artista di fabbricare strumenti per studiare donne mutanti e sbaglia alcune operazioni. Elliot tenta di aiutarlo, ma a sua volta viene influenzato dalla sua pazzia, come se il sangue dell'uno fluisse in quello dell'altro. Decidono pertanto di separarsi, come se fossero sempre stati due gemelli siamesi, con una complicata operazione.
Cronenberg fa un uso minimo dei mezzi tradizionali del suo horror.
Naked Lunch (1991) is a bold rendition of William Burroughs' novel. The director manages to turn the delirious narrative into a more or less linear plot. Basically, Cronenberg interprets Burroughs' novel literally: what was a series of delirious drug visions turns into a sci-fi epic. The film's main drawback is that it flows at a terribly slow pace. William Lee is a bug exterminator who has a problem: somebody is stealing his roach poison and threatening his business. At home he finds out that his neurotic wife, Joan, has been using the powder as a potent drug that turns her (mentally) into a bug. His doctor, Benway, is an expert in drugs and the head of the company running Interzone: he recommends a potion to free William's wife from the addiction. The police arrest him for drug trafficking. They test his powder on a giant bug and leave William alone with the beast. The beast starts talking to him, trying to recruit him for the Interzone and talk him into killing his wife. William grabs a shoe and kills the bug, then runs home.
But one day William finds his wife in bed (or better, on the couch) with a friend and kills her. Wanted by the police, William trades his gun for a typewriter and escapes to the InterZone, a decadent, labyrinthine Arab city.
He is welcome by a green reptile, the Mugwump, who asks him to write a daily report on his experiences in the Interzone. His typewriter turns into a bug with the mouth of a vulva that encourages him to engage in homosexuality. As he wanders from bar to bar, William realizes that the Interzone has a vast supply of cute boys. One of them, Kiki, becomes his lover. William feels lonely and would like to escape from the Interzone. His life is now invaded by bugs: a black centipede crawls in the shower, two typewriters turn into bugs and engage in a bloody fight,...

His talking typewriter tells him to seduce Joan, the sophisticated wife of writer Tom, herself a writer, who can actually write arabic on an odd typewriter that opens like a vagina. As he talks to her she gets excited. They make love but are interrupted by her jealous nazi housekeeper, Fadela, who practices magic in order to control Joan. Her husband Tom does not seem to mind the love affair, but he wants William to return the typewriter he borrowed.
William's friends Hank and Martin arrive in Interzone and witness William's unhappiness. They leave and warn William to return as soon as he has finished his novel.
William meets Yves, a dandy who befriends him. The Mugwump appears in William's room and warns him that Yves can turn into a centipede. William lets Yves take him for a ride in the countryside. Yves seduces William's gay lover Kiki but, when they have sex, they turn into a monster.
William pursues Joan at the meatmarket of the mugwumps (where their blood is used as a drug). They meet Fadela, who pulls out her skin and reveals herself to be Dr Benway in disguise. William gets his permission to elope with Joan.
William and Joan jump on a tank and drive towards the border. Border guards demand that William proves he is truly a writer. Instead, William shoots Joan in the head, just like he did with his wife, and the border guard tells him "welcome to Annexia".

M. Butterfly (1993) is a diligent adaptation of David Henry Hwang's Tony-winning play.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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Crash (1996), from J.G. Ballard's science fiction novel, is a glorification of sex and cars, the mythological foundations of so much Hollywood cinema, in a a dark, mysterious, brooding tone (a Twin Peaks-kind of atmosphere), obsessively showing devastating crashes and visceral sex. All four characters are obsessed with each other's body and car. A woman makes love against the windshield of a car, taken from behind by her lover. James is the producer of pornofilms. At home, the wind opens the skirt of the girl from behind, on the balcony, while James observes her. The two have sexual affairs with others, but candidly report them to each other at home.
James is driving recklessly (he was trying to reach for some of his porno material) and hits a car. The driver is ejected into his windshield and dies. The wife, Helen, is paralyzed in her seat (unfastens her seatbelt and so exposes her breast). James is hospitalized with a broken leg and is cared by his icy and sexy lover, Catherine. Helen is hospitalized in the same hospital.
Back at home, James watches traffic from the balcony through a binocular, always cared for by his sensual girlfriend in an almost fatal/noir tone. James meets Helen when they both visit their cars at the junkyard. Helen is cold but polite and accepts a ride in his car. After he almost killed them in another accident, the two make love in the car. At home, James then has sex with Catherine on an armchair.
Helen takes James to see a show organized by her friend Vaughan, whom she met at the hospital. Vaughan, scarred and limping, hires stunt drivers to recreate famous car crashes, in the middle of the night in remote locations. The audience pays just to see them crash into one another at high-speed. The police send them home. One of the actors is hurt. Vaughan drives James and Helen and in the car he touches the woman who enjoys it. At Vaughan's home they meet Vaughan's bizarre and crippled girlfriend, Gabrielle, whose legs are broken and kept together by steel ligaments. Vaughan is an amateur scientist who is a car-crash fetishists: he is fascinated by wounds, the way a voyeur would be fascinated by sex.
James alternates his sexual performances between Catherine (at home) and Helen (in the car), wild with the former and casual with the latter.
Vaughan's group of friends constitute de facto a group of cultists, who spend evenings watching videos of car crashes and getting excited. Helen almost gets an orgasm watching one video, while she touches Gabrielle and is touched by James. Vaughan and James hire a prostitute: while James drives the convertible, Vaughan makes love to her in the back seat.
Then the two men pick up Catherine and drive by a huge accident, Vaughan taking pictures of the wreckage while firemen try to rescue the passengers still trapped in the twisted metal. The car is stained with blood and they decide to drive to a carwash. Vaughan and the icy Catherine make love in the back seat while the car is enveloped in steamy soap. At night Catherine is covered with bruises and like in a trance while James makes love to her at home.
James accompanies Gabrielle to a car dealer where she tries a new car, while exposing as much as possible of her crunt to the salesperson. James and Gabrielle make love in the car, despite the devices at her legs. Later, Vaughan and James make love in the convertible, with James fascinated by Vaughan's steering wheel tattoo. The "sex" continues when the two are in two separate cars and Vaughan hits James' car over and over again.
The two couples drive recklessly until the car with Vaughan and Gabrielle crashes down a bridge (Catherine is almost having an orgasm). Helen and Gabrielle visit the wrecked car of Vaughan and make love in it.
James chases Catherine. The woman's car crashes. James lies next to her, who is fatally wounded, and makes love to her under the wreckage.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Stefano Taiss)

Crash (1996), tratto dal romanzo fantascientifico di J.G. Ballard, e' un'esaltazione di sesso e automobili, fondamenta mitologiche del cinema di Hollywood, espresso in un tono oscuro, misterioso e ruminante (alla Twin Peaks), in cui si susseguono ossessivamente incidenti devastanti e sesso viscerale.

Una donna sta facendo sesso contro il parabrezza di un'automobile, presa da dietro dal suo partner. James e' un produttore di film pornografici. Sul balcone di casa loro, mentre James la guarda, il vento solleva la gonna della ragazza. I due hanno rispettive relazioni con altri, ma le confessano nei particolari all'altro/a una volta tornati a casa. James sta guidando in modo distratto, mentre analizza del materiale pornografico per il suo film, e si scontra con un'altra macchina, il cui conducente viene prontamente sbalzato attraverso il parabrezza e muore. La moglie, Helen, rimane immobile sul sedile (togliendosi la cintura di sicurezza lascia scoperto il seno). James e' ricoverato in ospedale con una gamba rotta, ed e' assisto dalla sua fredda e accattivante compagna, Catherine. Helen e' ricoverata nello stesso ospedale. Una volta tornati a casa, James osserva il traffico dal suo balcone con un binocolo, pur sempre "accudito" dalla sua ragazza, sempre fedele al suo atteggiamento da femme fatale. James incontra Helen dallo sfasciacarrozze; Helen, distaccata ma non priva di educazione, accetta un passaggio in macchina. Dopo aver rischiato un altro grave incidente, i due fanno l'amore in macchina. Tornato a casa, James fa sesso con Catherine sulla poltrona. Helen invita James a vedere uno spettacolo organizzato dal suo amico Vaughan, conosciuto all'ospedale. Vaughan, ricoperto di cicatrici e dall'incedere zoppicante, da lavoro a diversi stuntmen per ricreare, la notte e in luoghi isolati, gli incidenti automobilistici piu' famosi (per l'occasione quello mortale di James Dean). Il pubblico paga solo per vederli mentre si scontano ad alte velocita'. Ad incidente avvenuto, l'arrivo della polizia fa scappare tutti. Uno degli attori e' gravemente ferito. Vaughan fa salire in macchina sia Helen, che inizia a toccare insistentemente e a cui sembra provocare piacere, che James. A casa di Vaughan, conoscono la sua ragazza, particolarmente strana e soprattutto zoppa, Gabrielle, le cui gambe sono evidentemente rotte e tenute insieme da dei legamenti di acciaio. Vaughan e' uno studioso dilettante con il feticcio degli incidenti automobilistici, attratto dalle ferite nello stesso modo in cui un voyeur e' attirato dal sesso. James si divide nelle sue avventure sessuali con Catherine (a casa) e Helen (in macchina), a seconda del luogo in cui si trova. Nella fattispecie, il gruppo di Vaughan e' formato da cultori della perversione, gente che passa il suo tempo la sera ad eccitarsi guardando filmati di incidenti: Helen ha quasi un orgasmo guardandone uno, mentre tocca Gabrielle e James (che la tocca a sua volta). Vaughan e James pagano una prostituta: mentre James guida la decappottabile, Vaughan fa l'amore con lei sul sedile posteriore. I due raccolgono Catherine ma finiscono in coda per un enorme incidente: quando ci passano a fianco, Vaughan scatta delle fotografie ai resti delle auto coinvolte, mentre i pompieri cercano di estrarre i passeggeri dalle lamiere contorte. La macchina si sporca di sangue e i tre vanno ad un autolavaggio; Vaughan e una fredda Catherine fanno l'amore sul sedile posteriore mentre l'auto e' in mezzo ai rulli insaponati. La sera, a casa, Catherine e' ricoperta di lividi e mezza in catalessi, mentre fa l'amore con James a casa. James accompagna Gabrielle ad un concessionario dove lei prova una macchina nuova, e non perde occasione per farsi toccare e guardare da un timido e imbarazzato venditore. James e Gabrielle, nonostante i problemi alle gambe di lei, fanno l'amore nella macchina. Piu' tardi ancora, James a Vaughan hanno un rapporto sessuale nella decappottabile, con James rapito dal nuovo tatuaggio (uno sterzo) di Vaughan. Il loro rapporto continua con i due che si tamponano ripetutamente con le rispettive macchine. Le due coppie poi si inseguono follemente sulle strade, urtandosi e colpendosi finche' Catherine non ha un orgasmo quando l'auto di Vaughan e Gabrielle esce di strada su un cavalcavia. Gabrielle e Helen hanno un rapporto nell'auto distrutta di Vaughan. James segue Catherine con la macchina, tamponandola ripetutamente. L'auto della donna esce di strada e si rovescia; James la raggiunge e si sdraia vicino a lei, ferita mortalmente, e fa l'amore con lei sotto la macchina distrutta. Tutti i quattro personaggi sono ossessionati dal corpo e dall'auto degli altri. E' probabilmente il film piu' debole di Cronenberg.

Existenz (1999), or eXistenZ, is an apocalyptic film about virtual reality. Like Crash, the film is laden with sexual innuendos. The theme is half way between Kate Bigelow's Strange Days and The Matrix. And the film is as loaded with special effects. The ending redeems the rest of the film. The many twists and turns are not only confusing but also badly realized. The ending, however, makes sense of everything. An enthusiastic audience listens to Allegra, a world-famous game designer, present her new invention, a virtual-reality game called "eXistenZ", which is downloaded into the nervous systems of twelve volunteers. While the download is in progress, a young man, Noel, pulls out a weird pistol that shoots human teeth and attempts to assassinate Allegra (is this already part of the virtual reality?). The killer is shot dead and Allegra, barely wounded, is escorted out by Ted, a colleague also employed at Antenna Research. Ted and Allegra behave as if someone was chasing them, but who told them? Allegra seems familiar with all the events, as if she had created them. Are they merely playing a video game?
At the motel where they hide she discovers that he does not have a "bio-port" (a hole in the spine) to download games into his body (he is still a virgin: he has never played any game). Unfortunately, the only way to determine whether the game is still functioning is to play it: Ted must get a bio-port. They drive to a gas station and ask the owner, who recognizes Allegra and gets on his knees in adoration, to perform an illegal operation on Ted, while someone is spying on them. Strange animals wonder around the gas station.
As soon as Ted's bio-port is ready, Allegra plugs her unit into Ted, but the bio-port causes a short and the unit gets damaged: Allegra is very upset because it contains the only complete copy of eXistenZ. She blames the short on Ted's nervousness, but the owner of the gas station shows up with a gun (is this already part of the game? still part of the previous game?) and declares his intention to kill her because there is a bounty on her head.
It is crucial to repair the unit in order to rescue the original copy of the game. Allegra and Ted seek out an expert, Kiri, who lives alone in the woods, where more of those strange amphibians live. Kiri operates (like a surgeon) on the unit (that looks like an internal organ) and finally Allegra and Ted can play the game together (or at they already playing it?), although it is not clear what the game is ("you have to play the game in order to find out why we are playing the game").
The scene changes suddenly to a video store. Ted feels like himself but his character takes over his personality (Allegra is explaining how the game works while they are playing it). One of the characters gives them the devices that let them enter the virtual reality. The effect of these devices is to make the holes disappear and make the bodies intact again. Suddenly, they feel a sexual urge. AS the orgasm is still going on, Ted finds himself transformed into a worker in a trout farm, where the units of the game are assembled out of frogs and fish organs. A collegue sends him to the Chinese restaurant and tells him to order the special. Ted finds Allegra in the farm and together they follow the others (who walk like zombies) to the Chinese restaurant. Ted orders the special. The other workers leave the restaurant, obviously not excited about the special.
Ted asks to pause the game for a second and they return to the cabin where they are playing. But now Ted is no longer sure that this is reality: everything feels like a game and Allegra feels like a character to him. She kisses him and brings him back into the game.
The special turns out to be a plate of disgusting organs. As Ted eats them, he finds the same weird gun that was used against Allegra and a bridge of teeth that fits perfectly inside the gun. He loads it and feels the urge to kill the waiter. The other waiters and guests briefly stop but then get back to their business. Another character explains to Ted why he had to kill the waiter: the trout farm belongs to a rival game firm. They are in the middle of an industrial espionage conspiracy. Another character tells them that the waiter was their contact and Ted was induced to kill him by a double agent (the previous character). When they find a diseased unit, Allegra feels the irresistible urge to plug into it. She starts shivering. Ted cuts her loose and she starts bleeding. The supposed double agent burns the diseased unit and saves Allegra's life. Instead of being grateful, Allegra stabs the man to dead. As the man drops dead, the fire spreads throughout the farm. (Note: if this is a video game, it is really a lousy one).
Suddenly, Allegra and Ted are back to the cabin. They brought back the disease and the disease has now infected Allegra's precious, original unit. Ted's bio-port is badly infected: Kiri, obviously a double-crosser, planted the disease into him so he would spread it to Allegra's unit and destroy it.
A bomb blows up the door of the cabin and a game character breaks in brandishing a machine gun. He shoots Allegra's unit, but Ted realizes that they must still be inside the game (the shooter is a game character, after all). Outside there a battle is raging, with grenades and machine guns. The game character leads them to safety but then points the gun to Allegra, determined to shoot the famous game designer. Before he can pull trigger, Kiri shoots him from behind. Allegra is not relieved at all: she has lost her game, as the original unit perished in the fire. But Kiri reveals that he had copied her game already: Existenz is safe in his laboratory. Kiri is defecting to the rival firm and begs Allegra to join them. Allegra grabs the machine gun and kills him. Now it's Ted's turn to grab the machine gun and point it against Allegra: he is one of "them" too (that's why he didn't have a bio-port) and has played along only to understand the character he has to kill. Now it's Allegra's turn to surprise him: Allegra knew all along he was paid to kill her and has planted a bomb in his bio-port, which she now detonates. Ted is dead, as the battle is still raging all around them. Allegra has won the game.
Suddenly, we are back to the first scene: the twelve volunteers have completed the experiment successfully. The twelve volunteers were the twelve characters of the game (of this film). Allegra herself is but one of the twelve volunteers, impersonating the game designer, who is in reality a brilliant young man. He congratulates the twelve volunteers for playing a great game, but is worried that the game was unusually violent against the designer. And, sure enough, Allegra and Ted turn out to be two anti-game terrorists who pull out their pistols and shoot him dead in order to avenge the suffering he has inflicted on mankind. As they are about to go on a killing spree, the Chinese who played the waiter asks them if they are still in a game...

Spider (2002)

A History of Violence (2005) is a liberal adaptation of John Wagner's and Vince Locke's graphic novel "A History of Violence" (1997). Cronenberg adds a perverted sexual element that doesn't quite fit, but also cunningly twists the old theme of the innocent naive man forced by circumstances to become a killer (except that in this case he is indeed a killer). Countless western movies had as protagonist a John Wayne or similar actor who had renounced violence and was forced to take up arms again for a good cause. In this case the good cause is simply to defend the second life that the protagonist built for himself. There is also a psychoanalytic element of doppelganger that harks back to Stevenson's Dr Jekyll.

A man dressed in black and a man dressed in white drive in a blue car to a convenience store. The former comes out saying that he had a little problem. The latter walks into the store to get some water and sees two dead bodies on the floor. Then he spots a little girl with a doll and kills her in cold blood to leave to witnesses behind.
Another little girl, Sara, wakes up scared: she dremead of monsters. Her father Tom, her mother Evie and her older brother Jack come to reassure her that there are not monsters. Tom owns a diner in a small peaceful provincial town. Jack plays baseball with his high-school friends and happens to catch the ball that makes him team win. A bully playing for the other team confronts him in the gym but Jack refuses to fight. In the evening the wife picks Tom up and wants to have a romantic evening because the children is out. She dresses like a teenage cheerleader and they have sex. The next day Jack is smoking a cigarette with his girlfriend. The bully sees him while he is driving by and tries to steer the car towards him but almost hits the van in which the two psychos are entering town. One look is enough to convince him not to argue with them. The two are broke again. They walk into Tom's diner and order coffee even though Tom tells them that he is closing the restaurant. Sensing trouble, he tells the waitress to go home but one of the robbers grabs her and the other one orders him to rape her. Tom quickly hits the latter with the coffee kettle, grabs his gun and shoots both robbers dead. Tom is a well-respected family man and now also becomes a local hero. The media descend on the town to interview him but he shuns publicity. Nonetheless, the media post his face all over the country. At home Tom sees a black car driving by. One day a sinister man shows up at the restaurant, scarred gangster names Fogarty, who addresses Tom as "Joey" and tells him that they met in Philadelphia. Tom denies being Joey and ever been in Philadelphia. The mobster removes his sunglasses and shows Tom his disfigured eye: Joey tried to egg it out of his face years ealier. Tom still denies being Joey and asks him to leave the restaurant. Evie calls Sam the town's sheriff who follows the man's black car and pulls him over, and tells him not to show up again. Sam digs up that they this Fogarty is a dangerous mobster. Sam asks Tom if he is on a witness protection plan, which Tom vehemently denies. Tom sees the mobster's car again and runs after the car, thinking that they may be going to his house and calls his wife to be ready. His wife frantically loads the rifle but the only one to show up is Tom, panting. Tom is right to be worried because one day Fogarty follows Evie and her daughter into a mall. Evie suddenly realizes that her daughter is missing and runs out barefoot looking for her. She finds it with Fogarty who, again, tells her that her husband Tom is his Joey, and that this Joey scarred his face. At school the bully attacks Jack again and this time Jack ferociously beats him up. Tom gets very angry at him and Jack, who feels this is unfair, runs out of the house. Evie tells Tom that she saw the mobster at the mall. Just then Fogarty shows up with two henchmen and with Jack as a hostage, demanding that Joey follow them to Philadelphia. Tom kills the two henchemen with gangster-style dextery but Fogarty wounds him. Tom is lying on the floor and admits being Joey. Fogarty is about to finish him when Jack shoots him dead with the family's rifle, thus saving his father's life. Wounded, the father spends a few days at the hospital. Here he finally confesses to his wife who has seen him perform those develish moves and shoot with such accuracy: he is indeed Joey, a former gangster. She walks out crying and he cries too. Back home, Jack is hostile because he has learned that his father is a former mobster. Sam comes to talk to him again. He is now even more suspicious but, just when Tom is about to confess the truth, Evie wife surprisingly defends Tom, presumably to defend her children. After Sam leaves them alone, she slaps Tom and they fight, but the fight ends with wild sex on the stairs to the bedroom, as if she actually enjoyed the idea of making love with a maniac. In the middle of the night Tom receives a call from his brother Richie, who is still a mobster, and he too demands his return to Philadelphia. Tom drives in the dark and meets Richie in his big mansion. Richie remembers Tom being the craziest of all hitmen. Richie tells him that the mob punished him for Tom's actions. Richie tells him that the only way to make amend is to die and his henchman tries to strangle Tom right where he is sitting. Tom manages to free himself and kill all of Richie's henchman while Richie is shooting at him. Then Tom kills Richie in cold blood. It is now sunrise and he walks out wounded to a lake, throws the gun in the lake and washes the blood off his face. He drives back home and arrives in the evening where Evie and the children are eating dinner. His little girl adds a plate on the table for him, and his son passes him the food. Evie and Tom stare at each other in pain.

Eastern Promises (2007)

A Dangerous Method (2011) is an adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play.

Cosmopolis (2012) is an adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel.

Maps to the Stars (2014)

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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