Shivers (Horror) 1975 [Movie/Review]


Year: 1975
Genre: Horror/Body Horror
Director: David Cronenberg
Original Title/AKA: The Parasite Murders/They Came from Within/Frissons
Source: Blu-Ray (Arrow)

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At Starliner Towers, a luxury apartment complex outside of Montreal, Dr. Emil Hobbes murders a young woman named Annabelle. He slices open her stomach, pours acid into the wound and then commits suicide. Nick Tudor, who has been suffering from stomach convulsions, finds their bodies but leaves without calling the police. The two bodies are found by resident doctor Roger St. Luc, who calls the police. Hobbes’ medical partner, Rollo Linsky, tells St. Luc that he and Hobbes had been working on a project to create: “a parasite that can take over the function of a human organ”.

Shivers (also known as The Parasite Murders and They Came from Within, and, for the French-Canadian distribution, Frissons) is a 1975 Canadian science fiction body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Paul Hampton, Lynn Lowry, and Barbara Steele. The original shooting title was Orgy of the Blood Parasites.

Nah, this is nothing more than ok for me, but we have to keep in mind that it was David Cronenberg’s first feature film. For me it kind of feels like this was the practise round before “Rabid”, which kind of have a similar concept (rabid people, instead of sex crazed people), and I prefer “Rabid” big time.

The Slugs, I think is nothing to complain about in a low budget movie from 1975 (that I heard others complain about), I have seen much worse CGI creepy crawlies from the last couple of years in other movies. The gore is mainly blood smeared on people in different amounts. Some casual nudity, but nothing “in your face” if that’s something you don’t like.

This was David Cronenberg’s first feature film. It became the most profitable Canadian film ever made at the time. It was also so controversial that Canada’s Parliament debated its social and artistic value and effect upon society.

The film was shot in summer 1974 in and around a condominium complex on Nuns’ Island in Montreal, with a shooting schedule of 15 days.

Susan Petrie was unable to cry, so David Cronenberg used onions to help her produce tears. It worked, but the camera was out of focus when the scene was shot. Cronenberg was out of onions, so Petrie agreed to let him to slap her on the face. He slapped her until her face went numb. Barbara Steele, the other actress in the scene, was not informed, and thought David had been beating her. After the last take was finished, she angrily confronted Cronenberg, holding him off the ground by his collar as she shouted at him, threatening to beat him up. Scared, Cronenberg told her what really went on. Once the other actress confirmed the story, they had a good laugh.

Ivan Reitman produced the film, but he’s also credited as music supervisor. “We couldn’t afford to have a traditional score, so it’s all needle drop music” that Reitman acquired. It wasn’t until 1979’s The Brood that he was able to hire a composer in Howard Shore with whom he has since collaborated with fourteen more times.

I watched this on the Arrow UK dual format version, and both video and audio version is just great.

DISC ONE (Blu-ray)
* The Film
“Parasite Memories: The Making of Shivers” 2014 documentary (42:52)
“Shivers” 2008 episode of the CTV television series On Screen!!! (47:37) (1080i 60hz)
“From Stereo to Video” 2014 video essay by Caelum Vatnsdal (26:21)
Promotional Gallery (24 images)
Theatrical Trailer (1:27)

  • Subtitles:English HoH
  • Aspect Ratio:1.78:1
  • Picture Format:1080p 24fps AVC MPEG-4
  • Soundtrack(s):English LPCM 1.0 (48khz/24bit)
  • Case type:Keep Case
  • Notes:All extras are in 1080p, except where noted.
    All extras are in English with no subtitles.
    Comes with a reversible cover featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh.
    Includes a 48-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation website, reprinted excerpts of Cronenberg on Cronenberg and more, illustrated with original archive stills and posters
    Also available in a Steelbook.
    Original pressing was Region B-locked and used the cut R-rated version (87:27 without Lionsgate and Restoration credits). Replacement program began in April 2016, though the older version was never recalled, and could still be in circulation.
    Corrected discs have “2nd Pressing” printed on the disc label and are Region ALL despite the disc label & packaging stating Region B only.

DVD/BR facts from DVDCompare.

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