To start off my Horror-ween month of horror movies, I am going back to some of the classics that defined the horror genre as we know it. So the first movie that I am reviewing is David Cronenberg’s Shivers aka Orgy of the Blood Parasites.
Now before I get into this review I just wanna say, whenever you sit down to a Cronenberg film you don’t get what you expect. He likes to push the envelope with his movies like The Fly remake, Videodrome, The Brood & even Scanners. He likes to give you visual gore that makes you feel uneasy and creeped out. He also uses that tactic to make an amazing story that unfolds before your very eyes.
So we start this movie with a doctor named Dr. Emil Hobbes. He is performing weird experiments with parasites for use in transplants. He believes people have lost their way with their instincts when it comes to their flesh. The doctor soon infects a woman who becomes too uncontrollable and he strangles her to death, next he uses acid to burn the body to kill the parasite. He does this because he knows he made a mistake that could infect the world. This parasite is a combination of aphrodisiac and venereal disease, which, once the host is infected, it drives them to have an uncontrollable sexual desire that wont stop. After he kills the woman, he commits suicide but not knowing part of the parasite got away to infect others .
The parasite soon infects Nicholas Tudor and we start to see he’s suffering from stomach problems and doesn’t know why. The bodies of the doctor and the woman are then found by the police and taken back to the morgue for testing. Once they start testing the blood of these two people they find strange things going on, things that could infect the whole city. From there we see Nicholas start to change, getting darker in mood and the parasite starts taking over his body. All while this is happening, more of the parasites are infecting others in very gory and creepy ways. Another doctor named St Luc soon finds out what is going on and tries to stop it from going further, knowing it wont take long to infect the whole city because the parasite moves fast through it’s victims.
I haven’t seen the movie in a while and I gotta say, the creepiness and gore goes a long way to make you feel uneasy. This movie is also very hyper-sexual and has a few scenes that stay with you after the movie is over. One of my favorite scenes in this movie involves Barbara Steele, she takes a bath and relaxing when one of the parasites come up from the drain. It swims right up into her, you know where I am going with that and it’s terrifying if you ask me. The look on her face afterwards is priceless. When finally the parasite infects enough victims, it pretty much becomes a highly sexual orgy of zombie type individuals. These infected hosts start to swarm over victims to keep the infection going by any means necessary. One thing I did love about this movie though is that there’s no happy ending. The ending leaves the viewer seeing that the parasites have won and infection of the whole city is underway. There’s also nothing that anyone can do about it.
Now I liked this movie because I am a fan of Cronenberg’s, whenever he makes a movie he comes with ideas of originality. You will always walk away thinking about what you just saw, also thinking about how crazy the visuals are. In my opinion though, I don’t think this film holds up to today’s standards but did leave an impact on the horror genre. This movie is one horror fans will either love or hate, I didn’t hate this movie but I didn’t love it either. I give this film 3 skulls out of 5.
My last thought on this film is this – If you wanna see a twisted bizarre film that will creep you out then give this a watch. This movie is worth checking out just to see Cronenberg’s early work. If you like his style of film making, then definitely check out Rabid or Videodrome next because those movies are just as bizarre.