A critically-injured woman, victim of a motorcycle accident, is taken to the plastic surgery clinic of Doctor Dan Keloid, where some of her intact tissue is treated to become “morphogenetically neutral”. The tissue is grafted to fire-damaged areas of her body in the hope that it will differentiate and replace the damaged skin and organs. The woman’s body unexpectedly accepts the transplants, developing an orifice under an armpit, within which hides a phallic stinger. She uses it to feed on the blood of other people and afterwards erasing their memories of the incident. It soon is apparent that her every victim transforms into a rabid zombie whose bite spreads the disease. This eventually causes the city to fall into chaos before the outbreak can be contained.
David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father was a journalist, and his mother was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early age (he wrote and published eerie short stories, thus following his father’s path) and for music (playing classical guitar until he was 12), Cronenberg graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Literature after switching from the science department. He reached the cult status of horror-meister with the gore-filled, modern-vampire variations of Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), following an experimental apprenticeship in independent filmmaking and in Canadian television programs.
Cronenberg gained popularity with the head-exploding, telepathy-based Scanners (1981) after the release of the much underrated, controversial, and autobiographical The Brood (1979). Cronenberg become a sort… read more
Let the dread truth be told: morphogenetic neutrality is a lie! Of course, the news has come too late, the plague's work is complete, and putting Marilyn Chambers out with the trash is a merely symbolic gesture. Connections among putative self-improvement through science, sexual license, and the accidental unleashing of dark forces "from within," so typical of early Cronenberg, are drawn here with frothing ferocity.
Brian Bennett’s piece of music used in Cronenberg’s film is hypnotic, unnerving, minimal, and with just a whisper of cold, sterile futurism.