I don't know how intentionally Cronenberg cultivated The Brood's super-awkward mix of deeply awful things like generational trauma/abuse with an almost slapstick hilarity... But the film ends up being WAY more disturbing for the feeling of manic derangement it brings to the (already legit disturbing) story than for the story itself. Uncomfortably funny/not funny. Prescient/sad insights on epigenetic heritability. 4.5
Despite it's madness, excess, and foundational bedrock of derangement, The Brood has always struck me as being the only Cronenberg horror film that is fundamentally about basically regular people w/ basically regular problems. This idea of the manifestation of rage within the flesh and out in the world (by way of the flesh), is linked to real concerns about how we fail to love, and pass on our trauma like our genes.
This is one of the scariest movies I've seen in a while. Cronenberg's penchant for body horror always provides for plenty of squirming and stomach churning fun. I love his obsession with bodily conspiracies and his fear of female domination. But I wonder if it's a good thing that I can relate to his movies? It's questionable. God, I would hate to have those deformed demon midgets for kids.
"The Brood was my version of Kramer Vs. Kramer. I was really trying to get to the reality, with a capital R, which is why I have disdain for Kramer. I think it's false, fake, candy... [The Brood is] as close to literal autobiography as I've ever come. I hope I don't come that close again." There's a potent rawness to Cronenberg's personal catharsis and Eggar's visceral performance (shot in just 3 days!) is scalding.
Cronenberg truly begins to grow as a filmmaker, unlike his previous films the bodily horrors aren't viruses that simply need to be contained but manifestations of mankind's inherit darkness that are always potential threats. Really with it's metaphysical implications it's the closest Cronenberg's come to a supernatural horror film.