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Starliner Towers is just another highrise apartment building until something terrible begins to go wrong. A terrifying parasite has taken hold, infecting everyone. Normal people are becoming deranged, committing uncontrollable acts of mindless violence. There's nowhere to hide and no escape from the terror.
"If this picture doesn't make you scream and squirm, you should see a psychiatrist--quick!" shouts the film's trailer. This time the hyperbole is right. David Cronenberg's debut feature, and Canada's first domestic horror film, is an ingeniously engineered slasher of thoroughly modern horror that, like George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, charts a social breakdown by tearing through our most intrinsic taboos. A genetically engineered designer parasite--part aphrodisiac, part venereal disease--created by a modern-day mad scientist escapes into a colorless, self-contained apartment complex and goes searching for hosts. This monstrous parasite multiplies and invades the alienated occupants, turning them into a pack of id-driven sex maniacs. Cronenberg's suffocating vision of modern life turns his budgetary limitations--dreary, bland sets, flat lighting, and numb performances--into a severe portrait of society out of touch with its physical and emotional existence. Cronenberg pushed the boundaries of gore in 1974, but more insidious is the way he pushes the boundaries of behavior: under the influence of this invasive disease, families turn to incest and murder, strangers sexually assault the helpless, and finally they band together as a pack of bloodthirsty, libido-driven animals. That taboo-breaking display still has the power to get under your skin. The film has also been released under the titles The Parasite Murders and They Came from Within. Cult horror icon Barbara Steele costars. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The film is set in and on an exclusive & elite island compound in Canada. The compound has everything one would ever need. A grocery, a drugstore, tennis courts, olympic sized swimming pool, doctor's & dentist offices, room service. The compound includes everything that your little heart desires, plus an extra surprise of parasites roaming in air vents, plumbing, & elevators that resemble a strange cross between a giant,slimy garden slug, a small phallic symbol and a smokey-link breakfast sausage.
This is definitely a catastrophic/end of the world type movie because as the film and the parasites progress to all the inhabitants of the island, there really is only one conclusion...
Of course, I won't give away the ending, but for anyone who enjoys films like Night Of The Living Dead, Outbreak, Dawn Of The Dead, 28 Days, or genre films that feature zombies/animals/mutants/disease taking over the entire world, you will enjoy this movie. Happy Watching!
We are given this lovey dovey image of a picturesque block of appartments that really give off this relaxed vibe. But a 17 young girl is spreading a virus unbeknownst to it inhabitants. Immediately we see her being strangled to death by a doctor who then proceeds to cut her open and put highly caustic acids to kill whatever it is that is inside of her. So ashamed of this he then slits his throat.....
These sequences will set you up for the rest of the film. It seems almost eerie how the philosophy works and how deranged they can be at times. More and more people start complaining of this thing that's in their stomach. This leads one randy old man to remark " it feels kinda sexual " to the nurse ( played by the beautiful Lynn Lowry ).
It comes to the stage that there are those who have it outnumber those who haven't and it's more or less just a fight for survival
I won't say more as I feel I might have given too much away but I got this movie a few years back in a second hand shop since at the time anything with Cronenberg was an instantly bought on my part ( I still do the same now but I've got nearly everything ) and when I put this on I felt the same way those trying to survive do. Trapped! I could have turned the video off but I couldn't take my eyes away from it. It was gripping - almost hypnotic to watch. The film shook me so much that I had to watch it again 2 HOURS LATER after it was finished. That has never happened before to me and never since and it was still good when I watched it the second time.
I don't know what else to say about this film but just buy it and see what you think
PS While I'm here I suppose like many other Cronenberg fans would like to see his pre-Shivers experimental movies. Anything he does is worth a look at
But let's get something out of the way right now: David Cronenberg is a genius and, for my money, one of the top 3 horror film directors *ever*. And while it's certainly useful to view "Shivers" as a preview of coming attractions---without a doubt, it's amazing what the young Cronenberg was able to pull off under severe budgetary, time, and talent limitations---the movie stands on its own as a ground-breaking little nugget of unflinching grue that burrows under your skin and truly disturbs.
Things break down quickly in "Shivers", which is about a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, and the terrible toll it takes on the residents of a luxury island apartment complex outside Montreal---and from there the world. The film's mad scientist (a nice turn by Fred Doederlein, who pops up again as the yoga master in "Scanners") wants to produce designer parasites that can be introduced into a body, devour a failing organ, and 'become' that organ, thus helping its host at the cost of a little blood.
But wouldn't ya know it, his first experiment Annabelle(a fetching Kathy Graham) refuses to play along with the Doc's good intentions, chiefly because the parasite has two complications: 1)within a few hours it turns its victim's mind to mush, and 2)it also has the unfortunate side-effect of making the subject a ravening sexual psychopath.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Yes, this is David Cronenberg's first film and it is great considering he's still in training while making it. Read morePublished on April 20 2004 by alex bushman
Every once in awhile I like to watch a David Cronenberg film. I have seen several at this point, from his earliest stuff like "Rabid" to his seminal reworking of "The Fly" starring... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by Jeffrey Leach
...that mr. albert wincoff`s review sucks!! listen, if you are gonna say that someone stole someone's idea, you should compare the dates first: "cities of the red night"... Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2004 by Amazon Customer
Mr Cronenberg a thief? Well, I thought he might have 'borrowed' some ideas from Pasolini's SALO, but it appears they were released around the same time. Read morePublished on May 10 2003 by Gary
the watermellon explosions were a misterious memory till i recently rented this film and realized it was one of the few my family owned when i was a child. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002
Cronenberg is a thief. Who has he robbed you ask? William S. Burroughs. He told on himself when he raped Ol'Bill's novel Naked Lunch by trying to turn it into a film. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2002
Considering this film was made in the 70's it is pretty well done. One gets a claustrophobic feel due to the constriction of the apartment dwelling in which this movie is set. Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2002 by Dr. Freeman
I had read a review of this movie and decided to buy it because it sounded very original. It is original and pretty disturbing to me, but it only marks the beginning of David... Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002