David Cronenberg has been delighting and terrifying audiences for decades with his brand of film making. In honor of his birthday here’s five instances where he blew our minds and left us begging for more. This list could have included every film that he’s ever made in my opinion but I chose to limit the list to five.
5. Videodrome: The new flesh is even more realistic in this day and age which makes the film all the more terrifying. With fantastical FX work mixed with surreal performances from all involved and led by James Woods and Debbie Harry, Videodrome is a film that will continue to haunt and astound audiences for generations to come.
4. Naked Lunch: William S. Burroughs is an author whose work was thought to be unfilmable. Not so if the man responsible is David Cronenberg. This was David’s first major excursion out of the horror realm that he had dominated and proved that the Canuck was a force to be reckoned with outside of the genre as well. Pro tip for viewing this film don’t take a mass amount of psychedelics before watching it in a theater full of people.
3. A History of Violence: With one of the best ensemble casts that I’ve seen in recent memory, David crafted a film that appealed to genre and non genre fans alike while also winning over critics worldwide and even coaxed an Oscar nominated performance out of William Hurt with minimal screen time. The multiple levels of the human and family psyche that this film plays on showed that Croenberg mind games of ole could translate to mainstream audiences.
2. Nightbreed: David took on a role outside of directing for Nightbreed and showed that his acting talents could strike terror in audiences just as well as his films could. David’s performance as Dr. Philip K. Decker is a masterpiece of true psychosis and one that fans around the globe hoped would revisited. Someone please cast David in a film with this quality type character again. It’s impossible to go to a horror convention these days and not see at least one Dr. Decker roaming the halls.
1. Scanners: This was a no brainer….. Scanners is a perfect example of vintage Cronenberg and the themes that his films represent. The iconic head explosion scene alone has inspired countless FX artists and filmmaker’s the world over. Since the rise of social media in the past few years there has been an enormous presence of the exploding head scene as a meme and gif by people who most likely haven’t even seen the entire film. Add in the mad man performance by Michael Ironside and you have a film that will long outlive us all and continue to inspire and awe viewers.
Here’s to David celebrating many more years on this planet and continuing to provide us all with films that astound, turn the stomach, and provoke the mind.