There’s no reason why I’m counting down my favorite Cronenberg films other than I love his films and it’s my Blog, so why not?
Even if you’ve never seen Scanners, you’ve probably seen the exploding head GIF. That is an awesome scene but Scanners is so much more than exploding heads. The twists and turns of the story, Michael Ironside’s brilliant performance and fascinating ideas, that still today captures the imagination and creates interesting discussions.
As we get closer and closer to Virtual Reality Gaming, eXistenZ is even more relevant in 2016 and the overall theme is more scary than ever before. The performances are fine but what really drives this film is the bizarre designs and the surreal story that will keep you thinking for weeks. eXistenZ isn’t Cronenberg’s best film but it’s probably the best conversation starter.
Videodrome has similar themes to eXistenZ and essentially they’re the same film but for me Videodrome has the more iconic imagery, that has really stuck in my head. Not to mention a great performance from the always awesome James Woods. This film doesn’t completely hold up but I can still look back, appreciate what Cronenberg was doing and respect the visuals he created.
The Dead Zone (1983)
OK, here’s what needs to happen, Netflix’s gets Christopher Walken back and makes the most badass version of Dead Zone ever! Cronenberg’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Dead Zone, is pretty much 3 episodes of a TV show put together to create a feature film runtime but I still want more. This is a great premise and with big name actors coming over to TV more and more, this needs to be rebooted with Walken by someone.
A History of Violence (2005)
Viggo Mortensen and Cronenberg have formed one of the best actor/director pairings, over the last ten years and A History of Violence started that off with a bang. Unlike another film coming up later, I thought A History of Violence made its twist way to obvious and it’s always bothered me. Viggo was great, Ed Harris put in a solid performance but for me Maria Bello stole the show with her powerful portrayal of Viggo’s wife
Now we’re getting to some classic Cronenberg. I love his early work in the 70s, when he was making smart, thought-provoking body horror films, that transcended the genre. Rabid is gross, scary but still maintains a level of sexyness with adult film star Marilyn Chambers in the lead role. I can understand if people find Rabid and the next film on the list, stupid, mindless gorefests but I find them fun and endlessly rewatchable.
Shivers was the feature film debut for David Cronenberg and it’s so much fun! There’s no one particular stand-out performance but the accumulation of all the extras in both this and Rabid, is really a sight to see. Like Rabid, it’s over the top violent, very sexualised (yet still meaningful) and will very quickly turn people away but if you can stomach it, it’s a great ride.
The Fly (1986)
This is probably Cronenberg’s most famous film and is the one almost everyone has seen and it’s still one of the best remakes ever made. You can talk all you want about the grotesque changing of man to fly, the incredible practical effects and Goldblum’s weirdness but what drives this film and what makes it truly work, is the love story it centers around. Goldblum and Geena Davis had great chemistry and their onscreen romance made The Fly, the tragic tale that it is.
The Brood (1979)
The Brood is a hidden gem that I never hear talked about but it’s a spectacular horror film. Oliver Reed in the lead role gave his best performance ever and blows away everyone else in the cast. There’s always a message or political statement in his films (some more subtle than others), so you can never fault Cronenberg for at least trying to add substance and meaning to a genre that most consider to be pointless. The Brood for me is the perfect combination of Cronenberg’s horror writing and a profound statement on society.
Eastern Promises (2007)
So this film is completely different from the majority of Cronenberg’s work and he probably won’t be remembered for the Mob genre but he nailed it with this film. Viggo Mortensen gives an unbelievable performance as a Russian Mobster (seriously, I thought he was Russian after watching this film) and Armin Mueller-Stahl is terrifying as the Mob Boss. I will always find Mafia stories interesting when they’re done right and Eastern Promises is one of the best. The ending will blow you away, if you’ve seen the film you’re still probably in shock and why this film was only nominated for 1 Oscar in 2008, will never make sense to me.
A Dangerous Method
Next Week – Top Ten Films of the 90s