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Horror > The Brood (David Cronenberg)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments The last two Cronenberg films have made my year end Top Ten lists. I'm now busy watching his older horror films that have slipped under my radar all these years. I see Roeg's (and Du Maurier's)influence both thematically (a couple split apart psychologically, their physical suffering),visually (the dwarf in the red coat), the stranger (the two old women seem to grab Laura's soul versus the Psychiatrist who subsumes Nola) and the toll it imparts upon the family. But Cronenberg uses this as only a template to build his own vision, to tell this gruesome story that I highly recommend.

THE BROOD (David Cronenberg, 1979, Canada) Homage to Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW: inspired by labyrinthine alleyways and murky canals of Venice to the inner demons of anguish and guilt, stalks the tiny deformed killer in a red jacket, one of a demented progeny born of their mother’s primal rage. Writer/Director David Cronenberg takes us on a journey through the looking glass and into the bloody tangled womb of horror, where the inner child dwells, abused and enraged, where it is birthed into a cruel world without consent and imbued with a survival instinct that transcends moral boundary. A terrible custody battle between Frank and Nola leads to this brutal conflict, as her childhood trauma (both imagined and real?) is born into flesh and blood offspring who carry out her sadistic desires. She is kept isolated at a retreat while undergoing Psychoplasmics: a counseling technique that is ultimately responsible because it’s not a cure, only an exacerbation of her condition. Cronenberg builds the gruesome tension through sound and editing; each death-scene a grueling exercise in suspense as we know what’s coming….until he reveals the horror in shocking fashion. The violence is brutal and unforgiving, the effects upon Candice and the other children frighteningly realistic, and this adds an element of vile realism to this brooding narrative. Howard Shore’s eerie score evokes Bernard Herrmann and adds a psychotic pathos to the story, a subliminal thrum that creates frisson by making an ordinary scene unnerving and expectant. When Frank confronts his wife, she reveals a pulsing sac, which expunges its fetid fetus and she licks clean its afterbirth. This is absolutely disgusting, perverse, and genius. Now that his daughter is safe and they drive into the night, Cronenberg cuts to close up on Candice’s arm showing two bulging welts, then extreme close up to her tortured eyes…the window to her soul. (B)


message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5321 comments I haven't seen this in years, I caught it late one night on HBO. I'll add it to my Netflix queue. Thanks for the reminder! I remember one scene being particularly upsetting, set at a school. I won't spoil it, but I really hope they found a way to do the scene that wasn't too emotionally scarring for the kids involved!

I hadn't considered the Roeg connection. Interesting. Now I've got two films to revisit. DON'T LOOK NOW has been on my radar to revisit for a while.


message 3: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I really don't know how they filmed the "School Scene"! I hope they had counselors available on set because my wife and I both looked at each other, shaken, and realized the pure genius of the scene: it played as absolutely realistic.


message 4: by oi ling (new)

oi ling | 23 comments Nice review! I will add The Brood to my list.


message 5: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments yeah, i realized i had never seen this one, and went back and watched it a few months ago. i may have posted a review of it on (good) horror films. like many cronenberg films, it really gets under your skin.


message 6: by oi ling (last edited Feb 18, 2009 10:06AM) (new)

oi ling | 23 comments The Brood is shocking, alarming, nauseating with disturbing social themes about divorce and rage. I enjoyed it, but once will be it for me. Thanks Alex, for the recommendation.


message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments It's like Haneke's FUNNY GAMES...highly recommended but I believe once is enough too:)


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