Culture Magazine

Shivers (1975)

By Newguy

logoDirector: David Cronenberg

Writer: David Cronenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik

Plot: The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Messy, Practical Effects Horror Film

Story: Shivers starts by advertising the building Starlight apartment where our film is going to be set. We see a family coming to stay at the hotel while also watching an older man strangling a school girl. The man then performs some kind of operation on the passed out girl before killing himself. We meet some of the residents Nicolas (Kolman) who has been meeting the girl from the beginning and finds her body, we also meet the doctor of the building Roger St Luc (Hampton).

We learn that the man from the start has been working on the idea of creating a parasite that could be used to replace organ transplants. When one of the parasites gets loose in the building, it starts looking for a new host making anyone in the building a potential victim. Before long the building is overrun by sex crazed maniacs trying to spread the parasite.

Shivers is a film from one of the best directors in the business David Cronenberg and when you see his name you are looking to be watching something bizarre to say the least. The does fall into that category but in the end the story telling side of it becomes very lost in translation. My main problems would that we meet a couple thinking they will be the main characters and they just disappear into the background. We do tackle the idea of scientist going too far which is all good for the genre we are handling but instead of making a strong story we end up with a film more interested in its special effects. (3/10)

Actor Review

Paul Hampton: Roger St Luc doctor of the building who is investigating what has happened in the building as it may well be related to the work of a former work colleague. Paul doesn’t look like the strong leading man and never really takes charge when needed to. (2/10)

Joe Silver: Rollo Linsky the research partner of the man behind the outbreak who has to team up with Roger to try and solve the problem. Joe is the information guy filling us in on all what is going on but again doesn’t add anything with his performance. (2/10)

Support Cast: Shivers has a large cast that are all forgettable because we only have a couple of scenes to learn who they are before they turn.

Director Review: David Cronenberg – You can see David’s work all over this film and the early ideas he had for practical effects. Though this film isn’t ever going to be considered his best. (4/10)

Horror: Shivers puts out all the horror elements of blood and gore throughout the film. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: Shivers show sus what could happen with scientific experimentation going wrong. (7/10)

Settings: Shivers creates an isolated location for the film to be set in. (7/10)
Special Effects
: Shivers uses very good practical effects throughout especially when you see the budget. (7/10)

Suggestion: Shivers is one for the fans of the great man to watch, I simply can’t recommend this to all horror fans though. (Cronenberg Fans Watch)

Best Part: Practical Effects.

Worst Part: Storyline.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Slither

Budget: CAS 179,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

Tagline: Going MAD is just the beginning.

Trivia: Canadian journalist Robert Fulford attacked the content of “Shivers” in the pages of the national magazine “Saturday Night.” Since Cronenberg’s film was partially financed by the taxpayer-funded National Film Board of Canada (or NFB), Fulford headlined the article “You Should Know How Bad this Movie Is: You Paid for It.” Not only did this high-profile attack make it more difficult for Cronenberg to obtain funding for his subsequent movies, Cronenberg later said that Fulford’s attack also resulted in him being kicked out of his Toronto apartment.

Overall: Shivers shows what you can make with small budget, a messy no direction film that still gets talked about today.



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