December 12th, 2009

THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1976) ****

They Came from Within may not be the best movie David Cronenberg ever made but it is definitely his most Cronenbergian.  If you want to know what Cronenberg is all about, all you have to do is watch this flick.  It encompasses all of Cronenberg’s major themes:  The body revolting against itself, science running amok, and sterile state of the art Canadian facilities harboring dark secrets.  It also happens to be so fucking disgusting that you’ll want to take a shower immediately after viewing the film.  In short, it’s a must see.

 

It’s basically Night of the Living Sex Maniacs.  Or Dawn of the VD.  Or Day of the Clap. 

 

A demented doctor living in an isolated apartment complex creates a phallic looking parasite that mutates into a sexually transmitted monster.  It hops from host to host turning the denizens of the building into horny sex-crazed zombies who fuck more people, infecting them with the diabolical disease.  It’s up to a handsome physician to stop the virus from spreading; but how can you reason with someone who wants to fuck you and turn you into a sex zombie?

 

Yep folks, we’re talking about the world’s first sex zombie movie here; and it’s probably the finest one ever made.

 

I bet people in the 70’s couldn’t make heads or tails of this movie.  Seeing it through 21st century eyes, it clearly plays like an AIDS allegory.  Of course back then AIDS didn’t exist.  That’s right people, David Cronenberg is so fucked up that he actually predicted AIDS.  How badass can you get?

 

You know, I bet you if they showed They Came from Within in schools instead of the normal filmstrips and told the kids that the sex parasite was a real form of VD; reported cases of STD’s would plummet and the rate of teenage pregnancy would drop significantly. 

 

That’s what makes the flick so resonant.  Cronenberg takes the most pleasurable thing known to man (and woman):  fucking; and makes it deadly.  Honestly, if Barbara Steele was coming my way and wanted the cock; I’d willingly give it to her, even if it meant I’d turn into an orgy-seeking sex zombie.  In my book; that would be a fair trade-off.  I mean, it’s Barbara Freakin’ Steele we’re talking about here people.  Besides, if I was turned into a horndog sex-obsessed zombie; I wouldn’t be much different than I am now.

 

There are just so many gnarly moments of putridness in this movie that it’s hard to keep track.  Like the doctor gutting a female patient then slicing his own throat with a scalpel.  Or the scene where the guy gives his pulsating abdomen parasites a pep talk.  Or when this other guy pulls parasites off of his face with a pair of pliers.  Or when the one dude pukes blood from the balcony onto an old lady’s umbrella down below.  Not to mention the final scene; which happens to be one of the most haunting and unsettling conclusions in horror history.  Of course, my favorite part was when the parasite wiggled it’s way into Barbara Steele’s coochie while she was taking a bath.  Toss in some classic creepy Cronenberg dialogue like “Even old flesh is erotic flesh!” and you’ve got one heck of a great movie.

 

They Came from Within is on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of 1976 list at the Number 7 spot; which puts it below Bloodsucking Freaks and above Drive-In Massacre.

 

AKA:  Frissons.  AKA:  Shivers.  AKA:  The Parasite Murders.