When it comes to the sub-genre of ‘body horror,’ Canadian director David Cronenberg is the undisputed master. If you’re searching for (further) irrefutable proof, check out the genre legend’s 1979 flick, The Brood. Released in between the director’s gangbuster early efforts Shivers and Rabid and Cronenberg’s breakout work with Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone and The Fly, The Brood remains a cult classic and fan favorite, while also serving as a great starting point for those interested in beginning their exposure to the kooky Canadian filmmaker.
Starring Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle and the legendary Hammer Horror star Oliver Reed, The Brood is a twisted, psychological tale of dependency, abuse and mental issues of the highest order. Reed portrays controversial therapist Hal Raglan, whose latest experiments on what he calls ‘psychoplasmics’-where patients’ traumatic memories provoke physiological changes to their bodies according to the nature of their emotions-has found a willing and troubled subject in the form of Eggar’s character of Nora, who is embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her husband Frank.
Without giving away too much of the plot, Raglan’s idea of ‘therapy’ has many disastrous, and fatal, consequences to all of those involved—even peripherally—with the lives of Frank and Nora, aiding the creation of an abominable group of murderous creatures who follow the emotionally unstable whims of Nora and her magazine stack of issues. Naturally, most of these murder follow Cronenberg’s noted penchant for the visually disturbing and bloody disgusting, evoking a series of ‘Ewww…what the FUCK?!?’ moments on more than one occasion.
Obsessed with disease, dependency and biological destruction, The Brood is just one example of how David Cronenberg’s twisted visions of how we live our lives serves up some mighty fine celluloid. Aided by Howard Shore’s suitably dark score—this was Shore’s film composing debut—The Brood is one creepy, disturbing ride which definitely deserves your attention.