A scientist who is studying various and new ways of organ transplants kills his young mistress before turning the knife on himself. A parasite he had been studying is let loose within an apartment complex turning those it infects into sex crazed zombies.
Coming to blu-ray is David Cronenberg’s debut Shivers, or They Came from Within or Orgy of Blood Parasites. The movie which began Cronenberg’s career and the theme of blending sex and horror together. A movie where zombies prefer a bit of nookie than brains. Be warned though, this isn’t the comedy horrors such as Lesbian Vampire Killers or Zombie Strippers. Shivers is a bleak and often times disturbing ride with one or two chuckles in between. From the opening scene we get our mad scientist attacking his mistress and dousing her with acid before slicing his own throat.
Slowly the horrible looking leech/slug parasite is let loose and starts infecting the people who live in the block of apartments. One guy vomits it from the balcony onto his neighbour’s umbrella. Then it passes onto a woman who is having a bath, how? Let’s put it this way, you will never have a bubble bath the same way again. As you can imagine for a first time director working on a budget, some of the scenes drag and the performances fall a bit flat. However, during the director’s early years, gore and horror was what he was known for, not performances, which would come later with the excellent History of Violence and Eastern Promises. The movie’s third act is then kicked up a few notches with an orgy of sorts which reminded me of that age old car wreck analogy. It’s horrifying but you can’t help but watch.
As for the special features, the Blu-ray disc has both HD and SD versions of the film as well as a making of documentary and an excerpt from a Canadian Television show with cast and crew interviews. A video essay by Caelum Vatnsdal, who wrote a book on Canadian Horror films, as well as subtitles, mono audio, artwork and a collectors booklet.
- New High Definition Digital Transfer supervised and approved by writer-director David Cronenberg
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Parasite Memories: The Making of Shivers – A brand new documentary featuring interviews with stars Barbara Steele, Allan Kolman and Lynn Lowry, special effects genius Joe Blasco and film critic Kier-La Janisse
- On Screen! – An episode of the Canadian television programme which documents the release history of Shivers, featuring interviews with Cronenberg, co-producer Don Carmody, as well as other cast and crew
- From Stereo to Video – A specially-commissioned video essay by Caelum Vatnsdal, author of They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema, charting Cronenberg’s career from his experimental beginnings through to Videodrome, his first major studio picture
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh
- Collector’s Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation website, reprinted excerpts of Cronenberg on Cronenberg and more, illustrated with original archive stills and posters
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
Running Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: 13th October 2014