Starliner Towers is just another highrise apartment building until something terrible begins to go wrong. A terrifying parasite has taken hold, infecting everyone. Normal people are becoming deranged, committing uncontroll... more »able acts of mindless violence. There's nowhere to hide and no escape from the terror.« less
"One of my favorite Cronenberg films...raw, low-budget fun. HOWEVER, the DVD has pixelization and artifacting. It's not the worst I've seen, but it is annoying. I suggest buying the VHS version from Anchor Bay instead...clear, crisp and perfect. IMAGE ENT should take more care in their DVD releases if they want to compete with the majors. Disappointing."
A CREEPY CRONENBERG CATASTROPHE-David's 1st Feature Film
Sheila Chilcote-Collins | Collinswood, Van Wert, OH USA | 04/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no doubt in my mind, by watching/reading many interviews with David Cronenberg & viewing everything that he has created thus far that David is a "very special boy". Cronenberg has the kind of imagination, lunacy, & repression to really create the kind of visuals in films that once you view them, you never forget. Cronenberg's 1st feature film, "Shivers", does just that. Filmed on a shoestring budget during 15 hectic days of production in Canada, this film tells the story of a doctor/madman that develops a parasite to live in human beings, take over their intelligence, morals (social & spiritual) & of course, their physical body, & transforms them into oversexed, libertine, bi-sexual cretin beings.The film is set in and on an exclusive & elite island compound in Canada. The compound has everything one would ever need. A grocery, a drugstore, tennis courts, olympic sized swimming pool, doctor's & dentist offices, room service. The compound includes everything that your little heart desires, plus an extra surprise of parasites roaming in air vents, plumbing, & elevators that resemble a strange cross between a giant,slimy garden slug, a small phallic symbol and a smokey-link breakfast sausage.This is definitely a catastrophic/end of the world type movie because as the film and the parasites progress to all the inhabitants of the island, there really is only one conclusion...Of course, I won't give away the ending, but for anyone who enjoys films like Night Of The Living Dead, Outbreak, Dawn Of The Dead, 28 Days, or genre films that feature zombies/animals/mutants/disease taking over the entire world, you will enjoy this movie. Happy Watching!"
They're in the Mood for Love...
Dark Mechanicus JSG | Fortified Bunker, USSA | 07/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like all ultra-luxury urban high-rises, and every single square inch of Manhattan real estate, the Starliner Towers has a problem: a Bug problem.
Shot on a shoestring budget and in a whirlwind 15 days in Montreal, "Shivers" (also known as "They Came from Within") is Canadian horror visionary and all-around Creepy Guy David Cronenberg's astounding, jaw-dropping little gem about the end of the world, in which humanity doesn't go out with a Bang or a Whimper, but more of a Moan.
But let's get something out of the way right now: David Cronenberg is a genius and, for my money, one of the top 3 horror film directors *ever*. And while it's certainly useful to view "Shivers" as a preview of coming attractions---without a doubt, it's amazing what the young Cronenberg was able to pull off under severe budgetary, time, and talent limitations---the movie stands on its own as a ground-breaking little nugget of unflinching grue that burrows under your skin and truly disturbs.
Things break down quickly in "Shivers", which is about a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, and the terrible toll it takes on the residents of a luxury island apartment complex outside Montreal---and from there the world.
The film's mad scientist (a nice turn by Fred Doederlein, who pops up again as the yoga master in "Scanners") wants to produce designer parasites that can be introduced into a body, devour a failing organ, and 'become' that organ, thus helping its host at the cost of a little blood.
But wouldn't ya know it, his first experiment Annabelle(a fetching Kathy Graham) refuses to play along with the Doc's good intentions, chiefly because the parasite has two complications: 1)within a few hours it turns its victim's mind to mush, and 2)it also has the unfortunate side-effect of making the subject a ravening sexual psychopath.
In the fim's shocking opening sequences, the Good Doctor brutally tries to abort his little extracurricular activity, but Annabelle has been a popular girl around the Starliner apartments, and faster than you can say "sick building syndrome" the little parasites, which look like a phallic combination of extra-large garden slug and Jimmy Dean sausage, are going a-roving through the apartment building in search of victims.
And faster than the tenants can say "the check's in the mail", they've been converted into a legion of slug-infested serial rapists looking for love in all the wrong places.
It may very well have been that Cronenberg's limitations forced him to adopt a style that was so sterile, brutal, and overlit that the film couldn't help being brutal and startling: from an infected old woman groaning from behind her door to a startled delivery man "I'm hungry...for LOVE", to an avid slug crawling up an elderly lady's walker, to the horrible death of Dr. Lenski, to the wicked elevator infection scene, to the part where screen goddess Barbara Steele is infected by one of the nasty parasites *in her bathtub* (ewww!), Cronenberg keeps up the pressure and ratchets the horror level up so high you feel your brain will pop. You haven't seen ghoulishly creepy until you've watched Allan Colman pleading and talking with a nest of parasites that have been setting up shop in his stomach. Grisly stuff.
Technically this is an average DVD. It could very well be that the movie was shot in a 1:33:1 aspect ratio, in which case the full-screen format is appropriate, but the sound here is atrocious. The extras here, including a theatrical trailer and an illuminating, goofy interview with Cronenberg, are pretty spare, so let's hope someone gets around to releasing this creepshow with the quality treatment it deserves.
Yes, "Shivers" foreshadows a deliciously cringe-inducing career---but for sheer skin-crawling nastiness, it has yet to be surpassed.
Slugs and sex
J. Maniscalco | NC | 10/03/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For those of you that like Cronenberg movies, you won't be disappointed. This is an earlier film by this director. It has the usuals that you would expect from this director: lots of sexually oriented material and wierdness. I did enjoy this movie, but mostly because it was silly and easy to laugh at. The acting is poor, and the plot is your usual Cronenberg wierdness. It has the feel of many of the zombie movies, altough with sex instead of explicit gore (ie. Zombie, Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, etc). If you like Cronenberg movies, this is a must see. If you don't know how you feel about him, move on to something else."
Cronenberg's grotesque first film
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 02/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Every once in awhile I like to watch a David Cronenberg film. I have seen several at this point, from his earliest stuff like "Rabid" to his seminal reworking of "The Fly" starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. One thing you will always get from a Cronenberg film is a serious look at how technology and human beings interact. Like science fiction author J.G. Ballard, Cronenberg's films embrace a synthesis of man and machine that is exceedingly grim, an outlook usually complimented with generous helpings of gore. The overarching theme in his cinematic examinations seems to be that humans simply do not know enough about the technology they develop, or if they do, their arrogance in the ultimate abilities of mankind always leads them charging into experiments despite the risks. That we are just not far seeing enough to predict the outcome of using new drugs or messing around with human genetics may be a good message to take from a Cronenberg film. "Shivers" is Cronenberg's first major motion picture, and it is quite an auspicious beginning for the Canadian director. This film isn't great, not compared to some of Cronenberg's later magnum opuses, but it showed just enough promise to merit attention from Hollywood.It's the wonderful 1970s in "Shivers," a time when fancy high-rise residences went up offering prospective tenants all the amenities. The Starliner, an apartment building situated on an isolated island somewhere in Canada, is one of these luxurious projects. The building offers everything for modern living--including a parasite that turns people into raving sex maniacs. Yep, you heard right. "Shivers" is about a bunch of poor souls undergoing painful invasions from nasty looking creatures that feed off their host in particularly vicious ways. The problem starts when a quack seeking funding for a radical new medical procedure experiments with the idea of replacing failed organs with an engineered parasite that will take over a particular organ's function. He introduces his repulsive creation into the body of a young girl living in the Starliner with the intention of monitoring how well his idea works, but things quickly go awry. It turns out that this young lady is quite popular with many of the male residents in the building, leading to the rapid spread of the parasite. At first nothing much happens to those people infected with the bug. There might be a fit or two of coughing, a general lethargy might set in, but after a few hours the psychoses set in. When it does, it is already much too late to stop the nightmare from spreading through the Starliner. Women, men, children--no one is immune from the horrific effects of this parasite.The hero of "Shivers" is the physician at the Starliner, a man with little idea of the horrors he will soon combat as the parasite infects his patients. Aided by his loyal nurse (played by Lynn Lowry), the doctor soon finds himself hunted down by the insane residents as the late stages of the infection set in. The best plan of action is to get out of the building, which isn't as easy as it sounds since the Starliner purposely set out to provide an isolated atmosphere for its tenants. Throw in packs of ravenous loonies prowling the vast corridors of the building looking for fresh meat, and you can see the complications inherent in a run for freedom. The doctor must shoot and bludgeon to death several of his former patients just to stay alive for a few more minutes. As his panic grows, as his movements through the madhouse become increasingly erratic, he witnesses one nightmare after another. His nurse falls prey to the parasite, he sees children panting and crawling about like dogs, and he encounters a father and daughter in a mind-shattering situation. The conclusion to the film is what you would expect from a Cronenberg film--bleak, with little hope for a positive outcome.You can tell "Shivers" is low budget fare, but Cronenberg uses what he has to great effect. The central idea of the film, that modern people seeking isolation from the larger population will fall flat on their faces, works because it doesn't require big budget set pieces. Heck, the director didn't even need big stars. Joe Silver, who did a turn in the director's next film appears here as a doctor on the outside who learns about the infection and pays a bloody price for his knowledge. Barbara Steele plays a small part as a single woman named Betts. The rest of the cast is unfamiliar but effective. Sure, some of the effects are slightly cheesy, the editing isn't all that great, but this movie stays with you. You can almost hear some Hollywood big shot saying to Cronenberg after watching the film, "Yeah, this part could have been better. Yeah, you should have done this instead of that. But kid, you got promise and we're going to keep an eye on you." Let's be thankful someone gave Cronenberg a chance to follow up on "Shivers."I thought the DVD edition of the film was good. There's a twenty-one minute interview with Cronenberg where the director talks about his film experiences. I thought he came off as funny and self-effacing, explaining how he knew almost nothing about what a director did on a bigger budget film, how he had to help an actress prepare for crying scenes by slapping her face, and his experiences with Barbara Steele. His recollections concerning his panic over getting shots right should reassure beginning filmmakers that the only way to improve as a director is to dive right in. This interview serves as a sort of mini-commentary for the film and I appreciated its inclusion on the disc. Give "Shivers" a shot if you like horror movies."