13 August 2009


Canada - 1978
Director - David Cronenberg

Anchor Bay Entertainment, 1998, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 50 min.

Avalanche Home Entertainment, 19??, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 31 min.

Personally, I think this is one of Cronenberg's best films with the possible exception of course of Videodrome. It plays on the fear of rapid social modernization in the massive and ominously silent apartment block where anything could be happening behind any given door. It invokes the mystery of modern medical science and unethical practices and the horror that ensues when they are unleashed without testing. And finally the fear of mass society and the unpredictability of completely anonymous and unacquainted individuals in a spatially intimate society.
Simply, Shivers tells us that the things that are the most frightening are those that are closest to us.

The DVD of Shivers was a short lived phenomenon which although still available online from private sellers, is generally unafordable (for me anyway) and is only 1 hour 27 min! But there are several VHS versions still out there that are worth checking out if you love this movie as much as I do. I found the Avalanche release just a few days ago for 2 dollars and picked it up just for the interview with Cronenberg. Strangely the running time is still 19 minutes shorter than the Anchor Bay tape. I assume the shorter time doesn't include the interview. The Anchor Bay version, while missing the interview, does have a nice reverse insert and those extra 19 minutes. Coincidentally, the woman in the photo at the bottom right of the insert is Joan Blackman who was Elvis' love interest in Kid Galahad which co-starred Lord Charles Bronson.

One of the best horror movies of the last 5 years, Slither (2006) took some good ideas from Shivers, not the least of which was its cover image. Sadly Slither did very poorly at the box-office which just means that the general public are fools.

Watch a Shivers trailer at Cult Trailers.


Anonymous said...

Liked Shivers a lot. I recently sold the DVD on ebay for close to $50.

Seth J G Goodkind said...

Yeah, that's always been my issue with collectors pricing, fewer people get to see what I think are good movies worthy of recognition.

Jay Clarke said...

Nice! Never seen that top cover before.