(David Cronenberg, Canada 1975, 87 min., DCP)
Birth of Body Horror: Early Works of David Cronenberg. Will they never learn? Playing god triggers the apocalypse once again, when scientists implanting patients with “helpful” parasites with the hope that they will function as replacements for diseased organs. This being a Cronenberg film, it goes without saying this bright idea quickly goes from bad to cataclysmic when the parasites begin unleashing the ravenous libidos in their hosts, who then spread the slimy, slug-like creatures through sexual contact. Cronenberg’s original title, Orgy of the Blood Parasites, neatly sums up the venereal mayhem that ensues when the parasites settle into their ideal host colony: an isolated high-rise housing complex filled with ’70s swingers. With horror/exploitation icons Barbara Steele and Lynn Lowry in supporting roles, this early shocker is Cronenberg at his rawest, and with all the trademark body-horror obsessions that would drive much of his later, sleeker work already in place.
Exceptional screening of a recent TIFF digital restoration