Film Review: THE BROOD (1979)

IMDb: The Brood (1979)
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle

So…David Cronenberg is the freakin’ man. I feel like most people already know this, but some need a reminder. So if you are a younger reader and you haven’t heard of Cronenberg, you need to go watch as many of his films as possible right now. I think he is one of the most important directors out there. It isn’t just from pure talent either. As a horror connoisseur, I’m not sure there is any other director responsible for as many WTF scenes in film history. Very few directors strive towards creating new and original visuals every time they make a film. Cronenberg, amazingly enough, does this with regularity. He constantly uses his own unique vision to provide the viewer a horrific glimpse into the insane worlds that he creates. So while it is famous scenes from Scanners, Existenz, Videodrome, and The Fly that will make people remember this amazing director; I want to talk about one of his best all-around films, The Brood.

In his horror films, he has shocked audiences with horrific transformative visual effects, exploding heads, and dreamlike death scenes. In films like History of Violence and Eastern Promises, he shows us that he can even create gut wrenching violence and stunning visuals in “real-world” settings. The more I think about Cronenberg, the more amazed I am at the fact that a single director can be so fresh every time he gets behind the camera. What truly blows my mind is the fact that he is still, after a million years, somewhat of a cult figure. Hopefully, someday he will be in the conversation with Kubrick, Scorcese, and the greats.

I mention the “greats” because you just don’t hear his name come up when people are talking about the famous auteurs. I am going to say that he is one of the most important auteurs, because he takes entire films to another level. So while, he will be known for certain iconic scenes; he must be remembered for everything he has done in his works. He has created unique worlds and original storylines every single time he has stepped behind the camera. He has also used great music in a very effective manner, and pulled many great performances out of actors that aren’t huge stars.

So now, we cover The Brood. I took a look at this film because I feel like it gets overlooked. Everyone always wants to talk about Scanners and The Fly. Then you get the cult guys that want to talk about Videodrome and Existenz. Now don’t get me wrong, that is a bad-ass list of films. I just think it is too easy. I’m not going to necessarily dig into the depths of his filmography and talk about Rabid; but, I think this choice falls somewhere between his films that everyone has watched and the ones that no one has seen.

The Brood was released in 1979. It has some actors whose filmographies may be recognizable to experts of this time period, but they’re not overly famous. The actors are strange when they need to be, convincingly serious at appropriate times, and very frightening when need be. As someone who watched this film one time, fifteen years ago, I revisited it this week to a very pleasant surprise. I was insanely impressed by how the actors in this film made me feel. It was truly an experience.

Aside from the acting, Cronenberg’s amazing directing talent will blow you away when you watch this film. He has had a knack, throughout his career, for mixing horror and sci-fi together in a way connects to real-world situations. This film deals with psychology and medical science. It also deals with horror imagery that you would only find in the most extreme films today. If you don’t believe me, wait until that lady gives birth to her own mutated baby. Her mutations alone are pretty crazy, so when she starts pulling stuff out of herself and licking it, you will be disgusted. If you have seen films that deal with vile gore involving babies, you may need to take notice of this film. It could have influenced movies like A Serbian Film or Slow Torture Puke Chamber. Before we go too far, however, I need you to know that I am only comparing specific scenes. Some people may hate me for not putting Lucifer Valentine into the same category as Cronenberg. To those people, I say…sorry, not sorry.

As the film progresses, the sci-fi and the horror mount to an excellent conclusion. The scary kids that have been running around killing the adults are pretty creepy. Watching them get shot up is a little disturbing though. Even though they are evil kids, it’s uncomfortable seeing kids getting their chests blown out. Aside from disturbances of a horrific nature, he creates them on a psychological level too. For instance, it is even more disturbing to see the reaction of the regular kids after their teacher has been bludgeoned to death right in front of them. I hope I am not creating too many spoilers, but I’m excited about this film. If you are going to be a pussy about minor spoilers, you are probably too much of a pussy to watch this movie anyway.

So if you want a film that will blow you away from a visual, musical (I forgot to mention the awesome score), directoral, and acting standpoint, you need to watch this. It is one of the originators of the scary kid genre (if that’s not a real thing by now, it should be), the true horror/sci-fi amalgamation, and extreme gore effects. This is a 5/5, must-own, amazing film that everyone needs to have in their collection.

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