There are many horror films that turn millions of dollars into pretty much nothing -- Pulse, FearDotCom, Virus -- and there are also, conversely, horror films that turn pretty much no dollars into pretty much nothing -- Cabin Fever, Cube and many more. One of my favorite scary movies, though -- and an infamous example of how low budgets don't have to mean lowered tension -- is David Cronenberg's Shivers (aka The Parasite Murders or They Came From Within). It's Cronenberg's first full-length film; released in 1975, it was made in part with Canadian tax-subsidized arts funding, leading to a superbly inflammatory headline about the movie from Canadian journalist Robert Fulford: "You Should Know How Bad This Movie Is; After All, You Paid For It."

Fulford was probably reacting to the fact that Shivers is an impossibly disturbing horror flick -- one I describe as " ... having a thousand dollar budget and a billion dollars worth of crazy." It's one of those rare movies where the economy of the production doesn't make the movie shabby, but, rather, exceptional: Taking place mostly within the confines of the Starliner apartment complex in Montreal, Shivers opens with a smooth detached voice explaining the Starliner's amenities over a slideshow: Located on its own island, yet close to Montral proper; restaurants, shops and even a doctor are all available for the residents; the building is close to modern life, yet oh, so far away. And the hair on your neck stands up just a little touch. ...
categories Cinematical