Monday, December 9, 2013

The Brood

If you like early Cronenberg (and if you don't, you are probably at the wrong blog) then this is a movie you should see, because it is early Cronenberg. It's not exactly a secret, but it's probably an easy one to miss. It slides right under the radar because it's not as popular as Scanners, not as weird as Videodrome and not as Viggo Mortensen as Eastern Promises. 

In The Brood, lots of people get beaten to death with blunt objects (primarily mallets) by weird mutant albino children who seem to be distant cousins of Chaka. 
At least Chaka had teeth and sexual organs. So you know he was a fun date.

Melodrama (or psychodrama, specifically, Psychoplasmics) and body horror abound, and everyone needs a new hairstyle. (See: Early Cronenberg.)

But this film does also contain some really great, disturbing scenes that make it one of the more memorable horror films of the late 70s. Cronenberg was well on his way to becoming a weirdo icon with this one. It might be the first film of his classic era (which ends with Spider, I'd say).
Don't eat the baby.
Oliver Reed turns in a brilliantly bombastic performance, as usual. And it's fun to pretend the little blonde girl in this movie is Carol Anne from Poltergeist. Make a riffing game out of it by quoting classic lines from that franchise. Drink if they don't make any sense in the context of the Brood.
You have something on your face, grandma.

Shockingly, the blood in this film is as tomato-red as any typical 70s schlock, and there is zero attempt to make any of the blunt trauma wounds look realistic. You'd think that might have occurred to Cronenberg, but he certainly puts in a lot of effort into other weirder effects. Like lymphatic chin tumors and boil babies.
Give us better make-up, father!

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