Director David Cronenberg was honored recently at the Provincetown Film Festival with the “Filmmaker on the Edge Award.” The presenter of the award was John Waters, a filmmaker who can really relate to the problems that Cronenberg might have faced in Hollywood. During his acceptance speech, Cronenberg said that he takes it as a compliment when someone refers to him as the “King of Venereal Horror” and his body of work makes that description pretty accurate.
Cronenberg is a Canadian filmmaker, and as a result he has gotten a lot of help from the country despite making movies that the United States would have refused to support. “Videodrome” stars James Woods and Deborah Harry in the story of a small television station who broadcasts a show that they hacked into that has extreme violence and scenes of torture. When this show causes the viewers to have bizarre hallucinations, people set out to figure out where it came from and who is behind this.
In an interesting big of trivia, Lucas Films called Cronenberg about directing “Return of the Jedi” but he refused the job, saying that he doesn’t direct other people’s material. This is strange because he directed the remake of the classic horror movie “The Fly.” However, in this case he changed things up and made the story his own. In “The Fly,” a scientist tries to create a transportation device and ends up merged with a fly, which he slowly turns into a grotesque version of. The movie was a mainstream success but was a very grotesque film.
Easily, one of Cronenberg’s most controversial films, “Crash” tells the story of a group of people who were involved in a tragic auto accident and now get off on viewing automobile accidents. The controversy of the movie was Cronenberg mixing the tragic violence of the accidents with sex, two items that Hollywood never gets away with mixing together. It was hugely protested and banned in a number of locations.
In 1991, Cronenberg adapted the very strange and controversial William S. Burroughs novel “Naked Lunch,” a story of an exterminator who starts to hallucinate because of the continued exposure to the bug powder he uses. When he meets a giant insect that orders him to kill his wife, his entire life is sent into a downward spiral. The movie is loosely based on Burroughs accidentally killing his real-life wife and Cronenberg makes sure that the film never reveals what is true and what is just a bizarre hallucination.