Sunday, February 1, 2009

Netflix Fix -- The Brood (1979)


Going to approach this post-Netflix-Fix-watching post a bit differently than usual, mainly because I'm dead-exhausted and need some shut-eye. But this one was a really good flick, and deserves some recognition. So rather than discuss the plot and what points made it work, and which areas could use improvement(s), I'm simply calling out one specific scene that's the goodness.

Quick plot summary, though, to give the scene some vital context: Frank Carveth is a loving father of five-year-old Candice; Candice's mother, Nola Carveth, is a nutball who lives in a secluded psychiatry complex where she is undergoing some radical new treatment at the hands of controversial Dr. Raglan. This treatment, a facing-of-personal-demons hypnosis, has heightened Nola's inner rage, spawning a woodshed's worth of deformed "children" all from her subconscious; monstrous-looking dwarves who kill all of those she feels anger toward at the moment, without her even knowing. Miniature slashers cut from that old-lady-dwarf from Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, looking like shrunken Beasts (from Beauty & the Beast) in the faces. Mugs not even a mother could appreciate.


All sounds a bit complex, bizarre. But then again, it's an early David Cronenberg flick, "written and directed by." Cronenberg pretty much cornered the market on his own unique subgenres of horror: how the mistreatment and misunderstanding of one's own body and flesh can prove hazardous. The decaying of flesh, a person's body betraying them in usually-gory yet beautifully-staged-and-shot ways. See: Shivers; The Fly; Scanners.

This particular scene from The Brood, though, isn't an example of this "body does you bad" conceit. It's nothing more than an exhibition of Cronenberg's razor pacing skills and fearlessness. Murder in a packed kindergarten classroom? Now that takes some balls.

Great stuff right there. The Brood is highly recommended. Psychologically involving, and wildly inventive.

Up next in my Netflix Queue is another Cronenberg effort....The Dead Zone, with Christopher Walken, based on Stephen King's book. A flick I've seen many scenes from but have yet to sit down with from start to finish, properly. That'll soon change.

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