Thursday, September 3, 2015
They Came From Within (1975)
Sporting a rather nicely low key atmosphere and some great set design (the apartments we see are awesomely 70's in the best way, not often I look at something from that era and it looks sort of cozy), Cronenberg makes good early use of his usual themes of transformation (in this case, he sees it as a positive though as usual, your mileage may vary) and we get some nicely gruesome moments such as a carrier of several parasites gradually breaking down and a real cross-your-legs moment as one parasite gets inside horror legend Barbara Steele while she's in the tub. While the sex and gore seems a little tame by today's standards, I can totally see how some folks in 1975 would be horrified by it. And in all honesty, there is one horny old lady in it that creeped me out even more than that bathtub scene and the frankly disgusting parasites.
While the film is rather light on characterization (the doctor hero and his nurse are decent enough but sort of bland) and the dialogue isn't exactly the best in film history, this is still really, really good early Cronenberg. I like some of his more recent stuff (A History of Violence is very strong) but for me, he was at his best with those low budget Canadian tax shelter flicks. Hell, I don't even mind the downbeat 70's ending. At least here it serves a purpose other than just shock value.