popflick logo

Streaming the Masters: David Cronenberg

Beautiful inside: Seydoux examines Mortensen in Crimes of the Future / Photo: Nikos Nikolopoulos ©Serendipity Point Films 2021

Beautiful inside: Seydoux examines Mortensen in Crimes of the Future / Photo: Nikos Nikolopoulos ©Serendipity Point Films 2021

With Crimes of the Future available for streaming on Hulu, you might as well catch up with the oeuvre of the Canadian horror master David Cronenberg. Completists will indulge in physical media if they want to see Naked Lunch (1991) and Crash (1996). Spyder (2002), with Ralph Fiennes, will be out on Blu-Ray in December 2022. Have a nice binge, and Long Live the New Flesh!

* STREAM

SHIVERS (1975)

A homegrown take on Night of The Living Dead, but instead of reanimated corpses, the fiends at hand are people infected by a parasite that makes them obsessed with sex. The action takes place in a posh apartment complex in the suburbs of Montreal. A premise that could go for laughs jumps for the jugular for maximum horrid effect.

STREAM: ROKU, TUBI

RENT: APPLE TV, GOOGLE PLAY. YOUTUBE, VUDU

RABID (1977)

Adult film actress Marylin Chambers, better known for Behind the Green Door (Artie & Jim Mitchell, 1972), crossed over into the mainstream with this shocking genre piece. A young woman survives an accident and undergoes plastic surgery that leaves an appendix in her armpit, with an unquenchable thirst for blood. I know how that sounds, but trust me, this is a doozy. I am slightly appalled that Chambers did not go on to a long and fruitful career.

STREAM: PRIME VIDEO, TUBI, KONAPY

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY. YOUTUBE

THE BROOD (1979)

Frank (Art Hindle) fights his wife (Samantha Eggar) for custody of their young child while the woman rests in the clinic of controversial psychiatrist Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed). Things get creepy when a gang of strange children begins to commit unspeakable violence around Frank. It was the first time Cronenberg worked with well-established stars. 

STREAM: HBO MAX, CRITERION CHANNEL, DIRECT TV

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON

SCANNERS (1981)

Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) belongs to a lineage of men and women with telepathic abilities splintered into two factions. One aims to use its power for evil, and the other tries to stop them. This unsung paranoid classic is famous for a scene where a head explodes with gory gusto.

STREAM: HBO MAX, CRITERION CHANNEL

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON

THE DEAD ZONE (1983)

Hollywood beckons with this adaptation of a 1979 Stephen King novel. Christopher Walken plays a school teacher who develops psychic abilities after waking up from a 5-year coma. To know the past and future of a person by holding their hand can put you in an awkward position when you cross paths with a mass murderer. Martin Sheen plays a smarmy politician that may remind you of a guy who has been in the news lately.

STREAM: HBO MAX, DIRECT TV

RENT: AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE, VUDU

THE FLY (1986)

The movie is a masterful update of a fifties sci-fi classic. Jeff Goldblum is an eccentric scientist who accidentally scrambles his DNA with a house fly. The transformation of his body with excruciating detail. The disintegration of his mind sealed the deal on Goldblum’s stardom. Box office success gave way to a sequel, with which Cronenberg was not involved.

STREAM: HBO MAX, DIRECT TV

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE

DEAD RINGERS (1988)

Jeremy Irons dazzles playing a set of twisted identical twins. Elliot and Beverly are gynecologist surgeons with a penchant for fooling women into sleeping with both of them. The codependent relationship goes into overdrive when Beverly falls in love with one of their victims (Genevieve Bujold). 

STREAM: HBO MAX, HOOPLA, KANOPY, DIRECT TV

RENT: AMAZON, VUDU, APPLE TV

M. BUTTERFLY (1993)

An adaptation of David Hare’s Tony-winning play about a French diplomat engaged in a long-time relationship with a male Chinese spy who passed as a woman. Based on a true story. More psychological thriller than a horror genre piece, the movie was decades ahead of its time; in its consideration of gender identity. 

STREAM: HOOPLA

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE

A DANGEROUS METHOD (2011)

In early XX Century Vienna, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) worked together on the theory of psychoanalysis while studying the case of Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a woman plagued by childhood traumas and sexual hang-ups. 

STREAM: STARZ

RENT: AMAZON

COSMOPOLIS (2012)

An adaptation of Don DeLillo’s apocalyptic novel, preserving its scalding indictment of late-stage capitalism. Robert Pattinson is a billionaire crossing Manhattan in his limo while the world around him falls apart. The market crashes, traffic is gridlocked, protestors roam the street, and a disgruntled former employee is out to kill him. Prepare for a cold, hermetic movie. Better suited for completists. 

STREAM: PRIME VIDEO, HULU, VUDU, TUBI, KANOPY

RENT: AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE, APPLE TV

* RENT

VIDEODROME (1983)

Max Renn (James Wood) is a ruthless TV executive who finds a snuff pirate TV show where people suffer torture for hours before getting killed. Exposure to this content brings unsuspecting physical and mental symptoms, like a VHS-like slot in the abdomen and paranoia. But then again, if they are pursuing you, it is not paranoia. This movie is the best by-product of the panic around the effects of TV on people. Singer Debbie Harry, of Blondie fame, plays a sex therapist who needs to heal herself.

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY. YOUTUBE

EXISTENZ (1999)

Videodrome for the gamer era. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a designer who suffers a violent attack just as she tries to test her latest virtual reality game. In this stranger version of the future, consoles are biomechanics devices you plug directly into your spine through a surgically installed port. Fun! 

RENT: AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE, APPLE TV

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005)

The myth of American masculinity is contemplated mournfully in this adaptation of John Wagner’s graphic novel. Viggo Mortensen shines in his first collaboration with the director, playing a mild-mannered dinner owner in a prototypical small town. One day, he gets a visit from a bunch of violent gangsters who say he is not who he seems to be. For my money, the best American movie of 2005 and one of the best of the Aughts.

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE, VUDU

EASTERN PROMISES (2007)

The second Mortensen collaboration finds him playing Nikolai, a Russian mob enforcer in London. He is the right-hand man of boss Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and a bother for his son Kirill (Vincent Cassel). The relationships become fraught when Mortensen comes to the aid of a midwife (Naomi Watts) investigating the death of a teenage runaway. 

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE, VUDU, DIRECT TV

MAP TO THE STARS (2015)

A scalding black comedy about Hollywood royalty and the plebes that serve them. Celebrity therapist (John Cusak), his wife (Olivia Williams), and their young actor son are thrown into a tizzy when a mysterious girl (Mia Wasikowska) connected to their past reappear. Julianne Moore won the Best Actress award at Cannes for playing a diva from hell.

RENT: APPLE TV, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE

Movie poster

Watch “Curiosity and Control

A documentary that explores our complex relationship with nature itself and our contradictory behavior of caging what we fear may be lost.

Stream Now

Want to get an email when we publish new content?

Subscribe today