David Cronenberg Is the Master of Grotesque Sci-Fi

David Cronenberg has directed more than 20 feature films in a wide variety of genres, but he remains best known for his provocative ’80s science fiction films like Fly And Videodrome. Humor writer Tom Gerencer is a lifelong fan of Cronenberg’s artistic vision.

“He’s an absolute genius, and he fused that with absolute mastery of the craft,” Gerencer says in episode 533 of the series. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Often we see one or the other. You see someone who is very competent and can produce a good film, or you see someone who is a genius and is all over the place, and there are good ones and bad ones. But he’s both, and that’s rare.

science fiction author Matthew Kressel love the way Cronenberg films Videodrome And Existence blur the line between biology and technology. “Even though he talks about technology, technology is often not what we think of as technology,” Kressel says. “We don’t see computers or flashing lights. Often it’s biological, or just in the background, which I found very interesting. You don’t really see that in a lot of film, television and media.

Cronenberg has worked with many of Hollywood’s top actors, including Michael Ironside, Jeff Goldblum and Viggo Mortensen. television writer Andrea Kail particularly enjoyed James Woods as sleazy TV producer Max Renn in Videodrome. “A lot of Cronenberg’s genius is in his casting,” she says. “He selects the perfect people for his roles. James Woods is perfect for this role. He looks sleazy, he acts sleazy. He’s the perfect person for this, this sleazy, sleazy crook who allows the story to get the better of him.

Person pushing their face through a television screen with human lips on the screen

Cronenberg’s most recent project is Crimes of the futurea breathtaking exploration of sadomasochism and body modification. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley wasn’t a fan of the film, but he still admires Cronenberg for taking risks. “There are so few sci-fi movies coming out now that aren’t franchises and aren’t sprawling blockbusters and that make serious points and have artistic vision and are original, and this movie is definitely all these things,” he said. . “I wasn’t crazy about it, but you have to respect someone who has an artistic vision and who doesn’t just want to release stereotypical films.”

Listen to the full interview with Tom Gerencer, Matthew Kressel and Andrea Kail in episode 553 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Tom Gerencer on Scanners:

It’s absolutely a classic. I was in sixth grade when this came out. Everyone in my college was talking about it, everyone was quoting it. Everyone was like, “I’m going to suck your brains out.” I didn’t see him until later. My friend Greg showed me this scene and I was like, “Holy shit, this is horrible.” And the scene where the guy’s head explodes, everyone’s been talking about it for years – for years and years and years. And yet, to this day, if I think of the word “scanners,” even if I think of something that has nothing to do with the movie, I imagine this guy’s head exploding.

Matthieu Kressel on Fly:

The transition of Seth Brundle – Jeff Goldblum’s character – from this nerdy, confident but rather shy guy who is clearly attracted to this woman to this crazy, murderous fly creature, was so gradual and perfect. …I had forgotten a lot of the body horror, like when he vomits on the guy’s hand and it dissolves or the standoff in the bar, where he breaks the guy’s arm and it bone comes out. I said to myself, “Oh, that’s right, I forgot that!” The body horror was, of course, grotesque, but somehow it managed to do it in a way that didn’t feel superfluous or gratuitous. I just felt like it worked with the story.

Andrea Kail on Existence:

My first thought when [Jennifer Jason Leigh] walks in and everyone is clapping, it was, “Oh, a room full of men clapping for a woman game designer.” That East science fiction.” But I really enjoyed it. The story itself flowed really well for me and I liked the world they created and the dynamic between the two characters. It was the first movie in this series where I was gagging. The scene where he eats food in the Chinese restaurant was horrible. And then the NPCs and how they move, when they’re waiting for dialogue. I really enjoyed this one. I kind of put everything aside and really watched it.

David Barr Kirtley on Crimes of the future:

The idea that people are adapting to eating toxic waste is a good idea. I don’t know if David Cronenberg has ever read Paolo Bacigalupi, but it kind of reminds me of Paolo Bacigalupi’s story “People of Sand and Slag”, which is one of my favorite science fiction short stories. So I think it’s a good idea, and there were some striking images here. There’s a scene where Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux kiss naked while this autodoc type machine cuts them. I thought it was a cool image. And then there’s this artist who sews his eyes and mouth shut and covers his ears and does an interpretive dance, and I thought that was a cool image. So there were things like that in the movie that I liked.

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