Toying with mind-bending existential concepts that often go hand-in-hand with bulging practical effects, Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg had an indelible effect on the world of horror, contorting the genre to his own twisted liking throughout the late 20th century. Pioneering an appreciation for body horror that began with his 1975 feature film debut Shivers, Cronenberg heralded an appreciation for the oozing gunk of the existential subgenre, inspiring countless filmmakers across the globe.
Even before Shivers, however, Cronenberg was innovating the world of science fiction horror, releasing the film Crimes of the Future in 1970, marking his second foray into feature filmmaking.
Created on a micro-budget, the independent Canadian film follows a world where a catastrophic plague has wiped out the entire population of sexually active women. Following the character of Tripod (Ronald Mlodzik), the director of a dermatological clinic called the House of Skin, as he searches for his mentor Antoine Rouge, Cronenberg’s film is representative of the kind of wild concepts he would pioneer later in the ‘70s and 1980s.
The 1970 film would prove an essential stepping stone for Cronenberg who would go on to work in television for a sustained amount of time before he moved on to direct his first major feature film, Shivers in 1975.
Strangely, despite not having any connection to his original film, Cronenberg is planning to name his forthcoming film after his 1970 project, with the new movie Crimes of the Future sharing little resemblance to the plot of the original.
Starring Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen, the new movie takes viewers into a not-so-distant future where humans have evolved and metamorphosed to be a hybrid of flesh and technology. Still dealing in the biological realms of flesh and body horror, Cronenberg’s latest film will diverge from the original but may steal certain elements from the 1970 version.
Speaking to The Film Stage, Cronenberg outlined his intentions for the film, explaining, “I wrote this script 20 years ago, so it was almost like a script that somebody else wrote. Except for some of the roles that I cast in Athens, with Greek actors, I had never heard any of the dialogue spoken before”. Continuing, Cronenberg added, “So to hear Kristen start to speak the lines of this character, it was a shock! I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is a living creature — out of control, in the sense that it has its life — and it’s coming to life right in front of me’”.
It’s unlikely that the forthcoming film will share any resemblance to the 1970 film of the same name in plot or style, though we’ll be watching the original in preparation just in case it does. If you’re fans of Cronenberg, we suggest you do the same, with the entire film available to watch for free right now on YouTube, check it out below.