"My films are sui generis. It would be nice if the could form their
own genre, or subgenre. It's the need to sell films that causes this kind
of categorization. And, of course, there's always a critical impulse to
categorize and label. But people seems to think that it's necessary to
categorize before they can understand. My films really do exist on their
own. There is no no need to do that to experience them properly."
(Cronenberg on Cronenberg, Edited by Chris Rodley, Faber & Faber 1992).
If you're a die hard Freak Kitchen fan you know that some of our songs are inspired by or revolve around some of David Cronenberg's films. Below are some short tips on what might be good idea to start with if you're not familiar with his complex, strange, innovative and very un-Hollywoodish films.
The lovely eXistenZ game pod
Amazed in Paris
I just came back from a rainy Paris where I saw eXistenZ the other day.
The film is a truly amazing hybrid between many of Cronenberg's earlier films (it smells Videodrome especially, but also Naked Lunch at times and that odour ain't to bad) as well as tons of new inventive stuff (love the game pod and the "Chinese special"; the flesh gun!). eXistenZ is very graphic, it has to be, but it's liberating to see that Cronenberg didn't end up in all the usual Hollywood animation bullshit, which, in my opinion, still doesn't come close to effects, locations, e t c, actually filmed.
It's great to see some familiar "old flesh" (Ian Holm, Robert A Silverman , the beautiful music of Howard Shore, Peter Suschitzky's photography, etc) mixed with some "new flesh" (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law and a very inspired Willem Dafoe, e t c ). The plot and dialouge are as brilliant as ever.
eXistenZ is also surprisingly funny, but as Cronenberg's fingerprints
all over the place, it leaves you with a feeling of insecurity. I
left the theatre with a smile though, and my café au lait never
Thank God - the Mechanic, for David Cronenberg.
A serious hallucination, created by Rick Baker.
Max Renn (Woods) is
a blasé head of a small cable tv network, Civic TV, who, happily, broadcast porno and violence.
He hears about a real hard core TV show called "Videodrome" via satellite
pirate Harlan (Peter Dvorksy). Renn is, of course, interested in showing
the "Videodrome"-show on his network, gets a viewing copy from Harlan, and
from that moment nothing is what it seems...
Watching the tape slowly causes a brain tumour, making Max hallucinate heavily. This escalates as the film goes along and where a more main stream and less brave movie would switch from the main character's state of mind (which ain't too swell here, I assure you) to our "objective" point of view, the reality of Max Renn is the reality shown, whether you like it or not.
I want it all...
The same happens in the
Naked Lunch (1991). Cronenbergs aversion to to compromise
in his art demands respect.
(In a time when Hollywood puppet directors, dancing to the film studios executives bullets, cheerfully kissing ass, David Cronenberg's movies are pretty fucking important. Yes! There I said it!)
Our first record, Appetizer, has two songs influenced by
Videodrome; "See you in Pittsburgh" and
"The New Part". A lot of confused people asked me at the time of the
release of Appetizer what "...Pittsburgh" actually was about. I told them
about the movie, which is shown on TV every now and then, and hopefully
a few question marks have been straightened out. I don´t know.
A couple of months ago I bought the director's cut of Videodrome on laserdisc
and to my amusement chapter 24 on the disc is called "See you in Pittsburgh"...
(Woods says it in the movie, I didn't come up with the phrase, but it was
great having a chapter in your favourite movie linked, in some abstract way,
to our music).
Eastern Promises premiere in Atlanta, Georgia
Crash is a really strange piece of film. It's based on the 1973 novel by
J.G Ballard. I enjoy it, in a peculiar way, a lot. It´s very hypnotic and
disturbing in its slow tempo. Light years away from what the "cut, cut,
cut"-MTV generation is used to. Once you've seen it, you'll never forget
it, although you may dislike it for several reasons. I can hardly think of
anything more hard core than this except for maybe Dead Ringers. Don't get
me wrong, Crash is not the slightest gory (well, that's not entirely true,
but it's not more violent than your average crime-show or the brain dead
"cop"-shows which are so popular these days). It´s quite nude, but never
pornographic. It doesn't turn you on (depending on what kind of shit you're into of course). The dialogue is very sparse, almost dream-like and
Howard Shore's music is, as usual, top notch and ground breaking. I got
very influenced by the guitar orchestrations on the soundtrack to Crash in
my tune "Dr. Pangloss goes to Lisbon" (from Freak Guitar).
The film, if you missed the bullshit controversy surrounding it a few
year's back, is about an alienated bunch of people who discover they like
to sink their organs, so to speak, into a bizarre mix between sex and car
crashes. This unites them, in quite a sweet little group of jaded human
beings, and the closer they come to getting killed, the higher the sexual
stimuli. If this doesn´t work out, fucking in car wrecks, next to cold
metal wing of a small airplane, on the balchony facing a major highway,
e t c. will do it.
Take your time when you watch it, preferably alone, and don't except any car-chases, despite the misleading trailer. Keep your mind open and Crash will reward you.