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"Shivers" (1975)

Shivers (1975) marked the feature film directorial debut of David Deprave' Cronenberg, "King of venereal horror." He wrote the script, which had a working title of "The Parasite Murders," and had no trouble at all convincing Cinépix, the Canadian equivalent of Roger Corman, to make the film. He had an uphill battle getting them to let him direct it. They felt that he had no experience making a feature film, and they were right. On the other hand, the script looked like the entry into the American market that they were looking for. After nearly three years, they let Cronenberg direct, and he remembers attending the first production meeting, and having no idea at all what each person at the meeting did. Cinépix had anticipated this, and kept the budget low ($179,000.00), and surrounded Cronenberg with people who knew what they were doing.

When Cronenberg saw dailies from the first day, he panicked. Nothing looked the way he had intended. He began to despair about his ability to direct. By the third day, he had enough figured out that the dailies looked good. He decided that, not only could he direct, but that he might be very good at it. He preceded to make a film that would define his style and themes for the rest of his career. Cronenberg films tend to be horror, tend to be bloody, and tend to isolate one aspect of people, usually a sexual one. The plot device is usually an alien creature, or a medical condition. Shivers could be thought of as an Alien clone, except for one small problem -- it was released 4 years before Alien.

The film takes place in a high-rise apartment community on an island. A former medical professor has developed a parasite that, when, inside a human host, will raise the libido, and propagate venerealy. The good professor has been using a young woman who lives in the building as a test subject. When he realizes that his parasite has a far stronger effect than he planned, and is far more aggressive in multiplying, he decides to kill the parasites in the girl (played by Cathy Graham). He vercomes her, strips her, slices open her stomach, then goes after the parasites, which look very phallic, with acid. This fails, and he slits his own throat. This would have been the end of it, but Graham, it seems, was a very popular young lady with the male tenants, and several of them have the parasite. The high rise has its own clinic, and the doctor discovers and tries to combat the parasite, which spreads rapidly through the building, turning all of the tenants into sex-crazed monsters. His nurse, played by Lynn Lowry, does a very sexy strip where she knows he can see her. One of the men first infected tries to infect his wife, Susan Petrie, and bares her breast in the process. She is also seen frequently in the film poking through her top.

The budget didn't allow hiring many trained actors, so much of the cast was amateur, including some women who were also seen nude. Susan Petrie had not yet gained the skill to cry on command, and relied on Cronenberg to slap her very hard in private before a scene that required tears. This raised a few eyebrows on the set before the reason was explained. Is it a good film? From an historical perspective, it is certainly important. It was Cronenbergs first and defining film, and the first horror film made in Canada. Maltin was not impressed at 1 1/2 stars. IMDB readers say 5.7/10. Other reviewers see it as flawed but worth seeing, and some call it the most important horror film of the 70s. I give it a solid C. If you like horror at all, you need to see this one. The DVD has the entire original version (a cut version circulated under the title "They Came from Within), and interview with Cronenberg. The transfer quality is amazingly good for a 25 year old film.

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  • Lynn Lowry (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Susan Petrie (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • Cathy Graham (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Unknown (1, 2, 3)
  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    I looked at Meet the Parents. Pretty funny, old-fashioned comedy.


    I looked at 3000 Miles to Graceland. I don't think they need to clear out any space in the trophy case for their upcoming Oscars.

    • Courteney Cox. Not very explicit nudity, but a peek at her butt, and an upskirt. (1, 2)
    Graphic Response
  • Christine Pascal in "Spoiled Children".

  • Helcrom
    All the latest work from Scoopy's Junior's personal hero, Helcrom, the King Bee

    Lisa Barbuscia In "Highlander: Endgame"

    Vanity in "Tanya's Island".

    Zoe in "The Prophet's Game"

    Linnea Quigley perhaps the Scream Queen's most famous screen moment in "Return of the Living Dead"

    Linnea Quigley more from "Return of the Living Dead"

    Jimmy the Saint
    His Supreme Holiness, and our favorite dead Denverite, is back from a long pilgrimage, or whatever saints do when they aren't doing nude vidcaps

    Colette Brown in "Deep"

    Sandrine Kiberlain in "For Sale".

    Stefanie Powers I think this is the only clear nudity she ever did, and it's dark, but she sure looks damn good. The movie is "Crescendo"

    and ...
    Dominique Issermann another spectacular topless B&W from the prolific and proficient Blackshine

    Kate Hudson Wow! jaw-dropping picture - the popular Miss Hudson all-but-naked in the new Vanity Fair

    Florentine Lahme in an episode of Pfundskerl - captured by UC99

    Florentine Lahme it's a Florentine Lahme marathon. here's Scanman's version of Der Pfundskerl

    Florentine Lahme one more of Scanman's version of Der Pfundskerl

    Indira Varma in Kama Sutra, from Pappa
    Indira Varma one more of Pappa's collages from Kama Sutra

    The Funnies

    Dennis Miller Rant on Bill Clinton's Goodbye (3/2/01) My favorite line in yellow.

    Boy, the Clintons' left Washington about as quietly as Kid Rock leaves a Holiday Inn.

    Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here but like an infestation of cockroaches, a drunken party guest or a super-virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant clap, the Clintons are proving almost impossible to get rid of. Hey, is there any way for an entire nation to file a restraining order?

    Since we first met them, Bill and Hillary's political relationship has been defined by a series of scandals, providing their marriage a much-needed distraction from ever having to actually stop and figure out how to extricate themselves from their biggest predicament: each other. Let's face it. If the Clintons' marriage were any more about convenience, they'd have to install a Slurpee machine and a Slim-Jim rack.

    We've all been watching in astonishment these last few weeks, as the Clintons merrily parade their greed and corruption past us like a garish Mardi Gras float powered by the drivetrain of Bill Clinton's gargantuan sense of entitlement. Hillary steers, while Bill sits on the top tossing pardons out to the crowd like a drunken Bacchus with a perpetual hard-on for a scepter.

    And it turns out the Low Priest who shepherded many of the pardon petitioners to the quid-pro-quo altar is none other than Hillary's currently eight-and-a-half-months pregnant brother, Hugh Rodham. Hey, who could blame Jabba the Hick for acting as a supersized go-between? How would you like it if your sister was in the White House for eight years and you couldn't even cash in on it because of stupid laws and shit?

    And the Hugh-Rodham-sponsored pardons were small, and quickly eaten, potatoes compared to the Marc Rich debacle. President Clinton has repeatedly insisted his pardon of Marc Rich was the right thing to do. Which should probably tip you off to just how wrong it undoubtedly was.

    You almost have to admire the sheer audacity of granting pardons to two tax-scamming billionaire fugitives named Rich and Green. If the symbolism were any more obvious, Andrew Lloyd Weber would be writing music for it.

    And speaking of vacuous songwriters, the Marc Rich pardon was facilitated by his former wife, Denise Rich. Now why would a former wife go to the wall for her ex-husband? Well, in this case, I can think of a couple of billion reasons. You know, she couldn't be any more in her former husbands hip pocket if she were a piece of lint. Think about it. Denise Rich is the perfect unwitting foil to do the bidding of low-rent Machiavellis like her ex and Bill Clinton. Every time I see that footage of her standing there on stage next to Clinton in her strapless, fur-trimmed, hey-baby-give-it-up-you're-in-your-mid-fifties Escada frock, smiling that lobotomized, open-mouth smile, all the while clapping her mitts together like she's a trained seal cleaning erasers, just so thrilled to be part of the action that all the naysayers once told her was way out of her league, well, all I can think is, "Wow, she's not even aware of what an incredible dupe she's being played for." You know, there's nothing sadder than a star-fucker who thinks she's a patriot...And I like her.

    To be fair, it's not like other outgoing presidents and first ladies haven't been involved in sketchy pardons, taken gifts they weren't supposed to, or profited from their positions. It's just that no one has ever done it in such bulk, in so short a time, eliminating the mid-level operative and passing the scandal right on to you, the consumer. Let's face it: the Clintons are the Costco of Sleaze.

    And all of the lying, cheating and stealing can't be good for either of the Clintons' karma. At this point Hillary's coming back as a dung beetle with an overdeveloped sense of smell, and Bill will come back as... uh... well, as Bill .... Face it, this guy's smarter than God

    But you must never count Bill Clinton out. He is completely alone right now, but this is when he's at his absolute best. When the whole world has turned their back on him, when the baying hounds are confusing the scent of his blood with someone else's who's about to take the fall for him... That is the precise moment he has you exactly where he wants you.

    Perhaps Bill Clinton didn't so much betray his allies as seduce them into betraying themselves. From the women's rights groups who took Clinton's side against all the women he victimized to all the liberal compadres he discarded when it was politically expedient to do so, Clintons proffered deal has always been the same: I will help you achieve your goals if you simply abandon the ideals that made them worthwhile in the first place.

    I guess what I'm saying, Bill, is, we're on to you, and it's over, understand? We've awakened from our long nightmare of codependence and addiction and we've found someone new. Maybe he's not as smart or as exciting as you, but he treats us nice and makes us feel pretty. We don't need you anymore, Bill, okay? So stop calling and stop driving past our house at night and stop looking at us like that. Now get off the porch and get out of here before we change our minds.

    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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