November 28, 2011
Face-melding movie posters
Have you seen the poster for David Cronenberg's new movie, A Dangerous Method, with the main female character's face in the middle blurring into the faces of the two main men?
If it looks familiar, that might be because it uses the same idea as the poster for one of my favorite Cronenberg movies, Dead Ringers:
Back in the 80's, when Dead Ringers came out, Cronenberg was known for making creepy psycho-horror movies where characters tend to have sex with and, usually, kill each other in remarkably perverse and usually disgusting ways. In the earliest of his movies that I've seen, Rabid, he cast porn star Marilyn Chambers as a woman who accidentally becomes infected with some kind of virus that causes a penis-like protuberance to emerge from her armpit and attack other people, turning them into zombies. You can see it in the first five seconds of this video clip.
Lately he's backed off most of the gross, oozing body stuff, but his characters are just as driven by their desires for sex and violence. I liked A Dangerous Method a lot, and it was fascinating to see Cronenberg take on well-known historical figures like Freud and Jung for, I think, the first time in his career (Naked Lunch only half counts.) But the familiar themes are all there: violence, sex, violent sex, uncontrollable obsessions, and weird science, this time in the form of early psychoanalysis. Talk therapy might help explain his characters' strange thoughts and behavior, but it doesn't really stop them from happening. A.O. Scott's review proposes a great idea: the "Cronenbergian principle of uncontrollability."
As psycho-kinky as some of the stuff in A Dangerous Method might be, though, it's nothing compared to Jeremy Irons in those red surgery robes and mutant gynecological implements of torture from Dead Ringers. Shudder!
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