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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r
 

 

(aka "They Came from Within" or "The Parasite Murders" or "Frissons")

 

directed by David Cronenberg
Canada 1975

 

A landmark Canadian horror film – although not actually the first since producer Cinepix ("the Roger Corman of Canada") had expanded from softcore "maple syrup porn" to horror with the lukewarm SATAN'S SABBATH SHIVERS finds David Cronenberg attempting a more commercial treatment of the "body horror" themes of his experimental films in a scenario that vaguely anticipates J.G. Ballard's 1975 novel High Rise. The entirely self-sufficient Starliner Towers high-rise apartments on Starliner Island becomes a human petrie dish when promiscuous, barely-legal resident Annabelle Brown (Cathy Graham) is brutally murdered by her estranged husband Professor Emil Hobbes (Fred Doederlein, SCANNERS), the building's new clinic doctor Roger St. Luc (Paul Hampton, LADY SINGS THE BLUES) and Hobbes' research partner Rollo Linsky (Joe Silver, DEATHTRAP) start looking into his experiments on creating a parasite to take over the functions of faulty human organs.

Delving deeper into the professor's private notes, they discover the professor's real experiments to create a parasite that is part aphrodisiac/part venereal disease – having found that humanity has lost touch with their instincts and senses – to turn the world into "one beautiful, mindless orgy" and that he was using Annabelle to incubate the creatures. Roger realizes that Hobbes was not able to destroy the parasites since medical records reveal four Starliner male residents with unexplained moving abdominal growths. By the time Roger and Rollo form a plan of attack, they may be too late since the parasites have started infecting the residents of the Starliner Towers – among them rental agent Merrick (Ronald Mlodzik, the star of Cronenberg's shorts STEREO and CRIMES OF THE FUTURE), lesbian Betts (BLACK SUNDAY) who is infected in her bathtub, frazzled Janine (Susan Petrie, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING SEXY) and her husband Nicholas (Allan Kolman, SE7EN) who is suffering from a very special kind of infection from his dalliances with Annabelle, and Roger's sexy nurse (Lynn Lowry, CAT PEOPLE) – as leaping, oversize inchworms and in the form of violent sexual attacks by infected hosts since "disease is the love of two alien kinds of creatures."

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 6 July 1976 (USA)

Reviews                                                              More Reviews                                                             DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Arrow- Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Re-Released on Blu-ray in July 2017:

 

Also available in a Blu-ray Steelbook case:

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Arrow Video
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:28:47 1:27:53.685
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,022,546,526 bytes

Feature: 25,674,629,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Image Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video

Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles none English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with David Cronenberg (4:3; 21:25)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:25)

DVD Release Date: 30 September 1998
Amaray

Chapters 18
 

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,022,546,526 bytes

Feature: 25,674,629,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Parasite Memories: The Making of SHIVERS - A brand new documentary featuring interviews with
• stars Barbara Steele, Allan Kolman and Lynn Lowry, special effects genius Joe Blasco and film critic Kier-La Janisse (42:52)
• On Screen! - An episode of the Canadian television programme which documents the release history of Shivers, featuring interviews with Cronenberg, co-producer Don Carmody, as well as other cast and crew
(47:37)
• From Stereo to Video - A specially-commissioned video essay by Caelum Vatnsdal, author of
'They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema', charting Cronenberg’s career from his
• experimental beginnings through to Videodrome, his first major studio picture (26:21)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:27)

• Promotional Gallery
• PAL DVD of the Film and Extras
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh
• Collector’s Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation
•  website, reprinted excerpts of 'Cronenberg on Cronenberg' and more, illustrated with original archi

 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 13th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 13

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (October 2014) Arrow Region 'B' - Blu-ray: The new Arrow Blu-ray starts with a Lionsgate logo and has a Cinematheque Quebecois restoration credit,  before the film starts - and the and MPAA card after the end credits. Obviously the big difference between the Image SD and the UK 1080P is the aspect ratios. Com position favors the 1.78:1 Blu-ray, with the DVD showing excessive space in the top of the frame. Blacks may be marginally crushed at times, but this is still vastly superior to the 1998 transfer improving upon the skin tones (orange on the SD) and overall colors. The video-like DVD does seems to show more detail at times, but I hardly think this flat, artefact-riddled image is accurate to the filmmaker's intent. The BD's textures are a big bonus and the visual inferiorities, inherent in the production limitations, are sometimes made more prominent by the higher resolution. It is an imperfect, but most-probably accurate, video rendering - dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate (approaching 7X that of the DVD).

Arrow use a linear PCM mono track, faithfully replicating the original production audio. It sounds predictably flat with a shade of noticeable depth. Arrow offer optional English subtitles (see sample) but is a region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.

"Parasite Memories" is a brand new retrospective piece on the film produced by High Rising Productions with lively contribution from effects artist Joe Blasco (ILSA, HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS), actresses Lynn Lowry and Barbara Steele, actor Allan Kolman, and Canadian critic Kier La-Janisse. Blasco recalls reading the script and thinking it sounded like a porno film but taking the job when he heard Barbara Steele was in it. He also describes how he created the effects (the shot of the parasite crawling across the grass was a test shot he did in Los Angeles which was not supposed to be used in the film), including inventing bladder effects here (using condoms and enema bags), and the film's influence on ALIEN (he reveals that Carlo Rambaldi asked him to work on the film but he had moved on to teaching as well as being the regular make-up artist for Carol Burnett and a number of other big performers during that period). Lowry and Steele offer somewhat differing portraits of Cronenberg on set but convey his enthusiasm and inexperience while Kolman discusses working under the make-up effects (Lowry also reveals that her participation in the pool climax was an afterthought that had the producers bringing her back to Montreal after her shooting had wrapped). La-Janisse provides context for the films of the period, distributor-turned-exploitation producer Cinepix, the tax shelter program, and the notoriety the film got due to the harsh Canadian criticism (which panned the film as part of an attack on the Canadian Film Development Corporation's public art funding policies).

The making-of featurette is actually another retrospective piece from the Canadian television series ON SCREEN! which intercuts new interviews with Lowry, Kolman, Blasco, line producer Ivan Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS, executive producers Andre Link and John Dunning (MY BLOODY VALENTINE), producer Don Carmody (TERROR TRAIN), production manager Alfred Pariser (THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE, cinematographer Richard Saad (CANNIBAL GIRLS), as well as critics Jason Andrews and David Spanner, festival programmer Piers Handling, and Cronenberg scholars Peter Morris and Caelum Vatsndal, and film professor Bart Testa along with vintage 1979, 1982, and 1998 interview material from Cronenberg (the latter material of which is extracted from an interview with the director that was featured on the Anchor Bay VHS, Image Entertainment DVD, and presumably the last CFP Video release). The narrative is largely the same as the previous featurette but given more depth – including some more anecdotes like actress Susan Petrie asking Cronenberg to slap her around before each take in which she needed to cry (as well as Barbara Steele's reaction when she witnessed it without knowing the context) – especially the public and critical reception in Canada and abroad.

 

"From STEREO to VIDEO" is a visual essay by Vatsndal focusing on Cronenberg's early life in a Jewish intellectual household, his initial aspirations to be scientist or writer, enrolling in University of Toronto – where he saw the film "Winter Kept Us Warm" made by a UT alumnus and featuring familiar locations and people he knew – where he then embarked on a series of short films. His best known shorts were STEREO and CRIMES OF THE FUTURE which were shot on 35mm without sync sound and established themes that would inform his later works (the former was included on Criterion's release of SCANNERS -- the latter was included on Criterion's CLV laserdisc of DEAD RINGERS but not carried over to the DVD edition – while both films were included on the Blue Underground Blu-ray of FAST COMPANY). The essay then follows his early film career from SHIVERS through VIDEODROME noting how Cronenbergian elements are carried over from film-to-film (with the exception of FAST COMPANY which is more significant as the film in which the director first collaborated with regular cinematographer Mark Irwin and production designer Carol Spiere). The disc closes out with the film's SHIVERS theatrical trailer (sadly, we do not get ones for FRISSONS or THEY CAME FROM WITHIN) and a promotional gallery of international posters, lobby cards, and publicity stills.

Another stacked release from Arrow! Fans will delight in Cronenberg's unique variation on the, oft-told, Zombie theme. It has amateurish moments but still sparks of superior horror realization. The Blu-ray extras add more value and those keen should be pleased with a late Friday night viewing - perhaps for Halloween latter this month.  

 - Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze

 


Menus
Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
 

Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Re-Released on Blu-ray in July 2017:

 

Also available in a Blu-ray Steelbook case:

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Arrow Video
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

 

 



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