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The debut feature from Canada's most celebrated filmmaker, David Cronenberg, Shivers provided the young director with a crash course in feature filmmaking and established many of the ... See full summary »


Tristan Orchard


Paul Corupe


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Episode credited cast:
Jason Anderson Jason Anderson ... Himself
Joe Blasco ... Himself
Don Carmody ... Himself
David Cronenberg ... Himself
John Dunning John Dunning ... Himself
Piers Handling ... Himself
André Link André Link ... Himself
Lynn Lowry ... Herself
Peter Morris Peter Morris ... Himself
Alfred Pariser Alfred Pariser
Iris Quinn ... Narrator
Ivan Reitman ... Himself
David Spanner David Spanner ... Himself
Bart Testa Bart Testa ... Himself
Caelum Vatnsdal Caelum Vatnsdal ... Himself


The debut feature from Canada's most celebrated filmmaker, David Cronenberg, Shivers provided the young director with a crash course in feature filmmaking and established many of the unsettling themes explored in his later work. In the film, medical professor Dr. Hobbes (Fred Doederlein) creates a genetically-engineered organism he plans to use to bring about a more sensually aware society, but his experiments turn deadly when the aphrodisiac-producing parasite gets out of control and spreads throughout a swinging Montreal apartment complex. Despite the film's success on both sides of the border, the critical backlash against the film was used to launch a cultural attack on Canada's film funding. Since then, Shivers has outlasted its detractors and won over a significant cult following for its effective, low-budget chills and stark social allegories. Producers Ivan Reitman and John Dunning, stars Sue Helen Petrie, Paul Frampton, and makeup effects artist Joe Blasco (Members of the ... Written by Anonymous

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10 February 2008 (Canada) See more »

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Did You Know?


The episode for Shivers (1975) is featured on Arrow Video UK's 2014 Blu-ray for the film. See more »


Features Cannibal Girls (1973) See more »

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Enjoyable retrospective
16 September 2015 | by bazmitch23See all my reviews

I saw this on the Blu-ray. We learn about Cronenberg's past, his father was an author and he died of cancer. His father's condition is what made him get into science. When he went to University, some friends of his were in a movie. The combination of his interest of telling stories and science made him want to make movies.

After two short films, David wrote "Orgy of the Blood Parasites" which later became Shivers. But he couldn't find a studio to want to make the film.

Whilst in LA, hoping that low budget king Roger Corman would help him make it, David met future Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme who said he read Shivers and was asked to direct it by Cinepix, an up and coming studio in Montreal.

David went to Cinepix, they got the cast and crew together and they filmed it in the apartment building, where most of them stayed.

Susan Petrie had difficulty crying for her scenes, so she asked David to slap her. Barbara Steele thought he was abusing her and grabbed him, threatening to kill him. That was until David told her what was going on and Barbara asked him "Could I have a crying scene?" and David answered "No."

Speaking of Steele, special effects creator Joe Blasco wanted to do the film because she was in it and insisted on doing her make up.

He also explained how the film's parasites were created. For the scene where we see the parasites under Nick's chest, Joe used a tube connected to a condom and blew it up using a bottle.

Co-producer Don Carmody said that he was naked in the swimming pool scene.

David (who is interviewed through archive footage from 1979 and I think his interview on the Anchor Bay DVD) said that he panicked on the first day of filming because when he saw the dallies, the heads didn't fit in the frame.

He said it was his first movie and he didn't know what he was doing, but he was learning as he went along.

For the scene where Rollo has the parasite on his face and it was burning, Joe Blasco used a dangerous chemical to create the effect, but it caused the actor to vomit. Oh dear.

Finally we learn about the movie's alternate titles in different parts of Canada, how critics bashed it on release, the controversy it caused due to the amount of sex and violence which at the time was just too much, how a horror movie was never made in Canada before (whereas today we have movies like Ginger Snaps, the Saw movies, the Resident Evil movies, American Mary, Uwe Boll's work and so on), how the movie did well in Canada and overseas, but failed in the States (Yanks were very Anti-Canadian at the time), how producer Ivan Reitman would later do his movies and how Cronenberg became a huge name in film.

"Do you think you'll be to Canada what Bergman is to Sweden?"


We also learn that during the filming of Rabid, he was kicked out of his apartment because the landlady read a very disturbing article about him.

Fans of the movie will love this doc on this true Canadian horror movie that doesn't try to be Hollywood and it is just it's own thing. People love the movie because of it's Canadian setting and low budget.

We also hear that Dan O'Bannon stole the idea of the chestbuster in Alien from this movie.

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