My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A series of essays edited together from co-writer’s Chris Rodley’s conversations with director Cronenberg from his first short films up through his (at-the-time) latest movie Crash. I picked this book up after having a small re-exploration of Cronenberg’s films last winter & since his movies are still pretty niche, these interviews themselves will probably only be of interest to Cronenberg’s fans or aspiring movie-makers.
Cronenberg is not someone whose kept quiet about his interests or why he focuses on certain topics–just look at the opening lines of his Goodreads bio, “one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre”. What these essays do, though, is to get deeper into why that fascinates him, why he chose art over science, & why he’s struck by certain medieval sensibilities & using them as a sort of catalyst for his transgressions. I was also interested in his thoughts on the horror genre itself & how to keep it at its best–as a confrontation of the status quo & not just a titillating indulgence. If I thought more horror filmmakers were thinking that way about their genre, I might actually be more interested in seeing them.
Even though the book ends with Crash, what topics are discussed throughout give interesting glimpses into his future projects. (Cosmopolis, A Dangerous Method, Consumed–I’m looking at you.) I’ll probably end up getting a copy for myself just so I can refer back to certain sections because if this book did anything it cemented my ongoing curiosity in Cronenberg’s work. (And also gave his cameo in Barney’s Version an extra layer of irony.)