The Parasite Murders

Year: 1974

Production: Cinepix / Canadian Film Development Corp.

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Alan Migicovsky, Barbara Steele

Screenwriter: David Cronenberg

87 minutes, cut to 77 minutes; Color


In an attempt to develop a beneficial symbiote, a scientist creates a parasite that, when it invades a human body, makes its host sexually ravenous. The vaguely phallic parasites spread though an isolated apartment building, and sexual apocalypse follows, the film ending with the sterile high-rise building's surviving occupants climbing into their cars to infect first Canada and then the world. The film has splatter-movie sequences and other scenes, notably the parasite's vaginal penetration of Steele while she is in the bath, of a distinctly neauseating kind, but it transcends the exploitation-movie genre to which it belongs through its wit and intensity, and its readiness to follow its axioms through to their conclusions. This was Cronenberg's first commercial film, notable for its remarkably bold visual metaphors.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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