Reviews & Counting
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The Brood(1979)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Cronenberg

Art Hindle/Frank Carveth
Oliver Reed/Dr. Hal Raglan
Samantha Eggar/Nola Carveth
7 10
Frank’s wife is undergoing isolated therapy in a Psycho-Plasmics clinic (Beats me too man!). When his daughter returns home bruised up after a visit with mommy, Frank gets his Jockeys in a proverbial bunch and proceeds to investigate the treatment center. His snooping around gets nipped in the bud by murderous snowsuit wearing midget-ghouls. Mr. Conenberg, what were you smoking? And more importantly, where did you get it? Talk to me baby!

Thirty seconds after you're born you have a past and sixty seconds after that you begin to lie to yourself about it. — Juliana 

I’ve wanted to see THE BROOD for eons now but it was a hard find in my neck of the wasteland until it came out on DVD in 2003. I finally got around to spanking this monkey on both cheeks and scratch it off my “to see” list. Was it worth the long wait? Damn straight it was Kato!

THE BROOD was one of David Conenberg’s earlier films and although the themes at hand were handled in a more simplistic and crude manner than his later efforts; it was pure Cronenberg nonetheless. You know the menu; a large plate of inner emotional turmoil that materializes itself physically, a side order of the body turning against oneself and a tall glass of fear of institutions…yup…the Conenberg Happy Meal was complete. Thankfully, even in his humble beginnings the Crone-Man had the Midas touch (Who’s Midas anyways?) when it came to delivering the goods on a more cerebral and visceral level than the norm. The BROOD packed quite a wallop!

This aborted treat was what I like to call a free flow movie where the execution of the narrative just streamed effortlessly much like a thick stream of Guinness being jetted into a large pint. The action moved at a brisk pace, the scare scenes were expertly built up/paid off, the drama was gripping enough and the gore spelled “yummy” in its heavily brutal nature. I was a happy mofo. The dish wouldn’t have been as sweet without such a stellar cast on hand. Everybody nailed their respective parts with Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar in particular busting out the big thespians guns and mowing down the scenery with talent, class and gusto. Pour into that puddle of blood some spooky imagery (all about them gnome kids…brrr), efficient dialogue, an endearing dread filled aura and a shocking ending that I actually saw coming murdered me none the less in its audacity and you get a red wet & wild slide that was worth the slip-crack one’s neck.

On the messy side; the flick did lose some points by not going far enough with some of its substance, beginning with the scientific justification behind the zany occurrences. It takes more than big “75-cent” words to convey a sturdy rationale and I craved clear insight as to what exactly was going on in this petting zoo. The same can be said about the character of Nola who was insane and that was pretty much it. Explaining to me further the “why” behind her bonkers and maybe even showing me flashbacks of her when she was “normal” would have made me give a shite about the situation/character on a higher plane. Lastly, the lead Frank was rarely in immediate danger (those around him were though), which weakened the proceedings. More immediate conflicts tossed his way would’ve jacked up the tension level to “tight” since we’re basically following him around the whole time.

All in all THE BROOD was flawed yes, but I for one was swayed on in its pocket by its ambition and its obvious talent when it came to the players in front of the camera and the crazy bastard behind it. You gonna brood like a Deaner or you gonna hit this BROOD instead! (Wow that punned sentence blew…lol!)

We get some bloody bludgeoning; some splashy gun shot wounds and a peculiar birth sequence that whooped me silly in its nastiness and out there nature.
Art Hindle (Frank) was credible most of the way as the straight man. He made me root for him even when he’d border over-acting in his emotional scenes. Oliver Reed (Dr. Hal Raglan) was mesmerizing as the enigmatic shrink; I loved watching that guy go at it. What a hoot! Samantha Eggar (Nola) owned her scenes via her guttural and multi layered display. What an arresting performance!
T & A
Does a naked pint sized ghoul with no belly button count as erotica? You be the judge.
Cronenberg directed with a firm hand. His visual style never intruded within the story; it always serving it. He also had quite the knack at building suspense and crashing skulls with visceral payoffs. Grade A for Astounding!
Maestro Howard Shore put out a creepy, aggressing and often PSYCHO-esque score.
As the end credits for THE BROOD rolled; I turned to my imaginary friend Mandy and said “Cronenberg has guts and lots of issues and I love him for that”. She never replied…f*ck that beeyatch! This well written, slyly executed, brave and quite vicious ditty was worth the sit down and then some. If you haven’t seen it, I advise you to…well…see it if you want to...I aint your Pops! Granted, more overall meat on its bones would have been just swell; but as-is, this movie still had enough guts and flair to make it a winner. Wait till you see that warped ending…OUCH!
Cronenberg wrote the screenplay after an ugly divorce/custody battle with his wife at the time. The character of Nola was somewhat based on his Ex.

Seek out the 2003 R1 MGM/UA DVD for the uncut version.