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They Came from Within / The Parasite Murders / Orgy of the Blood Pasrasites / Frissons

Canada 1975
produced by
Ivan Reitman for DAL/Cinépix/Canadian Film Development Corporation
directed by David Cronenberg
starring Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik, Barry Baldaro, Camil Ducharme, Hanka Posnanska, Wally Martin, Vlasta Vrana, Fred Doederlein, Kathy Graham
written by David Cronenberg

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Scientist Hobbes (Fred Doederlein) has brutally cut up a young girl, Annabelle (Kathy Graham) in his appartment in the Starliner Island complex, & then killed himself. But as if that wasn't enough, soon after many of the building's inhabitants become incredibly horny &/or cannibalistic.

Only the building's doctor Roger (Paul Hampton) & his colleague & contact to the outside world doctor Linski (Joe Silver) seem to be able to relate these facts to one another since Hobbes seems to have worked on a parasite that works both like an aphrodisiak & a veneral desease, & was supposed to turn the world into a better place by everyone having an orgy (taken by itself, a valid idea). However something did go wrong, & then Hobbes had to remove the parasite from the girl - with above mentioned bloody results ...

& that would even have been the end of it, had Annabell not been that bloody promiscuous, & many other inhabitants of the complex seem to have had her, & now the parasite roams free inside the building, turning it into a swinger's heaven ... but doctor Roger's hell.

When he tries to get out of the building with his nurse/girlfriend (Lynn Lowry) though, he has to realize that the building seems to be sealed off the rest of the world almost hermetically, & the 2 of them have to endure more & more attacks ... until Roger realizes his girl has been affected too, & his fight/getaway gets even more desperate.

In the building's indoor swimming pool, Roger finally finds a slide door he can open, surrounded by a bevvy of hot girls in wet t-shirts, but once outside, he realizes the infected have found this exit as well, & it doesn't take long before they make him one of them, too.

In the last shot, we see them all leave the complex in their cars, spreading the parasite to other places.

Horror icon Barbara Steele plays a lesbian.


After 2 a few shorts & attempts at feature-length experimental filmmaking (Stereo, Crimes of the Future), Shivers was David Cronenberg's  first stab at commercial film-making, & his favourite topic, body horror (or bio-horror) seems to be already firmly in place. Also, to incorporate an appartment complex into the proceedings as part of the actual horror rather than just a convenient scenery is almost a stroke of genius (as I find these complexes spooky as it is).

This all can't hide the fact though that the story is pretty trashy, more a vehicle for showing naked flesh & flowing blood rather than the base for intellectual discussions, the storytelling is rather formulaic, & the characters are - again typical for trash movies - everything but multilayered or thought-through.

That said however, it's good, entertaining trash horror nevertheless. Cronenberg, of course, went on to make bigger things ... not all of them were better, though.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD