doc films
facebook twitter instagram newsletter

THURSDAY 2 - Skin Under Skin: A Retrospective of David Cronenberg

Programmed by: Isaiah Terry

Within the films of David Cronenberg lies a miasmic sort of paranoia which seeps its way into your mind. It’s slow at first—barely even noticeable—and yet like an infection once it has its tendrils within your very soul it will be reticent to ever let go. To watch Cronenberg is a challenge, a deep dive into worlds of gruesome nightmares and broken people. Worlds where everything you think you know has been upended and the very laws of reality break down. It would be easy to see fans of such a director as masochists, but this would be wholly incorrect. For as terrifying, disturbing, and downright sickening as some of these movies are, there is equal amounts of humor, absurdity, and above all strange, strange sexual tension. To enjoy Cronenberg is to embrace all of these traits—to love all of these traits equally.

From the exploding heads of Scanners to the glorious body modifications in Crimes of the Future, these nine films will take you on a journey through Cronenberg in the most uncomfortable way possible. Be wary, but also don’t be too afraid, each and every one of these films is worth a shot. So then, watch Cronenberg because of the practical effects. Watch Cronenberg because of his almost prophetic visions of the future. And most of all, watch Cronenberg for the ideas which shouldn’t work and yet do so with a resounding “Ew!”

9:30PM Thursday, March 23rd

Scanners (1981) still

Scanners (1981)

David Cronenberg · 103m · Digital

Scanners is an obsessive dive into a world of espionage, corporate intrigue, and telepathic powers. While known for its iconic head explosions, there is a compellingly chilling thriller pulsating beneath the film's glorious practical effects. Through office corridors and overly lit hallways, prepare to be dragged along with the eponymous scanner until your feet are naught but bloody stumps and your flesh a tired husk, hoping one day to break free.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, March 30th

Videodrome (1983) still

Videodrome (1983)

David Cronenberg · 87m · DCP

A film of near apocalyptic proportions squeezed down into the horrific city of Toronto, Videodrome follows the president of a nearly-pornographic television station as he becomes enraptured in a mysterious, foreign TV show full of blood, sex, and murder. Enthralled as he seeks out the show's source, reality begins to collapse around him as the worlds of sex, biology, and technology coalesce into one rapturous mess. LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, April 6th

Crimes of the Future (2022) still

Crimes of the Future (2022)

David Cronenberg · 107m · DCP

The second film by Cronenberg to be titled Crimes of the Future makes this a kind of return to form. This is a cold, delirious, and orgasmic journey into the future of human evolution that seeks to ask who can and should control the physicality of human expression. "Body is Reality"—so said Cronenberg during the film's premiere at Cannes. And so control over one's flesh, and the extremes of that control, are at the very heart of the film.

Tickets can be bought here.

10:00PM Thursday, April 13th

The Dead Zone (1983) still

The Dead Zone (1983)

David Cronenberg · 103m · DCP

One of the more muted entries in Cronenberg's early filmography is his adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone, which centers schoolteacher Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) as he gets into a catastrophic car accident that leaves him comatose for five years. Upon waking under a neurologist's care, Smith finds that the brain damage he sustained in the crash has left him with psychic abilities, cursing him to see people's futures when he touches them.

Note: this screening was previously billed as 35mm, but is now DCP.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, April 20th

The Fly (1986) still

The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg · 96m · 35mm

Cronenberg's The Fly takes the question “would you still love me if I were a worm?” a bit too literally. This 1986 film follows the hubristic Dr. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum). However, when something goes horribly wrong with his newest and greatest invention, he very quickly finds that such an idea is not just mere absurdity, but blasphemy too. This grotesque and iconic adaptation of the 1958 original is a masterpiece—in all its gooey pus-filled glory.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, April 27th

Rabid (1977) still

Rabid (1977)

David Cronenberg · 91m · DCP

Rabid (1977) is an infectiously tantalizing offering which follows a young woman named Rose (Marilyn Chambers) after she is injured in a motorcycle accident and is forced to undergo an odd new procedure. After awaking from surgery, she finds she now has a phallic shaped growth and an overwhelming need to drink human blood. What begins with one person quickly spreads—offering a terrifying and eerily familiar picture of a world under siege by disease.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, May 4th

Naked Lunch (1991) still

Naked Lunch (1991)

David Cronenberg · 115m · 35mm

In part an obsessive adaptation of the eponymous 1959 classic and a metabiography of William S. Burroughs himself, Naked Lunch is obscene and beyond strange. It follows “Blank Face Bug Killer” Bill Lee (Peter Weller) and his wife Joan as they get high off their own insecticide supply. When Bill inadvertently kills Joan, it's off to the races: a winding story filled with salacious cockroach typewriters, crawling cities, and so, so many insects.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, May 11th

Spider (2002) still

Spider (2002)

David Cronenberg · 98m · 35mm

Spider follows the schizophrenic "Spider" (Ralph Fiennes) as he navigates his subconscious understanding of his own traumatic childhood. A deeply personal film for both Cronenberg and Fiennes, Spider finds itself at the cusp of the director's primary foci: disturbing body horror and the exploration of internal drama. Its generic ambiguity makes it one of Cronenberg's most overlooked films, despite being an incredible portrayal of past and present pain.

Tickets can be bought here.

9:30PM Thursday, May 18th

A History of Violence (2005) still

A History of Violence (2005)

David Cronenberg · 96m · 35mm

A History of Violence follows an American family who find themselves thrown into major spotlight after the mild-mannered father (Viggo Mortensen) kills another man in self-defense at a diner. This film is Cronenberg’s first pivot away from body horror, though the director's decades-long interest in transformation of the self is still a prominent motif. Ultimately, A History of Violence is a must-see for Cronenberg fans and skeptics alike.

Tickets can be bought here.