Film: Shivers

Dr. Emil Hobbes has spent his career developing parasites for use in organ transplants. Believing that humanity has become over-rational and has lost contact with its more primal urges, he ultimately develops an organism that acts as a combination of aphrodisiac and venereal disease. As a result, everyone with the parasite is consumed by uncontrollable sexual urges, spreading the parasite through the slightest sexual contact. When the parasite inevitably gets free, it soon infects an apartment building.

This being a David Cronenberg film, you know things are going to get gross in a hurry.

Shivers (1975), also known as Orgy of the Blood Parasites, The Parasite Murders, They Came From Within, and Frissons, is a horror film by David Cronenberg, his first feature film, and embodies many of the Body Horror concepts he would continue to explore in future films with a wide spectrum of subtlety. It stars Fred Doederlin, Paul Hampton, and Lynn Lowry.

Not to be confused with the video game of the same name.

This film contains examples of:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Dr. Saint-Luke is infected by the end, though Cronenbergs himself considers this to be a happy ending.
  • Body Horror: The parasites themselves.
  • Downer Ending: The film ends with the parasites spreading beyond the apartment building and possibly going global.
  • Fan Disservice: Only Cronenberg can make a lust plague completely unsexy.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Hobbes' aphrodisiac parasites work a little too well.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: Several of the alternate titles come off like this.
  • Lolicon: Hobbes, whose mistress Annabelle is seventeen at the time of her death. He met her when she was twelve, and was caught "checking her for breast cancer" in the faculty lounge.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Hobbes establishes the template for doctor-types in Cronenberg movies.
  • Murder-Suicide: When Hobbes sees the results of his lust parasites, he kills his mistress (Patient Zero) and then himself.
  • Parasite Zombie: The Lust Parasites drive their victims to mindless sexual behavior in order to spread itself further.
  • Patient Zero: Hobbes first infects his mistress with the lust parasites. She then spreads them to everyone else in the building.
  • The Plague: The parasites spread quickly throughout an apartment building.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Guess.
  • The Swarm