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Literature: Crash
"The car crash is a fertilizing rather than a destructive event."
Vaughan

An infamous 1973 novel by J.G. Ballard, Crash became the basis for a just as infamous 1996 film by David Cronenberg. It tells the tale of one James Ballard, a film producer and his wife Catherine. One day, he gets into a fatal car accident. He then meets the survivor of the other car, Helen, and discovers an underground subculture devoted to staging car crashes as a sexual fetish. It gets weirder from there. The film stars James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, and Rosanna Arquette.

In no ways, shape or form to be mistaken for the 2005 Oscar winner.


This book and film feature examples of:

  • Anything That Moves: James Ballard. In the film, he has sex with five different people: an unnamed camera girl (Alice Poon), his wife (Deborah Kara Unger), the woman whose car he crashes into (Holly Hunter), Vaughan (Elias Koteas), and another crash victim (Rosanna Arquette) who has a wound on her leg that both she and James regard as a functioning orifice.
  • Author Avatar: It was a daring move, to say the least, for Ballard to name the main character after himself.
  • Auto Erotica
  • Bandage Babe: Gabrielle.
  • Body Horror
  • Disabled Love Interest: Gabrielle, again.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: All the time. In the film, the first time we meet the two main characters, they're each having sex with near-strangers.
  • Fan Disservice: The nasty things Ballard does, or thinks about doing.
    • Especially remarkable considering the film version which has three notably Fanservice-friendly actresses in the main female roles.
  • Gross Out Book
  • How We Got Here: The book starts out by showing the aftermath of Vaughan's death, then goes back to how Ballard met him.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Word of God was that Crash was like a mirror held to the face of humanity, and "wanted to rub the human race's face in its own shit". Classy.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Averted in the film, because according to Word of God the sex scenes were where the characters did most of their interaction with each other. Cronenberg deliberately shot most of them as involving penetration from behind, because he didn't want the actors to be looking at each other but he wanted the audience to be able to see both their faces in the one shot.


CosmicomicsLit FicCry, the Beloved Country
M. ButterflyCreator/David CronenbergeXistenZ
The CraftFilms of the 1990sThe Crucible
CorumLiterature of the 1970sCurtain
ContemptCreator/The Criterion CollectionCronos

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