The Brood (1979)

Starring: Samantha Eggar, Oliver Reed, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman

Released: 1979

Certificate: 18

Directed by: David Cronenberg


A concerned husband (Hindle) investigates the unconventional psychiatric clinic where his wife is being treated as a ‘special’ patient. At the same time, people connected to the family are attacked by a gang of mutant dwarf children.


An under-rated and intelligent horror movie from David Cronenberg. The drivers in this movie are similar to other early Cronenberg “body-horror” films such as Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977); namely the idea that the psychological problems of individuals, and of society as a whole, can be represented by physical entities like tumours, diseases and in this case, foetuses. If you think this is going to be a simple film about killer midgets running amok, think again. These are not mutant dwarfs but the literal spawn of a very unstable woman’s rage.

The themes are of sorrow, bitterness and physical abuse. It’s rare that a horror movie handles such complex themes with the panache that Cronenberg employs here – and that’s why I say this movie is intelligent. The way the breakdown of the grandparents’ marriage is chartered against the horrific chaos around Hingle and his wife is remarkable; it’s as if history is repeating itself, and Cronenberg bleakly shows us that the family’s disintegration means it will pathetically  happen all over again- to the young daughter, her mind pushed to the extreme by the horror engulfing her.

'natural' births are not what they used to be.....

Admittedly, for most of the movie, Cronenberg relies on cheap shocks to generate terror – there are plenty of killer midgets flying out of kitchen cupboards for instance – but latter on in the film, there is a real sense of dread and this is where the film comes alive. Moreover, Hindle, Eggar and Reed are all excellent – especially Reed, who seems to wallow in his role as Dr Raglan.

Overall, a very good horror film – but not a happy one. For maximum effect, watch alone.

hotdog rating: 7.5/10.


About hotdogcinema

film fan

Posted on June 26, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: