David Cronenberg

Canadian filmmaker (born 1943)

David Paul Cronenberg (born 15 March, 1943, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is a Canadian film director, screenwriter, and actor. He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror genre, with his films exploring visceral bodily transformation, infection, technology, and the intertwining of the psychological with the physical. Cronenberg is best known for exploring these themes through sci-fi horror films such as Shivers (1975), Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), and The Fly (1986), though he has also worked in multiple genres throughout his career.

David Cronenberg in 2012


Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion.
Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.
  • All stereotypes turn out to be true. This is a horrifying thing about life. All those things you fought against as a youth: you begin to realize they're stereotypes because they're true.
  • We are confused and bemused, and think that it’s a momentary delusion that will soon dissipate, leaving our lives to continue as they were.
  • I'm always working on the same thing, the creation of an identity. It's mysterious: We think identity is genetically given, but I believe there is creative will involved with the decision of who we are going to be. All my movies are concerned with this.
  • I'm an atheist, and so I have a philosophical problem with demonology and supporting the mythology of Satan, which involves God and heaven and hell and all that stuff. I'm not just a nonbeliever, I'm an antibeliever - I think it's a destructive philosophy.
  • I think all my movies are commercial. That's my delusion. I thought Naked Lunch was wildly entertaining, so what do I know?
  • If you’ve ever sat in a room with twins, immediately you’re forced to deal with this confusion. You’re afraid to call them by name because you’re afraid you’re going to get it wrong. At first being a twin is a source of power, you can switch, you can fool people—but then it becomes a vulnerability because people confuse you when you don’t want them to. The famous story of the twins who were both spanked when either one of them did something wrong because the parents wanted to make sure they got the right twin. So that would immediately make each twin totally responsible for the other one’s actions and therefore would make you want to control the other twin’s actions. It gets quite twisted and the confusion of identities becomes quite intense.
  • Omnisexuality is the term that I use in Hysteria. There seems to be a strain of pure sexuality that can embody itself in any possible way, female, male, something else. This is the first time I’ve ever articulated this, but I think I’m most interested in that essence of sexuality that seems to be able to take many forms but has still a specific feel and tone to it that we all recognize. You can’t really define it as male or female. I’m very fascinated with the way in which maleness and femaleness is specifically physical. but not necessarily purely sexual. There is a difference amongst all those things. This takes you right back to the mind/body schism that I go crazy with all the time.
  • Dolphins read each other’s emotions by sonar and it’s the inside of the body, the configuration of the viscera, that lets dolphins know whether the dolphin they are meeting is tense or happy. Their emotions are much more connected with the insides of each other’s bodies. We don’t have that. It’s like denying 90% of what we are physically, not knowing it.
  • Technology isn’t really effective, it doesn’t really expose its true meaning, I feel, until it has been incorporated into the human body. And most of it does, in some way or another. Electronics. People wear glasses. They wear hearing aids that are really little computers. They wear pacemakers. They have their intestines modified. It’s really quite incredible what we’ve been able to do to the human body and really take it some place that evolution on its own could not take it. Technology has really taken over evolution. We’ve seized control of evolution ourselves without really quite being conscious of it. It’s no longer the environment that affects change in the human body, it’s our minds, it’s our concepts, our technology that are doing that.

Cronenberg on Cronenberg (1997)


Published February 6th 1997 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 1992)

  • Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.
    • Ch. 1, P. 7
  • I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you're making a horror film doesn't mean you can't make an artful film.
    • Ch. 4
  • Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion.
    • Ch. 5

See also

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