A good parasite wants to keep its host healthy. I know that because I read Parasite Rex, and you should too! So why not use parasites in medical research? I’m sure this is not an original idea, but as far as I know David Cronenberg was the first to use it as a plot point in a movie (way back in 1975). If I am wrong, please let me know. I just learned how to use the strikethrough feature on WordPress.

The plot: Doctor Hobbes decides that people are too uptight, man, so he develops a parasite that turns its hosts into sex-crazed maniacs. He inserts the parasite into his personal guinea pig, a nineteen-year old girl who proceeds to infect a number of men in her apartment complex. Remorseful, the doctor strangles her and then kills himself, a scene that manages to be both violent and sexual.

Cut to our hero and heroine: Dr. St. Luc and his sidekick, Nurse Forsythe. The good doctor works at that selfsame apartment complex, located on an island and thus cut off from civilization. Dr. St. Luc isn’t a very effective hero, twiddling his thumbs as the parasite gets cracking, multiplying itself and finding new hosts. Doc St. Luc knows that the Love Bug is on the loose, but doesn’t react very quickly. Maybe he’s surprised at the speed in which the parasite metastasizes and reproduces, or maybe he’s just not the action-hero type.

Things start getting hairy. Barbara Steele is infected by the parasite in a bathtub, a scene that has since become a horror cliché. A love-crazed middle-aged woman drags the equivalent of the pizza boy into her apartment. Bizarre sex and orgies abound as crowds of passion pilgrims roam the hallways in search of their next love fix. Can the uptight Doc and his nurse girlfriend escape the Sexual Revolution?

The plot of Shivers is similar to Cronenberg’s Rabid, but Shivers is a less polished movie. Please note that there are several scenes of sexual assault, which mostly consist of panting, fully dressed men flopping on top of women.  Be aware of this before watching.

Recommended for body horror and Dave Cronenberg fans.

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