In this essay I argue that the science fiction films of David Cronenberg from Shivers (1975) to Dead Ringers (1988) describe the evolution of a system from a state of order to a state of chaos. Such systems might be societal, for example, Starliner Towers in Shivers or the family in The Brood (1978). A system might be biological, such as the human body in The Fly (1986). A system might be stylistic, such as the development of mise-en-scène in Dead Ringers (1988) from an ordered state to a disordered one. Alternatively a system might be formal, such as the development of narrative from a state that corresponds to the organisation of “classical” narrative demonstrating spatial, temporal and causal order, to a state of confusion where the spectator is unable to engage in the same process of fabula construction due to the increasing chaos of the narrative. I explore the breakdown of narrative order in Videodrome (1982), and describe an asymmetrical narrative schema that can be applied to Cronenberg’s other films.
|Published - 2004