David Cronenberg's First Feature, 'Shivers,' Being Remade

David Cronenberg's first commercial feature was the great low-budget shocker Shivers (aka They Came From Within), in which the residents of an ultra-modern apartment complex are infected by a strange parasite. The parasite removes inhibitions, and drives its hosts into frenzies of sex and violence. Eventually the whole complex is full of a swirling mass of people that all look like they've taken their cosplay of scenes from Caligula a little too far.

The movie has a lot of people making out, some really weird little crawling parasite worms, and a healthy dose of early body horror in the signature Cronenberg style. It's pretty great, but unfortunately not all that easy to see as the US DVD has been out of print for a few years.

Now, because we're so much more comfortable with intertwined sex and violence on screen than we were when Cronenberg made the movie in '75, Shivers is being remade.

Deadline reports that producers Jeff Sackman and Michael Baker will produce, that thatDanish filmmaker Rie Rasmussen will direct from a script by Ian Driscoll.

The press release explains the new version, which is... weird.

The new Shivers will be updated for today's social and sexual realities. In a post-HIV world, where people interact through screens rather than skin, the parasite breaks down those digital barriers. This is a world that is both more liberated than that of 1975, and more fearful and uptight.

The parasite breaking digital barriers sounds more like the sort of sci-fi that might have come out at the beginning of the real internet age, in the mid '90s. I'm not wild about that description, but I am curious to see precisely how that will be worked into the story. I'm also quite a fan of the original film, so I can't be entirely objective about the notion of a remake.

Rasmussen made the short Thinning the Herd, which made a fan of Quentin Tarantino, who is called the filmmaker's mentor in the press release. There's some implication that he's giving guidance on the script, but his precise involvement, if there really is any, is unclear. Rasmussen says,

I'm Scandinavian and am very comfortable with sexual expression as a part of a healthy, modern-day reality, and I've always loved the underlying social messages in a well-made horror film. The opportunity to reinterpret this film from today's point of view, adding my own female intuition and life experience was a temptation I couldn't resist.