You Can Watch David Cronenberg's Original Crimes Of The Future Right Now

After 8 years of not inspiring stomach-flopping and audience walkouts, David Cronenberg is back, in all his viscerally gory glory. Long heralded for his gruesome contributions to the world of body horror, the famed director has returned with his first horror feature since 1999's "eXistenZ" and according to the words of /Film's Chris Evangelista, the magic hasn't faded in the least:

"While this new feature has scenes that often play like direct references to previous Cronenberg movies such as "eXistenZ," "Crash," "Dead Ringers," and even "Eastern Promises." Despite this somewhat recycled material, Cronenberg isn't just going through the motions with "Crimes of the Future." Instead, it feels as if he's returning to his roots; to the type of film he became renowned for — a film where everything is off-kilter; where the flesh, and what lies beneath the flesh, holds hypnotic sway; where sex and horror are intrinsically intertwined; where everything feels vaguely Canadian."

There are still a few days to go before "Crimes of the Future" hits theaters, which leaves plenty of time to prepare your stomach for Cronenberg's latest — and there's no better way to gear up for an auteur's return than to delve back into his cinematic past. In this case, Cronenberg's filmography is stacked with reliable classics, like "The Fly" and "Dead Ringers," reminders of exactly what he's built a career on. But while it's always fun to play the hits, there's nothing quite like celebrating a director by going back to the very beginning. And in this case, what could be a better exploration of Cronenberg's past than watching a film that shares a title with his latest?

The original Crimes of the Future

One of Cronenberg's very first films was his 1970 feature "Crimes of the Future," not to be confused with the film slated to hit theaters later this week. In fact, he claims the two have nothing else in common — the 2022 film is neither a remake nor a sequel, bearing no plot resemblance to the original. When questioned about the reuse of the title, Cronenberg explained: "They both are accurately called 'Crimes of the Future' — so why not do it? It was really no more significant than that." At the time, Cronenberg also added that "only a few people will know about the existence of that old film. That's the way we thought about it." But lucky for us, streaming is giving us all the tools to fix that problem, as the 1970 film is now available on the Criterion Channel.

While your cinephile card won't be revoked if you haven't already seen "Crimes of the Future" (1970), that's no reason not to get the early Cronenberg experience. The film follows the director of House of Skin, a suitably named dermatology clinic where perfectly normal dermatology stuff will go down ... Just kidding! The film picks up in the midst of a catastrophic plague that has killed the world's adult female population and has apparently mutated to affect men. Much like Cronenberg's first feature, "Stereo," the film is constrained by budget and is entirely silent, save for score and narration to fill in the gaps as the House of Skin director Adrian Tripod (Ronald Mlodzik) embarks on a hunt for his mentor. The plot goes in some pretty wild directions that you probably want to experience for yourself, and offers a fascinating look at what was going down in the early mind of David Cronenberg. It also makes a good precursor to his continued obsession with the human body and technology, given the fact that "Crimes of the Future" (2022) is another sci-fi exploration, but set in a dystopian future where pain has become nearly nonexistent for humans, who regularly undergo new transformations and mutations.

You can check out "Crimes of the Future" (1970) on the Criterion Channel. "Crimes of the Future" (2022) opens in theaters on June 3, 2022.